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Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

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The lead in to the question presented to Doc Rivers after the game seemed innocent enough:

"Doc, we've seen teams come back from deficits like this before..."

Stop right there.  No, we haven't.  Not in the NBA Finals, at least.  No team, going back to the 1971 championship series (the NBA's records for in-quarter stats don't reach back any deeper), has ever blown a lead as large as the 24 point cushion the Lakers gave away Thursday night in their 97-91 loss to Boston in Game 4 of their best-of-seven.  No team has ever blown a bigger first quarter lead than the 21 point margin LA had after the opening 12, or a bigger halftime advantage than the 18 they held at the break.  I'm sure there are more ugly numbers buried in the books, but those are the biggies, and they're more than enough.  With the win, the Celtics take a commanding 3-1 lead heading into Sunday's Game 5.

This, folks, was a killer. 

Click below for the breakdown... or at least a rundown.

What looks in the box like a tale of two halves- Lakers up by the aforementioned 18 points when the buzzer sounded on the second quarter- was really a tale of one great 18 minute run for the Lakers, and total domination by Boston over the last 30. 

Let's start with what worked...

THE FIRST QUARTER:

No question, the Lakers were the beneficiary of some bad shooting from the Celtics, but importantly, they took advantage.  They ran, they pushed, they forced the Celtics into mistakes.  They moved the ball, they got men open underneath the Boston defense.  LA's first possession of the game saw LO aggressively come off a screen at the top of the arc, and drive hard to the basket and draw a foul.  Derek Fisher penetrated on Rajon Rondo, and drew a foul.  Kobe aggressively drove the hole on the break, picking up a foul on KG.  The Lakers hurt the Celtics on the pick and roll, activated Odom early, found space for their shooters, and basically looked like the offensive juggernaut they had been throughout the regular season. 

By the time the curtain fell on the first, Odom had 13 points on 6-6 from the floor, five boards, and a pair of dimes.  Boston, in contrast, had 14 points, six boards, and one assist.  Tack on the rest of the team and LA held a 35-14 lead, shot nearly 65%, held the Celtics to 27% and forced four Boston turnovers. 

At this point, I can only assume many of you were dancing wildly in front of the recliner, dousing yourself joyously in tequila while swinging your pants over your head (perhaps you celebrate in a different way, but you get my point).  I'm sure many in the media corps hit up Expedia to check flights to Boston.  From there, it was supposed to be all down hill. 

It was, but not in the way LA (the city, the team, the fans) had hoped. 

THE SECOND QUARTER:

The record will show LA finished the quarter with an 18 point lead, but from my end, it was misleading.  Over the course of the period, Boston began to exert its influence on the game, and the Lakers began to wilt.  After playing even for the first six minutes or so, Boston went on an 18-7 run, and looked like they'd shave LA's lead down to a very manageable margin by the break.  With nine seconds left, Fish showed some incredible patience, working the Boston D and resetting on a high screen with Gasol.  On the second go round, Pau was there, Fish threaded the needle between two defenders, and Gasol went to the hoop for the and-one.  After a Vlad Rad PF gave the Celtics a point at the line, Jordan Farmar hit a running triple at the buzzer.  6-1 advantage in the last 10 seconds, 13 point lead goes to 18. 

It only masked what was going wrong, though.  Perhaps we didn't realize it yet, but the writing was on the wall. 

THE SECOND HALF:

Whatever good things the Lakers did early, they abandoned them as a group in the second half.  The numbers on both ends are staggeringly bad for loyalists of the purple and gold.  LA abandoned the offense, became impatient with the ball, and started taking and missing a lot of bad shots.  That, of course, led to a lot of good looks for the Celtics.  In the third, Boston logged seven dimes on 11 field goals, a very impressive number for a team on the road.  They out rebounded LA 12-6, out shot them 61%-28%.  Most of the damage, though, as it did in the second, came in the last half of the period.  Boston shaved all but two points off LA's 20 point lead with a 21-3 run over the last 6:04.  The Lakers were limited to a single field goal in that stretch, and even that was a lucky break, as Kobe gathered the ball after a near turnover from the Lakers, and found Gasol underneath for an easy dunk. 

Aside from that, the Lakers offense was truly busted. 

In the fourth, the toxic combination of bad offense and weak D again bit the Lakers, who were outscored 26-18.  The Lakers were 8-21 in the quarter, while Boston was an even 50%, including two critical threes from James Posey.  On perhaps the last chance for the Lakers to get a stop, down by three with under 20 seconds left, the Celtics spread the floor, isolated Ray Allen on Sasha, and the vet blew by him for a layup, before Gasol could recover from the wing. 

Game over.

Obviously, there were plenty of things to point to when trying to figure out what went wrong.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • The Lakers, after the first quarter, completely abandoned the offense.  They began pounding the rock, looking for shots as individuals rather than moving the ball, moving themselves, cutting and passing.  The patience they showed early, complimented by Doc Rivers after the game, was gone. And, as we all know by this point, when they stop operating with efficiency on the offensive end, LA suffers on defense.  Boston began to find space.  Pierce, limited to six points in the first half, had nine in the third.  Eddie House, in because Rivers felt the Lakers were playing off Rondo too much, hit a pair of threes.  Allen had six.  And so on. 
  • At halftime, it seemed like a good sign that the Lakers were up by 21 while Kobe didn't have a field goal.  In hindsight, I'm not sure it was.  Kobe came out in the third looking to get himself going.  More iso, more one-on-one, more jumpshooting.  All of that equals less ball movement.  I'm not blaming Kobe any more than I am anyone else on the team- I don't think he played particularly well, but it's not like he was the catalyst for Boston's comeback- but any rhythm the team had, from getting the ball inside to Pau or keeping LO involved, was gone by the fourth. 
  • Kobe took eight of LA's 21 shots in the fourth, dominating the ball early in the quarter but moving it late, when the Lakers were able to generate some buckets.  He didn't get much help, though.  Sasha, who followed up his big Game 3 with a clunker tonight, was 0-4.  LO was 1-3.  Pau was 2-3, including a dunk on a nice feed from Kobe with 40 seconds to go, and a dandy runner on KG in the lane a few minutes before.  I thought he might have been more effective, if...
  • He had been on the floor earlier.  I think PJ left Pau on the bench for too long, going with Ronny for the first six minutes of the quarter.  Other aspects of the late game rotation I didn't like- Fisher sitting for all but the final two minutes of the game, and LO out for Vlad Rad down the stretch.  The former, Jackson said, was a matchup thing.  "I just felt that Jordan's quickness against Eddie House was probably important for us to have, a little more harassing defense up the court and some pressure in his reactive time a bit."  As for the latter, it had to do with floor spacing to get Kobe looks late.  "Lamar had a great first half, but the second half obviously wasn't as successful.  They were, what we call spying off him, going and helping off him and double-teaming, and we need to spread the court and open up the court so we could get something accomplished there at the end of the game and get some opening opportunities in the lane."

Both are certainly plausible, but I feel like on a guy like House, who isn't going to do much but catch and shoot, run off screens, etc., Fish is more than capable of handling the task of checking him.  When the team is having so much trouble running the offense, that would seem to be a good time to go back to the guy who has been there, who has the experience, and is likely to make better decisions.  Removing Odom for Vlad makes some sense, and he's actually finished a few games of late on the bench, but in this case, while Radmanovic spreads the D, he's also a liability on the other end, and can't handle the ball.  At that point, there was no other threat on the floor to create other than Kobe. 

On the one hand, the Lakers scored enough over the last two minutes, but couldn't keep the Celtics off the board.  Would either of these personnel decisions have really made a big difference?  Hard to say.  I'll have to look at the tape, as they say.  As a group, though, the Lakers had already fallen apart.  One guy here for one guy there?  Not sure if that matters. 

  • No supporting cast.  Nice early minutes for Trevor Ariza, who finished the first half with six points and five boards, but in the second half, he was on the floor for the 10-0 run the Celtics had to close the third quarter.  Sasha?  1-9.  Farmar?  1-6.  Walton?  1-3.  Turiaf?  No points in 10 minutes.  Vlad was a non-factor after the first quarter.

In the end, the biggest problem for the Lakers is the Celtics.  They're a better team.  If both teams show up and play well, the Lakers are likely to come out on the wrong end of the stick.  Boston is bigger, stronger, more disciplined, and far better defensively.  For all the talk of this guy not playing well or that guy not showing up, the elephant in the room is the quality of the two teams.  At this point, I'm ready to say that I, like a lot of other writers, underestimated Boston and how they match up to LA.  Can the Lakers come back?  It's possible, I guess, but I'd be pretty shocked if they managed to win three straight from a team that has proved themselves superior. 

BK


It struck me as interesting how a couple players were asked about what went wrong, whether what the Lakers did wrong, the Celtics did right, and their answer included the following phrase:  "I don't know." Sometimes you hear that from a player and you know it's simply him not wanting to talk, hoping a lack of details will eventually lead to a lack of interest from the surrounding reporters.  This was different. I honestly felt like these guys weren't dodging questions when stuck for an answer.  Truth be told, a lot of writers uttered the exact same words when we talked about it afterward.  A collapse of such a magnitude is really hard to wrap your head around.   I sure haven't managed to do it yet.

The most common explanation I got (and I happen to agree) was purple and gold offensive execution going to hell in a hand basket.  Derek Fisher said so.  Ditto Ronny Turiaf.  And you won't get any argument from Lamar Odom or Pau Gasol.   From almost the moment the second half commenced, the Lakers inexplicably got away from the crisp ball movement, multiple touches and continual motion on display in the opening 24 minutes, the same prowess that allowed them to build a huge lead with only three points and no field goals from Kobe Bryant. In the second half, we saw much more dribbling and fewer passes, much more Kobe (who never found an offensive groove and didn't seem to accept it) in isolation holding the ball for several seconds, little running, zero patience, and a decreased variety of guys with the rock, especially inside.  Everything was thrown out of whack and the Lakers never were same again.

"It was bad execution as a team," lamented Odom in the locker room. "We stopped running our offense," vented Ronny Turiaf, who grew increasingly frustrated talking about the matter.  "We stopped doing the things that got us the lead.  Making sure that everybody was touching it and getting us easy looks.  We weren't respecting our offense."  Asked about what the Celtics did "better" on defense in the second half, Fish didn't see much of anything.  "I don't think it was that spectacular compared to the defense they played before," shrugged Fisher.  "I think we just did a poor job.  If we came in with 25 turnovers, then I'd agree that the defense was spectacular.  It's not as if they forced us to do some things that we didn't want to do.  We just weren't smart on our end in terms of making sure we continued to execute."

There were other elements I don't think helped matters.  I thought Phil Jackson went too long without Derek Fisher in the fourth quarter.  I get why he wanted to spread the floor during the last couple minutes with Vlad Radmanovic, meaning Odom would grab a seat, but considering how poorly Vlad played in the second half, Fisher and Sasha Vujacic were already on the floor, I'd have kept Lamar in there and tried to involve him more.  There were also matters like missed assignments (especially around the arc), lowered energy, and a decided lack of poise and focus.  But all season long, we've seen the Lakers get tripped up on defense when their offense is cockeyed.  The latter typically dictates the former, which is why Kwame Brown's excellent defensive ability in the paint never elevated the Lakers one bit.  Putting aside his other limitations, 54's total inability to operate within the offense resulted in defensive breakdowns each game.  The Lakers are often at their best defensively when they do the right things on the other side of the ball.  Tonight, the Lakers tore apart their offense as a unit and a big price was paid.

Great line from Fisher, though, when asked if winning was possible.  "Call Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and all those Boston Red Sox and ask if it's possible."  More than a little ironic that he'd reference another Beantown squad that overcame big deficits in 2005 and 2007 en route to a pair of World Series titles to help illustrate his point, but for those seeking out silver linings, ain't a bad angle to run with.

AK

 
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Apparently, after this latest debacle, Bryant's done more choking at the NBA Finals than he did at the Colorado resort.

-Jeffs Aho

How dare they! As a fan I'm offended.

In the first half they finally played up to expectations, as they've played against (at times) superior competition in earlier playoff rounds.

Then they pull this piece of junk out in the second half.

If they still win it all, I will still be pissed off about this game.

I've been very loyal up to this point, but their collapse was unforgivable.

I blame the coaching staff too. Way, way too casual in the 3rd quarter. Put the guys back in that made the big lead happen. Stop screwing around.

So, it's all come down to this. No margin for error from here on in. One play at a time, one quarter at a time (in five minute increments), one half at a time, one game at a time. Times three.

We may have to say it when it's all over. The Celtics are the better team. More physical. More talented. More character. More collective experience. A coaching style more suited to today's NBA players.

But we're not there yet. The Lakers may crumble from Thursday night's defeat. Or, it may be the tough lesson they needed to really break through in this series.

Now, it's all about Sunday. Kobe will come on strong in the first half, to be sure. But that's all we know. Can Lamar and Pau replicate their first quarter play in Game 4 and extend it to 48 minutes? Can Jordan and Sasha learn from their miscues in the 2nd half of Game 4? Will Phil start Trevor Ariza and give him some run, considering how little we've gotten from VladRad and Luke in this series? It's time to go for broke. No reason to stick with the things that have resulted in failure in this series. That's called insanity. But with VladRad, Luke, and Ronny all contributing nothing in this series, and Mihm, Mbenga, and Newble too rusty to play, we may discover that the Lakers aren't really deep enough to compete with the Celtics. Check mate.

No reason to beat on the Laker players and coaches after this one. They all have to look in the mirror, and none of them will like what they see. They will punish themselves for the Game 4 meltdown. But maybe they shouldn't. Maybe they're just the 2nd best team in the NBA. They've still given us a season to be thankful for. And it ain't over till it's over. The improbable is not the same as the impossible. I'm not ready to give up on my team. Go Lakers!

Don't give up on the Lakers yet - there are a lot of positives to take away from this game. Game 5 will be the toughest one, but we do have the keys to beat this team!

What do i do?what do i do? how do i pick myself up from this? Is there anything else i'd rather do with my time?is there any other sport i can follow?How does one get over depression... ??


Or maybe phil jackson is a cylon and he has a plan...


the lakers could have lost the series but won tnight and i would have been happy

instead they have yet to play a 48 minute game this series and completely let down thier fans-tonight was an embarrsemtn to root for them- yes, i feel fans owe their team alot, and should not animadvert their losses, but when you literally play half assed for 28 minutes [including the last part of the 2nd quarter where they just decied to jack up threes for a coupleminutes] you offend the people who care about the game

i literalyl feelsick, maybe im crazy to care about a team so much but tonight the effort of thelakres, not to take away from the celtics who showed heart, but the fact that our team did not, it just sickens me- these are the highlights of a joe schmo life like mine, a great bunch of guys who give ma pleasure and emotion anadpassion, not a bunch of people who feel entitled and can't even work hard for an hour of real time


and kobe can never be compared to jordan again- that's 2 absolute stinkers in the finals

Everyone played bad. Phil Jackson for his moronic subsitution patterns. Kobe for wanting to score and not move the ball. For Gasol and Lamar that can't guard anyone when guards penetrate the lane -- they're too darn slow to get there in time, Sasha couldn't by a bucket, Farmer consistently not being able to get through screens well, Luke not good enough to play vs. the Celts defense, Rad... uggh.

One game at a time. Heart broken. Voice lost. Waiting for Sunday.

This loss really hurts! If anyone still feels that Phil J. is still a hall of fame coach, please explain. During the most important quarer of the season is not the time to let the momentum slip away. Rambis, Shaw, anybody, please call a timeout for Phil if he is just going to sit there like he is being entertained by a movie or concert. Wake up and call a timeout. The so called hall of fame coach calls his timeouts during the times we have the momentum (for example, up by 17 in the 1st quarter as we are about to drive for an additional basket) or after the ball is inbounded, so that we have to spend another timeout late in the game to advance the basketball. His luck my be running out. You can only be bailed out by your superstars so many times. No, it is not all his fault. Pau G. playing without any heart also really hurt us.

Gonna be saddened by this until the Sunday's game starts... let's hope the season doesn't end there.

Lakers in 7! Help us out, David Stern! :P

*repost*

get over it.
for Laker fans, it sucks.

so?

there is still another game to play. until there are no more games to play, it's not over.

don't think i'm not giving Boston credit. it's not like they haven't been a juggernaut all year long. but they haven't bagged the trophy quite yet.

Dude, what's up with Sasha Vu-yah-chick's girly man hair bandana?

Guy looks like a wuss.

Man, that was a hard loss. Sad as it is for me to say, the Lakers deserved to lose that game. The Celtics simply wanted it more. Giving up that kind of lead is devastating.

I still believe that these Lakers are special. I know they need a lot of work, but the fact that we made it to the Finals is pretty damn amazing. Tonight was incredibly disappointing, because you want to see the Lakers come out and play the best basketball possible. Tonight was not that night, at least not for the second half.

Hey, records are made to be broken. There's always hope.

Simply put, though: My heart is broken.

Go Lake Show!

Laker Fans : How bad does it hurt to think that Hawks & Cavs came "Oh Soooo Close" from eliminating the Celts in April & May?

That would have spared you this current nightmare!!!!

The Lakers should do themselves a favor. Lose Game 5. Why travel 6,000 round trip miles to get eliminated?

Nothing has changed....

Lakers averaged a mere 92 points against us in regular season....and 92 points against us in playoffs.


The three reasons the Lakers are losing this series, has everthing to do with the three major advantages they had entering the finals, or at least we thought.

1) KOBE BRYANT:- has clearly been out played by his counterpart Ray Allen. Allen has hit more clutch shots, has shot a much higher FG and FT percentage and has been much more effective on defense than Bryant.

2) PHIL JACKSON:- has been outcoached by Doc Rivers in every aspect of the game. Substitution patterns have been better, team match-ups and player motivation have been major advantages for Rivers and his team. And for PJ to keep Trevor Ariza and Derrick Fisher on the bench for as long as he did in the seond half is utterly ridiculous.

3.) BENCH PLAYERS:- have contributed absolutely nothing for this team. Other than the extraordinary play by Sasha V. in game three, the bench has not provided anything in this series, nor the conference finals for that matter. I knew that it would finally come back to haunt the team, having your best player off the bench being Sasha V.

This team has no chance of coming back to win the title his year. The Lakers can only hope a legimate big man named Andrew Bynum will be completely healthy to pose a consistent inside presence on offense and defense, which is what it will take to win the title next year.

Hey, that game took the heart wind out of L.A.

But dont give up on our team ya'll. You never know.

Man Bynum was really missed in this series.

On a side note. 2nd half could have used some more Ariza energy. And Doc Made some good adjustments. All in all the inexperience really showed tonight tho. But losing big leagues has always been an issue throughout the year

AK/BK

if u look at the thread i mentioned 2 things as u did

ronny it is not for the finals on the offensive end. his playmaker abilities r none under pressure

2. pau was too long on the bench

3. kobe letting and involving his team for a half game, even in the regular season resulted in loses. he need some rhythm too. if allen played 48 minutes, i'm sure kobe could have played 48 or 45. in the second qt. he was on the bench too long.

fisher has a terrible series, does not look like a vet. at the same time i agree that the red sox example can still work

AK/Bk

as i posted before

ronny needs his old hairstyle back

this pony tails is bad luck

PLEASE, SUGGEST.... u will see him at least 2 days in a row

We can do the blame game all night long... simple fact is, and it took me until tonight to get thru my thick skull, that Boston is simply the superior team. They have better starters, they have a better bench, and it seems a better coach. Everyone, including myself, got caught up in the "West is so much better than the east" BS that all sports writers cant seem to stop talking about. Fact remains that, except for San Antonio, the west does not produce champions.

I tip my cap to the Boston Celtics for having the superior team.The best i can say ,hold your head high the Lakers will be the juggernaut next year. Andrew Bynum and the team as a whole will grow from this debacle. Life is about experiencing the valleys before the peaks,and then triumph.


They made history. Now it's our turn.
-Ajax

That was painful. The most painful of it all, really, is that Kobe just didn't look out of rythym, he looked out of gas for the entire game. We know the lakers are better than this, and something got to them to play differently than they had through the playoffs. Whose gonna be that locker room guy who goes - "don't worry guys, we are winning the next 3". Who's gonna step up, be a sidekick to kobe, and give him room to breathe. How do the fans on Sunday recover from this. We can beat Boston, I AM SURE OF IT, we just aren't playing laker basketball. What we need now is the belief that we Can win (we couldve won every 1 of these games, they were all within reach). We haven't been blown out - and I don't believe Boston has what it takes to deliver that finishing blow. But what has to happen is leadership, accountability, spreading the floor, some hard fouls, and some tough defense on the one who has destroyed us all series - Ray allen.

its 12:31, more than 3 hrs past the game and i still can't sleep..i am shell shocked. this may have altered the career of many Lakers and I don't think I will ever forget the feeling of this collapse.

The offense sputtered but the defense just died. Trapping a team with 4 spot up 3 point shooters was just stupid. Sadly no one heard the screams to just stay home on defense until Sasha was left on an island by himself guarding Allen. Just not smart plays and defense. Just don't get the feel that this teams' make up is tough enough.

Hoping we can come up with 2 good quarters to take game 5. Then maybe 3 good quarters for game 6. Then finally find a way to play 4 complete quarters in game 7. One can hope.

I feel like slitting my wrists, but in keeping with the theme tonight of epic failures, I think I'll do it with an electric razor.

Our youth showed tonight, plain and simple. Did you see Farmar and Walton headed into the locker room at half? They thought they had it won then. Everyone was paralyzed in the 4th, terrified that they would screw it up. We're just not ready.

My God, do we miss Bynum.

Boston just seems to be the better constructed team. The blog fighting and insulting 9 on both sides ) should be a thing of the past.

The Lakers can technically still win but I doubt it. Boston is just better and good for them. They have several older guys who have never won a title and when is it a bad thing when a hard working player like Garnett wins a title ?

Doc Rivers seems like a classy guy and tough to dislike.

It's just sports and it's entertainment. Losing can hurt but look at the flooding taking people's homes. Let's get real. This is nothing.

There is always next year.

I wish the Celtics the best because I really do believe they happen to be the best team this year.

This may seem dirty - because generally I don't want basketball played like this - but Ray Allen played so bad because he got hit - and hit hard. When's Phil gonna send Mbenga in and say - you see that guy over there, if he drives at you, hit him hard, and get in his head. The threes don't fall quite as well when they have fear. The lakers look afraid - we need to plant some reverse punishment on the Celtics - we need to make a stand, and take this team down!!

Excellent post Rick. I agree. Lakers have to take this one quarter at a time and just let the chips fall where they may.
That's exactly the approach the Celtics took and it worked for them.

One thing is - the Lakers have nothing to lose now.
They can play loose and not under the pressure.
The pressure is all going to be on the celtics to close out the series.
If the Lakers duplicate their first half of game 4 in the first half of game 5, then the Celts will give up and tell themselves," let's just close the series when we get back on home court."
From a 2-3 position, anything can still happen.
Before you know it, it's a 7 game series and anything can happen.

The way this Laker team seems to abandon the things that got them success in the first place has deep psychological roots.
Fear of success - yes. Especially by players like Odom and Gasol.
The Lakers have not truly bought the idea of the triangle - yes. Kobe as the team's leader keeps sending the message that he has not completely bought on the offense. The rest of the team follows his lead.
Youth. Nerves on the big stage.

All of these things can be cured by maturity and the transformational bitter experience of defeat. This Lakers team needs to lose the Finals to fix its psychological demons and start becoming a dynasty by next year.

Of course having Bynum back and Ariza for a full year will have a great impact. Odom as the 4th option will be even under less pressure. Having Bynum will take the weight off Gasol. Having even more options will take the weight off Kobe. After this Finals, Kobe will start becoming described by everyone as overrated. Good. He'll work even harder.

No need to panic. This team was good enough to win the WC. If they don't win the championship this year, only one team was better then them - Boston. Anyone willing to bet the same thing next year? I don't think so.

I'm so bummed. Wasn't the Phoenix loses the last 2 years with essentiallly the same team supposed to be the hair growing experience for our team?

When the game is close all we can do is give the ball to Kobe and wait for him to create for himself or for others. We depend on Kobe too much. The Celts can iso Garnett, then iso Allen, then iso Pierce. Just too many individual talents. As a team our defense is lacking a clear understanding of our opponents. Need to know the strengths of who we're playing. Stay home and chase guys off the 3 point line. Make them make pull up j's.

With quicker and smaller lineups it boils down to 1 on 1 mathchups. Outside of Kobe we can't win any of the 1 on 1 matchups offensively or defensively.

I hope they will lost the game sunday so that they will not experience losing in the C's home court.

Bring Coach Z and fire Phil J.

I'm a Boston fan, and I would just like to:

a) thank the K brothers for a fine blog, and

b) apologize for my churlish brethren.

Perhaps all I can say in our defense is that we have been well trained on the Red Sox blogs by Yankees trolls, and we have adopted their mannerisms.

It was a great game for us. It looked like a horror show the first half, and then it became your horror show, instead. I've watched Boston lose enough games in which they have had a lead, whether Sox, Celts, or Pats, to know better than to gloat.

I believe we will win the series, but... the 2004 Yankees taught me never to overlook the other team. I expect that Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson, both, will be pointing that series out to their players.

It's been said that the Lakers will only get to game 7 in this series now if the NBA is rigged...

I say the Lakers will only win if the NBA is NOT rigged...David Stern, given the choice, would probably never want anyone (PJ included) to supercede fellow Jewish buddy Red Auberbach's ring count.

Complete conspiracy theory, I admit, but not 100% implausible.

See you by October for another year...
Hope the Fakers will be more hungrier this time...

Man we had those guys beat and on the way to being demoralized. Lost and beaten...but it ends up that is us at the end.

The Kobe as facilitator role is fine but he has to get a few drives to the basket in the first half or PHil learned nothing from game 3.
Anyway we need a super human effort from every player and some serious D. Kobe has to breal out the old Jordan tapes and start emulating the greatest ever. This Championship is his to take. Joe Johnson and the Hawls almost beat these guys. Has anyone looked at that film.
Pau and LO sorry guys you just haven't made a dent yet!!!! So Get going boys - Sasha and Vrad its is redemption time, make us all proud and play better than you have all season. That is what CHAMPIONS do in the clutch.

It was a tale of 2 halves; the best of times, the worst of times; a tale of 2 cities.

And when it was over, after the Boston Celtics in inspirational fashion had relentlessly harassed the Los Angeles Lakers' offense, narrowing their sense of what they could do, forcing them away from where they wanted to be on the floor, shredding their sets and getting inside their skins, turning the Lakers inside out, and into playing as if the Celtics knew what was coming next and they didn't, they did finally know, for they had lost, and likely thrown away their chances of being the 2008 NBA champions.

The Celtics had laid a hurting on them and bruised their hearts.

They're the Lakers and they will be back, perhaps in game 5, but the Celtics irrevocably proved they are, for now, the better team, the team that deserves to win the title, coming back from so far, it was as if there wasn't a today, only a tomorrow, but they believed, and in the end Posey made that killer 3 and Ray that sweet lay-in, and the Celtics had come back in a fashion almost unimaginable in a hostile arena, and Eddie House pointed to his jersey, lifting it up, as if to underline where it says Boston-team-we are a team-it was from us and out of us-we are the Boston Celtics.

it's over. this is becoming a theme for the lakers. play good in the first half, collapse in the second half. celtics are the new bad boys. i think the celtics just employed mamba rules, celtics shutdown other laker players and let kobe do his thing. i've been living a lie. i really thought lakers had the chance against the celtics. the reality is celtics are a better team than the lakers.

once again, offense is good during the regular season but defense wins championships. any chance we can steal tom thibodeu from the celtics?

wow! the west is going to be tough next year. lakers have the core, i really hope they add some key pieces during off season. lakers need players who are committed to playing defense. i've been wrong about mitch before, i'm sure he'll make the right decision.

even in his peace, red auerbach is keeping phil from getting his 10th ring. the celtic curse is back! i hope this develops into a new rivalry. i can't wait to see the lakers face the celtics again next year. i hope by then the lakers will be in the winning side.

There needs to be an investigation!! The Lakers NEVER deserve to lose!! The Lakers are ALWAYS better than their competition, the Washington Generals. The Lakers didn't get enough whistles, the Celtics are dirty players. The Lakers have NEVER lost, this wasn't really the Lakers you saw out there on the court. Don't worry though, after tonite, David Stern will advise the (ahem) game officials to officiate a bit more (ahem) judiciously in Games 5 and 6, and the Celtics will be dead meat (their starting 5 players will foul out by halftime, Ariza the backup will have one foul, none others for the Lakers) Same two teams in the finals for the next decade, 'till the NBA gets back in the black again...

"" THE MAILMAN ALWAYS DELIVERED ON SUNDAY""

Celtics were the better team all season. They are now 5-1 against the Lakers this year. The national media dropped the ball on this one by overwhelmingly picking the Lakers to sweep. Lakers started to read their own press clippings and underestimated the Celtics.

3 words as to why the Lakers will never ever win a championship with Kobe Bryant at the helm.

Decision making process.

It was evident tonight when the Celtics made their run, what does Bryant proceed to do during the 3rd quarter?

Launch ill-advised jumpers.

Here's Brian K's (LA TIMES Blog) take:

"Kobe came out in the third looking to get himself going. More iso, more one-on-one, more jumpshooting. All of that equals less ball movement. "

Usually when the spotlight is shining, the real stars step up and seize the moment. Let's take a look back at Bryant's stats in Finals history.

Remember, this is the Finals. Doesn't get any bigger than this, correct?

Here we go:

***Against Indiana 1999-2000

15.6 PPG and 36% FG (While Shaq avg. 38 PPG, 16.6 RBDS, and 61% FG).

Wow. Talk about stepping up Kobe.

Revisionist like to imagine as Kobe being "clutch". Once again, the actual numbers tell a whole different story.

***Against Philly 2000-2001

24.6 PPG and 41.5% FG. Once again. Look at the staggering high shooting percentage. Coming through again.

Remember, this will have been the 2nd Finals series that he has shot poorly in.

***Against New Jersey 2001-2002

26.8 PPG and 51.4% FG. Finally. For once, Bryant lives up to expectations in the Finals.

It's strange how some like to romp and cheer when Bryant has a performance like 30 PPG and 50% FG.

Isn't it expected from the "best player in the game"?

Or are they cheering because those type of performances are atypical, hence since it's not expected, they are pleasantly surprised?

Puzzling.

***Against Detroit 2003-2004

22.6 PPG and 37% FG. Obviously Bryant had "choking" issues on and off the court that year.

***Against Boston 2007-2008

After tonight's catastrophe, FG% is probably hovering around 40%.

As clearly demonstrated, Kobe has only performed in 1 out of 5 Finals series.

Is that acceptable for someone that anointed by quick to the draw Kobe zealots that proclaim him as the best ever simply because of his scoring prowess?

Though amazing as singular feats (string of 50+ pts, string of 40+ pts, 62 pts in 3 quarters, 81 pts, etc.), what have those done for the bottom line, anyway?

The bottom line is to win a championship, is it not?

That's what all athletes should strive for.

Go back and look at those stats again.

Bryant's done practically nothing in the Finals 4 out of 5 series.

That's a HUGE sample size already.

24 games total.

When can the fans see one of those performances worthy of MVP chants?

If he's in a slump, when will it end? 2015 when he retires?

Most fans would be all for Kobe being anointed as the best ever.

But as clearly shown, he's far far far from it. One has to do it on the biggest stage for it to matter. Who cares if he wins 5 more scoring titles, 3 more MVP's.

Bryant's play in the Finals (career-wise) as been a huge letdown. His play has cemented and tarnished what little veracity to begin with regarding his clutchness (biggest choke up in the Finals, can't "take over" on the Finals stage), basketball mind (look at all those low FG% - poor shot selection - low basketball IQ), and leadership (team on its heels, he cowers and launches jumpers).

Stats don't lie.

Bryant is an absolute choke job when comes to the Finals. All those All-star MVP's, scoring titles, All-defense teams, MVP's, means absolutely zilch when it doesn't come into play during the Finals.

And as for fans holding out hope that Bryant will lead the charge in the revival, don't hold your breath.

Using history to serve as a reminder, most of know that it ain't gonna happen.

-Jeffs Aho


to those who watched the live game, how was the insertion of Eddie House and Posey in the line up shook the laker defense?

i missed the game...and i read from espn that this was the key adjustment from the Celtics

By: Wes Nixon

We may want to put our names first for a while to reduce the number of troll threads accidently read.

Hmmm.

Strange series. Good enough to really dominate every WC team, not nearly good enough to handle the Celtics.

Bynum will help, but we really need to add some experienced vets to this bench. And, unfortunately, I don't think we can wait for guys like Turiaf and Farmar to learn how to play championship ball. We need a stud PG and a cagy big man.

Wes

I wonder how the Lakers will do on Sunday? The guy on espn was referencing the Maverick's complete breakdown against the Heat, which they still havent recovered from. It would be sad if they didnt try.

This game reminded me of Game six in Detroit, and that got their coach fired and all their dudes on the trade block.

hehe i'm gonna go see the real Green Troll issue a beatdown tomorrow!

Give the rings to KG, Allen, and Pierce...

I think they deserve it more... than this bunch of guys
in the LAKERS...

Hope next year will be ours for the taking..

Congratulations BOSTON fans....

All it takes is 1 quarter to change a series. The lakers aren't going to go down without a fight - the fans in game 5 will not let that happen. And then game 6 the pressures on Boston, because if they dont win 5, and don't win 6, than the lakers will be in there head.

"From almost the moment the second half commenced, the Lakers inexplicably got away from the crisp ball movement, multiple touches and continual motion on display in the opening 24 minutes, "

Yep. That'll happen when the cog that makes your offense go (Kobe) is being held nonstop on defense by the opposition and no whistle is called.

I've already watched the tape. The Refs called 2 different games. In the 2nd half the Lakers would get mugged constantly and no whistled would be called. I think they started going more one-on-one in an effort to show the refs the fouls, but they just weren't going to call it.

The NBA Finals. Where FIXED happens.

BTW, the second comment was mine. Somehow I missed getting my name on there. Probably user error.

Now I'm going to have to endure the ridicule of all those that know I'm a Laker fan.

They couldn't just lose like a normal team. Oh no...

One positive note for me was Sasha. He passed up iffy tough looks on the perimeter. He was also super pissed when they lost, as he should be.

Horrible excuse for a defense in the 3rd/4th quarters. Totally inexplicable.

They have to win game 5 simply for the sake of pride.

The game was fnished 7 hours ago and I still can't sleep. Phil Jackson has finally been exposed as a coach who can't overcome adversity without at least 2 future Hall of Famers on his team. The best coaches know you have to show emotion and passion in order to motivate your players. Just ask Doc Rivers.

rumplestiltskin,

It's nice to see a Celts fan with some class. I wonder if the attitudes of the others is born from some insecurity and now the decent Celt fan (or side of a Celt fan) can come out of the woodwork now that you guys look a lot better.

History was made twice tonight. The widest margin of victory after the end of the first quarter and the biggest comeback in a finals game.

This series is not yet over. Perhaps history can be made another way, as you alluded to by mentioning the 2004 Yankees.

It pains me to say this, but if you guys win, you deserved it more.

Why is no-one talking about the illegal defense played by Pierce on Kobe for the 2nd half? They let him get away with holding Kobe like a teddy bear for trips and trips on end, even right in front of the refs, and he was allowed to get away with it!

Refs suck. Celtics suck.

Kobe and Phil must take full responsability for this disaster.

They are our supposed leaders. We may not be better tha Boston but our 4 final games have gone from bad to worse. We don't recognize this team, who are they?

We may recover, but this lack of professionalism hurts.

Baywood

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

FROM MY JUNIOR HIGH COACH TO MY HIGHSCHOOL COACH TO MY COLLEGE COACH. THEY ALL PREACHED DEFENSE!

THIS IS A CULTURE THE LAKERS JUST DON'T HAVE.

1) KOBE DOES NOT PLAY SOLID DEFENSE ANYMORE. AND DON'T DEMAND SOLID DEFENSE FROM HIS TEAM MATES.

2) PHIL JACKSON DOESN'T COACH DEFENSE. YOU CAN SEE BY HOW HE ROTATES HIS PLAYERS.

3) IRA NEWBLE IS KNOWN FOR HIS DEFENSE ABILITY BUT YET TO SEE ANYTIME ON THE FLOOR. IF HE WAS ON THE CELTICS TEAM, YOU WOULD SEE HIM GETTING MINUTES AGAINST KOBE.

4) I HAVEN'T GOT ON KOBE MUCH IN THIS SERIES BUT HE WAS AT FAULT FOR THE 2ND HALF MELTDOWN. HE GET A LITTLE PRESSURE ON HIM BY PIERCE AND HE GOES BACK TO SETTLING FOR JUMPSHOTS AND FADE WAYS.

WHY DID PIERCE BLOCK KOBE'S SHOT? BECAUSE PIERCE KNEW KOBE WAS NOT TRYING TO ATTACK THE GOAL SO, IT ALLOWED PIERCE TO CHEAT ON HIS SHOTS.


THE LAST 4 CHAMPIONS ALL PLAYED GREAT DEFENSE. NOTHING NEW.

$12 MILLION A YEAR COACH SHOULD NEVER LOSE A GAME LIKE THIS. JUST CEMENTS THAT THE GAME HAS PASS PHIL BY.

LAMAR IS NOW A 5-6 MILLION A YEAR PLAYER. WILL NEVER RECEIVE THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY AGAIN FROM ANYMORE. JUST TOO SOFT!

LAKERS REALLY NEVER FILLED THE VOID AT SF POSITION. THEY GOT FISHER TO TIGHTEN UP THE PG POSITION. BUT JUST LIKE LAST YEAR THE SF POSITION IS STILL WEAK.

LUKE AND VLAD NEED TO BE PACKAGED UP IN A TRADE THIS SUMMER. VLAD CAN ONLY PLAY WELL IN 4 MINUTES SPURTS. PHIL KNEW THAT AND KEPT HIM OUT THERE TOO LONG IN THE 3RD.

LUKE WALTON, NEEDS TO JOIN JOHN BARRY ON THE BROADCAST TEAM. JUST TWO PLAYERS WHO HAVE JUST FILLED UP ROSTER SPOTS ON TEAMS JUST BECAUSE OF THEIR DAD'S HISTORY IN THE NBA. NOTHING BETTER THAN CBA OR D-LEAGUE TYPE PLAYERS.

Boston is too pumped up and energized now that they know 20 pt. leads are manageable. Even if LA wins on Sunday, Boston isn't just gonna roll over and die in their backyard. Twice !! Geez. Game 4 was the key and we blew it. Choked on our own over confidence. What are the odds that the Celtics are gonna allow us to lead by another 24 pts?

Everybody,

Been a long time since I posted here, but I just feel like I want to let everyone know how this is going to play out. I mean, when all the studio pundits say that " nobody saw the LAkers going this far" I can honestly say I did. I had faith in Kobes teammates last summer, I thought to myself, "Kobe just give them a chance, all those injuries really hurt our performance, we can do some amazing things, especially with another year of experience. Even the K brothers lost faith in the Lake Show, I didn't post much, but I honestly saw this series exactly how it has transpired thus far.
I have 31 Marines under my charge, and 29 of them are Laker haters, so this loss hurt very much. However, I did not expect the Lakers to beat the Celtics from the beginning of the playoffs, but going up 24 points in the first hald really made me believe we were going to go against the odds. All the so called experts believed the lakers were the better team, but I knew better. If there is an antithesis to the Lakers strengths, it is most definitely the Boston Celtics. ( of course most of this was based on the post Drew injury and Pau trade). Now I was in So Cal in February of this year for a funeral in the family, and at that time, Pau was the most popular laker in the world. So hearing from Okinawa Japan that ppl are knocking himis a lil dissappointing. When AB17 comes back next year poeple, the LAkers will be unstoppable. I n muy heart of hearts I thought this was Boston's season. I am hoping against hope that it isnt. I know the Lakes are going to win the next game, and if Boston F's around and lets the Lakers win game 6, anything is possible.

Well that is my 2 cents


Go Lakers

This is the beggining of a dynasty people, it may not be pretty as you want it to be, but next year, we will draw from whatever comes of this series, to be the most dominant team in the entire league, regardless of conference.

Mark my words

BLF3408

It's too funny. Phil Jackson is the most over-rated coach in the history of the NBA and is trying to "coach" the biggest Primadonna in the history of the NBA. LOL. And the Lakers fans are whining about losing? LOL. Even the crooked NBA refs tried to throw games to the Lakers and they can't deliver. LOL. Make sure you watch the Celtics victory parade on TV next week. Celtics Pride is back and fueled by the overrated Lakers. LOL

One game at a time. We just have to win the remaining 3! Simple.

We're just not ready...not tough enough. I'm sorry to say it's over...we are not going to win 2 in Boston...next year!!!

It seems to me that the Lakers are the better basketball team, but there are two things in particular that are hurting us - (1) the lack of mental toughness and focus (which the Celtics have more of) and the lack of significant playoff experience which more of the key Celtics players have and (2) the absence of Bynum who brings a presence, defense, toughness and shotblocking.

The Lakers are going to lose this series most likely, but we need to play the next game and play to win it so as to build some toughness and more playoff experience. We arent playing for this season or the next, like the Celtics only can. We're playing for the next several years. We're playing for our bright future. This Lakers team has what it takes to become a team that wins a handful of championships. We need to be patient and to learn. The victories will come but first we have to go through the rites of passage that are typical for NBA Champions.

-From a lakers fan who grew up and still lives in Celtic territory, got beat up and still regularly chided by the vast number of growing Celtic fair weather fans who disregarded their team for nearly two decades and dont know jack about the game.

East Coast over West Coast again. East Coast people and pro atheletes have heart, west coast are fuill of themselves and the hollywood fakers (except Jack) that jump on the badwagon. We kick the chrgers ass all the time and now we are beating the Fakers in the finals again. It is great being from championshiopville, also known as BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This the worst loss I have ever experieced as a Lakers fan. It's almost as though the Lakers are afraid to put a dagger into the opposing team heart to win the game....We barely win game 3..we lose game 4......We might lose game 5 and have a green and white party on our floor....The thought makes me sick to my stomach....

It's now 4:45 am and I still can't come to grips with what happened tonight. There are so many thoughts racing through my head. I am going to tell you my thoughts and you can call me anything you'd like, I don't care anymore

I have been a Laker fan since I first heard Chick Hearn's voice on the radio as a kid in 1969.

What was great about Chick as all of you know, was his honesty about basketball. Sure he was a homer, but that didn't stop him from being objective, especially when it came to calling out his team for horrendous play, Chick put everything into perspective.

My point is this, I don't have to channel Chick's spirit to let you know what he might have said about this series.

First, he would be calling out Phil Jackson. I have never seen a team so unprepared, uninspired, confused, and unmotivated as this team is for this series. Not to mention the lack of game plan, adjustments, and leadership.
What I do see is Doc Rivers giving his all to his players, keeping their spirits up, and never mocking them. His players will go to war for him. Do you think Lamar or Vlade would ever go to war for Phil?
A lot of bloggers want to keep ramming down our throats that Phil has nine rings. Well I'm sorry, that was a long time ago. Phil has been exposed along with his Triangle Offense. He had great teams with MJ and Scotty, but that was the nineties, the last time the Triangle won a championship. Remember back then, you had the Jordan Rules (later revived as the Wade Rules, 2 years ago). Now I know a lot of you are going to say the Laker's Three-Peated using the Triangle Offense, but that is simply not the total truth, The Laker's played power ball with Shaq. A lot of you might argue that the Lakers didn't win with Shaq and Kobe until Phil got there, yes that's true, but whose to say any coach besides Del Harris could have taken us to the promise land. Maybe it was our time regardless of who the coach was.
As this years and the Detroit Finals proved, a good defense can stifle the Triangle offense and if the outside shot is not falling you become road kill because Phil can't or won't try a more traditional and contemporary style of play. Add to that, Phil Jackson teams don't have a reputation of being defensive minded, our players usually will not get the benefit of the doubt on the defensive side of the ball, as was the case in tonights game. As Sasha put it, he was afraid to guard Ray Allen close because the refs had been calling foul after foul on him. Phil even alluded to this "illusion" after the game 2 loss, that the refs are predisposed to thinking the Celtics play great defense and the Lakers are hacks. What Phil fails to realize is..... he is responsible for this predisposition of the referrees.
So what happens tonight is almost predictable. The Lakers have problems getting into the Triangle Offense to start the third period, the Celtics toughen up their defense.
The Celtics counter offensively with a post up game and start pecking away at the lead. The Lakers continue to have problems getting into their offense. The Celtics tighten (start hacking) up their defense even more. The refs allow the more agressive play.
Phil makes no adjustments on the offensive end, but juggles the line-up. At no time does Phil try to isolate a post-up player or even try a real pick n roll (you know the one where an actual screen is made).
By this time, the Celtic defense has established itself and Doc Rivers brings out the small shooting unit out.

GAME SET MATCH

Those of you who keep defending Phil Jackson, go right ahead defending him. I don't care. Because I know the Emperor has no clothes on.
Phil Jackson doesn't even have the decency to put any effort into his job, and all you Phil lovers still praise him. He's cons you, then disrespects you, and you want more?
There's a few bloggers here who know the score and I'm proud to be in that minority.

Phil Jackson must go, NOW. Bump him upstairs, anything.
Just don't let him screw up next year's team.

Get a coach who has an "illusion" of being defensive minded. One that knows how to run a true Pick n Roll would be a bonus too.

Good post, Rumplestiltskin! I, too an a Celtic fan who is trying hard not to gloat. It's just that the Lakers and their fans are sooo cocky. I remember the 7th game in '69 when they put the baloons in the rafters because they were so sure the Celtics would lay down for them. When they went up by 24 they and there fans were gloating bigtime evben though they were down in the series. LA is so full of fantasy that it carries over to the reality. The Lakers are not as good as you guys think. I believe they are behind the Pistons and the Cavs.
I was never in doubt that we could come back last night. I wasn't sure that we would but where theres a will theres a way.

i just hope we have not ran out of fairytale tales yet. Remember how we started the season and where we are right now.

Still not over. isnt it?

we need artest next year if we can get him. i think the celtics, hornets and spurs will be looking to add a player on top of what they have to compete with lakers with bynum. kupchak can't get complacent. this, to me, is a case of needing a hardnosed guy like artest who doesn't crumble under pressure. if we have kobe, artest, lamar, gasol, bynum we will have a lineup of both toughness and finesse. right now, we're missing toughness.

Pau should have stayed in Memphis, and Kobe should of stayed in Colorado, this is not where they want to be down 3-1 yaaaaaaaa . I look foward to adding a 17th banner to the rafters , choke on that .

I wish San Antonio had beaten us.
That would have been a great match-up.
The Lakers just weren't prepared.

Do you think Popovich would have been outcoached by Doc Rivers?

At least Pop would have fought with all his might. He would have slugged it out, and given it right back at the Celtics. He wouldn't have let the 10th, 11th, and 12th player of the opposing team humilate him. Phil Jackson should be ashamed of himself.

Phil Jackson has become a parody of himself. He's not a coach, he's an imposter.

Doctor Buss, please do something, we need a real coach. Not one who's screws with players head to the point where they lose all confidence and become jello out on the court.
Doctor Buss, did you watch last nights game, most of our players were confused and then became scared. That is a reflection of its coach.
Phil had no answers for the collapse because he was the answer to the question.
Doctor Buss, you know what you have to do, Phil has not performed. Do not give him credit for making it this far. The credit should be given to the players only.
Doctor Buss, move your future son-in-law upstairs, Phil Jackson is the laughing stock of the coaching world.
Doctor Buss, Do not let NINE RINGS destroy another ball player

Great analysis, BK. Here's what I take from it...

* Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol cost us this championship

* I don't really want to blame Kobe, because I know what he's doing. With most quality teams, when they get pressed and the stress is on, they stay with their offense. With the Lakers, Kobe assesses him team's offensive flow. If he determines no other Laker is contributing, he starts to take over.

This is the true Key for this Laker team.

When this happens, and it happens because the Lakers are not a good defensive team, Kobe is either going to make his shots (like he did in game 3), or miss, like he did in all the other games. If Kobe misses his shots, we have no rebounders that could keep the ball in Laker possession. Kobe misses leads to transition points for the opponent.

But I don't blame Kobe, because WHO THE HELL ELSE IS GOING TO MAKE A DAMN SHOT!

This is why I get so friggin angry at blogger chearleaders who are not seeing the obvious, dammit to hell!

PAU GASOL IS SUPPOSE TO BE OUR NUMBER TWO OFFENSIVE GUY WHO COULD TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF OF KOBE, AND THUS LESSEN HIS NEED TO TAKE OVER.

Pau failed. Pau failed. Pau failed.

Yes, Pau has offensive skills, but he also has no heart and no conviction to use his skills in key games. Some guys just don't have this. Kwame, for all his antics, at least could hold the defensive line. Pau can't even do that.

Now, I don't know if it's that Pau gets too nervous, or maybe Phil Jackson doesn't use him properly, but Pau inability to become the number 2 guy forced Kobe to look for other teammates that couldn't fulfill that role. When Kobe realized this, he starts to shoot too much, thus becoming all of the Laker offense. If he's not of, then the Laker offense is not on, and we lose. It's as simple as that, and it's why Kobe wanted that trade early on this season.

This is why I've said all season: SO GOETH KOBE, SO GOETH THE LAKERS.

What's the solution?

1. We must get a healthy Bynum back and lets hope he can fulfill that #2 role

2. We need key vet players who can contribute when necessary. Guys like Roni and Luke just can't do it.

3. Luke MUST be traded. He will be 29 next year, not exactly a young player anymore.

4. Lamar Odom has to stay with this team. He was forced into a role that is not meant for him because of the number one example of Fool's Gold in the NBA...

5. PAU FRIGGIN GASOL. We need a scorer who's also a banger with a defensive, thug attitude. And guess who needs a bigman to supplement their rebuilding process.

MITCH KUPCHAK MUST TRADE PAU GASOL FOR RON ARTEST THIS SUMMER. PLEASE.

Think about it. Who has more value in key games? A proven scorer and defender who has a thug mentality and wants to win more than anything, or a weak finess guy who has proven he can't play defense, can't score consitently, and cannot help any team he's been on.

Think about it.

How can anyone tell me that a Pau Gasol for Ron Artest trade is bad. How can you tell me that.

We'll have Bynum and Lamar for rebounding, Bynum for our inside game, Kobe and Fish for our outside game, and Ron for a mid range and inside game.

WHERE DOES PAU FIT INTO THIS?

Think of this lineup

Fish
Kobe
Artest
Lamar
Bynum

We have a physical, defensive lineup with bangers who can control the paint.

I will be saying this all summer, so get use to it.

TRADE PAU GASOL FOR RON ARTEST.

Jeff A(ss)Ho,

If you hate Kobe because of the Kobe incident, you're about 2 years behind the curb. Everyone else has gotten over it, so your comments about it have no relevance.

Oh my god... Oh my god..!!! I am so devastated!!!

I am posting here from Turkey.. I used to live in L.A. and have been a true Lakers fan since my childhood..
Tonight, I woke up at 3.30 a.m. in the morning with not even caring how much I do have a hard work at the office in the day!! Getting my mood ready to witness one of the games of the greatest final series of NBA history. But, I know this was the only and last thing any Laker fan would have wanted to witness!!!! They could have been beaten in a normal game, that would be ok.. But this one... Totally unacceptable!!..

We all know that and logically accept that, as a team Celtics are one step ahead with every way..
But U - ARE - THE - LAKERS!!!!!! Can someone get out there and remind them the meaning of how holly and priceless that uniform is!!!!

As I read all the fan's comments, I see everyone feel so so so sad being a fan of a team which is Lakers, getting into the history records with this embarrassing defeat!!

I will only say one thing;

I think it obvious for this game as everybody mentioned how bad was Lakers, in coaching (with having the best head coach ever)" and in "defence" and in "offence".. I am sure they all have seen where they have made the mistakes!!
So.. WHY NOT, getting out on that field again in remaining 3 games with more and more hard work and concentration and making every Laker fan's dream come true, winning this championship with coming back from 3-1 defeat, which is never done before in NBA history and live down the last game's memory and making the unforgettable history!!!!

WHY NOT?? WHY NOT!!!

Yeah! It is good to see the smirk wiped off of Kobe and Phil Jackson with this collapse. I am so pleased that Kevin Garnett can share in the success of Boston after having to languish with the dreadful Timberwolves in MN all of those years. Go Big Ticket! Hope that you get your ring! You are a class act and deserve much success.

*****LAKER NATION......STAND TALL....BE PROUD!!

9RINGS IS MY SHEPHARD I SHALL NOT WANT
YEAH THO I MAY BE DOWN 3 GAMES TO 1
I FEAR NO DEFEAT FOR MAMBA IS WITH ME
HIS REGULAR SEASON MVP, 2 ALL-STARGAME
MVP'S, 2 SCORING TITLES, 12 ALLSTAR SELECTIONS
8 ALL DEFENSIVE TEAM SELECTIONS, 3 NBA
TITLES & 81 POINTS COMFORT ME.

geesh what a group of false laker fans here get your heads out of your butt and root for your team not put them down boston is a very good team, they were the best in the regular season, why think they are not a very good team now

lakers need a coach.........they were simply outcoached. made noo adjustments and and Phil had no backup plans.......this reminds me of being blown out against detroit in the finals..........same coach same results.

Oh my god... Oh my god..!!! I am so devastated!!!

I am posting here from Turkey.. I used to live in L.A. and have been a true Lakers fan since my childhood..
Tonight, I woke up at 3.30 a.m. in the morning with not even caring how much I do have a hard work at the office in the day!! Getting my mood ready to witness one of the games of the greatest final series of NBA history. But, I know this was the only and last thing any Laker fan would have wanted to witness!!!! They could have been beaten in a normal game, that would be ok.. But this one... Totally unacceptable!!..

We all know that and logically accept that, as a team Celtics are one step ahead with every way..
But U - ARE - THE - LAKERS!!!!!! Can someone get out there and remind them the meaning of how holly and priceless that uniform is!!!!

As I read all the fan's comments, I see everyone feel so so so sad being a fan of a team which is Lakers, getting into the history records with this embarrassing defeat!!

I will only say one thing;

I think it obvious for this game as everybody mentioned how bad was Lakers, in coaching (with having the best head coach ever)" and in "defence" and in "offence".. I am sure they all have seen where they have made the mistakes!!
So.. WHY NOT, getting out on that field again in remaining 3 games with more and more hard work and concentration and making every Laker fan's dream come true, winning this championship with coming back from 3-1 defeat, which is never done before in NBA history and live down the last game's memory and making the unforgettable history!!!!

WHY NOT?? WHY NOT!!!

*____________________________________*
LAKER NATION, IF WE ARE TO LOSE, LET US
GO OUT WITH CLASS. DON'T TURN ON EACH
OTHER TURN TO EACH OTHER BANDWAGON
*____________________________________*
(01) MAMBA24 - I still believe

MDC, I couldn't disagree more with you.

For me the reason that this series is going south for the Lakers is just one. But a big one: Pau Gasol.

Much was said that he is soft.
Well, I don't think he is. Although he is not hard for sure, I think he can handle it ok.

But not against this Celtics defense.
Against Boston, HE HAS BEEN SOFT.

Heck, yesterday, even when the Lakers were killing Boston in the first half, he had many moments when he looked like Kwame "Manos de Piedra" Brown.
He couldn't catch a pass under the basket and finish it to save his life.

We all know that his defense is not really a strong point, but his offense usually is marvellous.
But in this series, he has not been able to be the Lakers second scorer anymore.

And why it is so important?
Because it brings this team back to previous years. Before Gasol or the emergence of Bynum, when we had only Kobe and no real second scorer.

And that was a loser situation.
Because Odom can't be that second option. He can have a good game in this role occasionally, but can't do it consistently.

When the Lakers have a real threat besides Kobe, defenses have to worry with it also, leaving more space for Bryant to shine, for Odom to thrive at third option and for the role players to be a factor.

That's when the triangle offense looks superb.

If you take that second threat out, defenses focus on Kobe, eliminate his lanes to the basket, contest his jumpshots and dare the other players to beat them.
That's when Odom , Rad and the bench struggles.

And that's what has been happening in this series.

If Gasol show up and be the second on the offense that we need, we still have a shot to win it (a long one now, but a real one nonetheless).

If the Celtics can continue to make him a non-factor, than it's done (very likely)

Sorry for the long post folks.

I would like to make a few quick points.

1) kobe has to get his offense going from start and he has to attack the rim. He didn't do this until the last quarter and it's too late then. He had to take responsibility for this. No excuse.

2) Boston has made every meaningful adjustment they can make right now. The small ball is their last resort and it worked for them. Now it's either all cards on deck or we can make some more adjustments. I feel we can for maybe one more game. Then it's just who wants it more. It's so frustrating that we have yet to play well for more than a half

3) I think TA should definitely play more.

Let's cheer our team up.

C'mon let's believe in this team

I BELIEVE AND YOU?

KOBE WILL FINISH THEM

WE WILL NOT GIVE UP

LET'S BE THE FIRST TEAM OVERCOME 3-1

C'MON LAKERS FANS

WE CAN DO IT!!!

Funny how everyone is NOW saying that the Celts have a superior team. When I said that BEFORE the finals began, I was flamed relentlessly.

Oh the woes of realist in the midst of so many blind optimists.

Kobe keeps coming up with the tired excuse about how they're learning and how they're a young team.

BS.

If I'm not mistaken, are most of the Laker starters pushing 30 years old?

I wasn't sure up until tonight about Boston being a great team. The first three games didn't really show me because of the reffing, etc... But tonight, I understand why. This game was fairly officiated and we lost on our home court. The Celtics have a better team. They play better defense. We are mismatched here. I love LA, but I also just love great basketball. The Celtics played it. I don't think the Lakers can pull it out. I say we take it as motivation for next year, when we have Bynum back. This is great experience for our team, and it will help us. I say we are back next year, against the C's, with Bynum and with a different result. Thanks for a great season 2008 Lakers! You have been glorious to watch and I have loved every minute of it. You will always be my favorite team and I will always bleed PnG. Go out on Sunday and play with heart and passion with heads held high. Pass the ball, rebound, and show why you're a great team, too. GO LAKERS!!!!!

ps - I love playing in June. It's only 4 short months until our team is back on the court!!! GO LAKERS!

Lakers fans, let's admit it that this year is not meant to be. These Lakers are still young and i thought right from the start that this year is not supposed to be the time the Lakers are going to the Finals. But as they say, the rest is history. Better luck next time. Anyway, the Celtics have to win one more. Go Lakers

Lakers organization, from players to coaching staff, need to go on the media and publicly apologize for the shame and embarrassment they gave to themselves and their fans. There is no excuse. I'm a very loyal fan, but this is too much !! How can somebody not think that they have been told to lose this game......? Shame on you Lakers !! There are people that try much harder for much less money than you make!! Luke, if you want to be a ghost, go work at Disneyland !!

I put the blame this time to PHIL JAX. He started the 4th Quarter playing Farmar, Vujacic and Turiaf(correct me if im wrong) instead of Lamar, Fish..And also by not playing Ariza more minutes...

Hi all:

Daggers - through me and from them.

All I kept thinking at the end of the 2nd Q was "where's the kill" - Lakers go for the kill and it didn't happen. I really thought Fish had it but then he was taken off the floor.

Rick F. - succinct, on it and well said.

All is not lost - we have at least one more game to cheer on this Laker team. I will continue to hope for 3 more because it can be done thinking in small increments.

Adversity forms a champion around the foundation of team.

GO LAKERS!!!

All season long Kobe has started games as a facilitator, then he looks to shoot more in the second half. And he is capable of putting up 30 points in a half. The problem is that the other players lose their edge and play "stand around and watch Kobe" in the second half. Against a good defensive team they need to stay in their offense for 48 minutes.

I watched the whole second half and seen how the Lakers crumbled slowly.

When it should have been his time to assert himself as the best basketball player in the world, KB24 seemed to have faltered and fell short.

Michael Jordan has never been like that in all his Finals appearance.

Clearly, Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals will mark the legacy of KB24 and will further end the debate that he's the Air Apparent. Apparently, that is mostly all about air.

Even if he was suffering from flu and fatigue, Jordan rose to the occasion and lifted his team in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

KB24 with his team leading by 24 points after the break? He simply wilted big-time! Arguably, the worst performance in the Finals by a reigning regular season MVP in this decade.

So much for the bragadoccio.

And possibly, Curt Schilling will have the last laugh. After all, his Arizona Diamondbacks defeated title favorites NY Yankees, 4-3, Kobe's MLB team (LOL)!

Good morning Laker family,

I've experienced every possible emotion since last night's disaster but I refuse to give up on the team. I could have gone through the tv and choked Phil Jackson last night when he waited way too long to bring back the crew who got us the lead to begin with.

The positives: Lamar and Pau are back and there's still another game to play. Our backs are against the wall and we have no one to blame but ourselves. As much as I hate to say it, the Celtics deserved to win last night, we sure didn't. We now have to take itone game at a time and hope we can pull a historic moment of our own. Let's just hope our young players don't get discouraged and give up.

It sucks living in Boston right now but I'm a Laker fan for life...win or lose.

Stay positive and have faith. GO LAKERS!

I am tired of Phil Jackson trying to please his players and afraid to hurt their egos. Walton should not be playing. He absolutely contributes nothing to the team. Last night's loss was very hard to swallow and I do not think that the Lakers can recover. It is nearly impossible. Kobe will never reach the heights of Jordan, who would never allow his team to blow a 24 point lead. I love Kobe but sometimes I do not see how people say he is the team player that he is. Take for instance in the second half when Rondo makes a runner. He yells at Gasol for not showing help BUT isn't Kobe suppose to go under the screen and not over it like he has been doing the entire game.

We can all dream. Lakers in 7.

The biggest missing ingredient for us is a low post presence. Without Bynum we have none. We can't win in the finals with a perimeter offense even if we spread the floor and try to drive it to the hole. Every great team has some kind of interior presence (offensively or defensively). I thought we had something like it in Gasol and Odom but Odom doesn't seem to do well with his back to the basket and as we have seen, Gasol can't create his own shot in the low post especially against a good physical defender. Considering all this, we have done awesome to get this far without our best (only true) big man. If nothing else, we are seeing how important Bynum is to this team.

If this Laker's team is to have any chance at wining here is the key

KEY: Somehow Phil is going to have to make them play very very aggressive plus make them have fun at the same time, not worry, and just have fun. AGGRESSIVE + FUN = A SHOT AT THE TITLE. (Watch a funny movie today go out and eat. Watch the on Hulk on Saturday. Meditate on Sunday. BOSTON DID IT IN BASEBALL. THEY DID IT SO CAN WE. BOSTON HAS SEEN THIS BEFORE. THEY KNOW IT"S POSSIBLE. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IF YOU KNOW IT'S YOUR DESTINY TO DO THE S T U P I D IMPOSSIBLE INCREDIBLE. 2 MORE DAYS PEOPLE. LETS DO THIS THING!!! ARGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They lost already. Get over it. Regain your confidence somehow. If they play smart focused basketball they may still have a shot.

I know some of you will say you are offended and be viscerally angered. But I am grasping the silver lining today. This team has exceeded all expectations this year! And we are one of two left.

Yes, I know we only play for championships and they are STILL PLAYING for one. But I am taking comfort in the fact that this team is playing a team a little bit better and I like the challenge it has presented for everyone (players, coaches, fans).

I still love the strategy, I love the coaches chess match, I love the players mentality, I love the game!!! I can't wait for Sunday where I continue to have hope we will be heading back East to continue this improbable season.

GO LAKERS!!!

Everyone believed Jackson would out coach Rivers in this series, but has been the direct opposite. Jackson failed to put Kobe on Rondo in the first two games when it was clearly the most desirable defensive scheme. Jackson continues to play worthless Walton when Rivers has decided to keep Cassell to the bench. Rivers made the adjustment of putting House into the game to space the floor while Jackson made no adjustment to counteract that.

Oh no
Bad news in LA "NBA commissioner exposed as fraud!"

The lakers failed to prove they deserve to be in the finals.

If I had a cliff, I'd jump off of it.

Just terrible.

I don't know what to say.

I absolutely did not understand Phil Jackson's substitutions in the second half.

I think I'm going to go drink Draino now.

GO LAKERS!

When the dust finally settles phil may get his wish. Every championship for the last 20 years will carry an asterisk that will be known as the stern stain

"Where are all the C trolls today?
Let's hear from you -- we know you are reading.
Lost your tongue today, uh?

Just got in.
I'll bet the green bastard trolls are nowhere to be found.
BUTLER included.

Lakers put themselves into the record books in this game --
This game had the biggest lead after 1 quarter in any game
in NBA finals history.
If they win, they'll put Boston in the record books as well --
they will have lost the most playoff games in one season of
any team in NBA history.
Go Lakers!

who? did we have these...Trolls you speak of on our blog at some point? I can't really recall ever having read anything like that.


All silent on the Celtics front...
Wonder where all the green trolls are???

And what was that Celtic troll who said this was about Garnett going off the floor with 2 fouls.
This game was decided WAYYYYY before KG got his second.
use your eyes not your heart when you comment, troll"


Since I know that you guys consider me a troll and are so interested in where I was, I was on a date with my wife. I'm sorry that I wasn't at the computer with the rest of you...

This is really the class of Laker fans...the third Boston starter to get an injury in the series, and you're either mocking him or celebrating his injury. Perhaps you should consider the karma you bring upon your team when you act like an azzhat.


Another Celt bites the dust...
Posted by: utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER | June 12, 2008 at 07:42 PM

Man, these Celtics sure are fragile players...
Posted by: The Waterboy | June 12, 2008 at 07:42 PM

Call 911 for ambulance! Perkins need surgery!
Posted by: Lito Molina | June 12, 2008 at 07:43 PM

GET HIM A WHEELCHAIR!
Am I classy? Very well, I am classy. I am a Lakers fan, I contain multitudes.
GET HIM A WHEELCHAIR!
Posted by: phred | June 12, 2008 at 07:43 PM

Boy do they hack you hard, and make sort of dirty fouls.
But they sure do look pitiful they way they cry when they get hurt don't they?
Posted by: john_in_houston | June 12, 2008 at 07:44 PM

Lets put one thing in perspective here: Perkins is faking that injury!
We already know that every game one of the celtics player will fake an injury!
I understand their side... this LA where actors and producers happen!
Posted by: Maxximo | June 12, 2008 at 07:48 PM

On the perkins injury -- that should put to rest the idea that the lakes are not physical. That was lamar taking it to P like a MAN!
The boy crumbled right after.
Way to Man up Larmar
Posted by: t_sensei | June 12, 2008 at 07:49 PM

It has been nearly ten hours since the Lakers historic collapse and reading all the sport columns is really disappointing. We can easily be up 3-1 and definitely should be tied 2-2.

I wonder what vocabulary Chick Hearn would have used to describe last night's debacle.

Jackson had 3 timeouts left before they used up two in the final 16 seconds to draw up one play. Why didn't he use one to break up the momentum? Some the Lakers don't have the mental toughness to play through it.

There is always next year. ....

 
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