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Lakers 102, Rockets 96: Short handed, but not empty handed

The first of consecutive games in the Lone Star State, and the Lakers felt more of the "lone" part Kobe_yao_2 than preferable.  Already down Andrew Bynum to match up against Houston's Yao Ming, the rumble needed to be fought without the services of Lamar Odom, serving a one-game suspension for violating a section of the NBA's rule about not leaving the bench during a skirmish.  Mainly, the section that says not to.  Throw in dudes like Ron Artest and Shane Battier who've enjoyed previous success making Kobe Bryant labor for points, being just 48 hours removed from the season's worst loss and the Rockets taking eleven of their last baker's dozen, and a 102-96 purple and gold victory appeared an uphill battle of hope.  And once the opening 24 minutes were in the books, an uphill battle while trudging barefoot through a few feet of snow. 

After a knotted first quarter featuring play equal parts inspired (early makes and big hustle from Derek Fisher) and ragged (five turnovers), the Lakers' second unit proceeded to pull away, only to watch the Rockets regroup and bust out a 14-0 run over four minutes.  From there, the bad got worse.   A nineteen-footer from Trevor Ariza (inserted into the starting lineup for Luke Walton at the last minute, at Luke's request) broke the drought, but layups from him and Josh Powell (taking LO's place) were the only field goals over the final 3:54.  Frustration- along with an eleven point Houston lead- was clearly building, but the half's final sequence struck me as an omen of things to come.   

Guarded by Kobe with scant seconds ticking down, Lakers Blog icon Von Wafer attempted an upfake to draw contact against his former teammate.  Basically, trying to sucker Kobe with a Kobe Special.  The Mamba proceeded to nonchalantly stuff Von's jumper in two handed fashion, his body language very much, "dude, knock it off.  I'm not in the mood."  Kinda reminded me of when Indiana Jones calmly decides to shoot the guy with the sword.   It also created a vibe that seemed to mark "enough" officially declared and the "bidness" stage reached. 

Got that right.

The second half was all about the guests, a squad that steadily chipped away at theirKobe_react host's advantage.  They did it by playing fantastic D, holding Houston to just 45 additional points, highlighted by an bone dry seventeen-point third frame.  They did it by becoming the tougher squad on the boards, turning the glass eating tables and racking a 36-33 advantage in the box score.  They did it by taking considerably better care of the ball (a mere trio of gaffes in all).  And... well... Kobe did a fair amount of "it" by his lonesome, racking 30 of his 37 points after halftime, eighteen in second half.  Ironically, he did it often at the direct expense of Artest, a cat Kobe conceded has gotten the past upper hand against him. 

Of course, it helped that Ron Ron went kinda crazy crazy, so overcome with their mano y' mano/trash talk/double T that he took himself completely out of the game.  If 82games.com keeps records for games containing the most awful unforced shots, ridiculous fouls and generally goony bird decisions, I'm guessing Artest's effort made him the newest king of the mountain.  Man alive, was this dude a couple tacos short of a combo platter.

Kobe's heroics can't and shouldn't be overlooked, but for my money, the most important aspect of the game was seeing a team band together and conquer poor circumstances.  There was an obvious need for guys to step up, and from top to bottom, the Lakers got contributions.  Josh Powell more than acquitted himself in Lamar Odom's absence, going 8-14 for seventeen points to compliment nine rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass.  All three were also directly converted into either buckets or trips to the line.  Pau Gasol chipped in 20 points.  Trevor Ariza had a few terrific sequences, the most exciting coming on a slither to the bucket to snag and put back his own bricked J.   Hustle plays on D came from Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton, who also canned an 18-footer to snag a late lead that Houston never regained.

Rarely is a victory over a team in your rear view mirror fodder for "statement win" talk.  This one, however, could be the exception that proves the rule. 

AK

Photo 1: Kobe scores a basket around Houston's Yao Ming.  Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Photo 2: Kobe Bryant reacts after making a shot.  Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

 
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i just posted this

luke requested to come off the bench, he asked phil, telling him it would help the bench if he played with them. phil agreed, from now on trevor will start

this info is on lakers.com lakers blog for those who want to check it out.

Lakofan,

Here is the URL. Thanks for the heads up.

http://tinyurl.com/dn3kl2

AK

Luke offering to be with the benchmob tells you his desire to win. Goodness, Farmar, seems your leadership needs help from the 3 minute man.

Any day that the Celtics lose and the Lakers win is a great day.

I watched the first half, listened to most of the second half on the drive home and watched the final couple of minutes. One thing that bothered me about Spero's call was the way he pronounces Scola's name (which I'm guessing is the proper way to pronounce it). I'm sure the way we hear it is an overly Anglicized version. But it just sounded like he gave it extra emphasis every time and was distracting. I understand having the respect to pronounce the man's name the way it's supposed to be but, it's not as if I expect someone from Argentina to break into a perfect California accent every time they say my name. See? It was distracting enough to totally derail my post.

I was impressed with the effort and focus the team had tonight. Now, they get rewarded with the Spurs tomorrow.

Hopefully this move will increase the ball movement for the bench. As great as the starting unit is the bench's ball movement was just plain awful on the road. And hopefully will slow but not completely stop the Luke haterade. Yeah I know Luke will get the "Trade Puke" flak regardless.

Ariza still couldn't keep up with Ron Ron though Ron himself wasn't litting up the box score either. Thank Adelman for freeing Kobe from Battier by benching him forcing Artest to guard Kobe and tire him out even more.

Jordan and Sasha again both 1-4 though they both got steals. With the exception of an alley oop and Sasha jumper they again couldn't contribute much offensively (Jordan had 2 assists). Have to wonder if Jordan is more of a SG who is trapped in a PG body. He works much better off the ball rather than ball handling. This may be actually be good for his Laker future as Kobe will be handling the ball more now and if he can stay without the ball and be a spot up shooter he'll be fine with Kobe though is defense still has to improve. At best case for Jordan he'll end up as role player in a similar fashion to Derek is to Kobe.

Sasha is actually more perfect for a spot up shooting but has lost his touch big time. Plus he can't handle point guards and is probably worst than Jordan at defense.

San Antonio tomorrow. Even without no Bynum they have no GINOBILI!, and the Big Fundamental has sore knees. Tony Parker is still a threat and can't let Roger Mason wide open threes and neither Bonner as well.

Best way to beat the Spurs: Make them get Duncan involved early as in make it tough for him to a score but not too much because he is a great passer out of the post (is as good if not better than Pau). Make Tim the one who does everything instead of Tony Parker which makes the Spurs offense stagnant later on and out of synch in a similar fashion of making Kobe shoot excessive shots early in the game. As long as Tony is contained, Pau or whoever is guarding Tim hard for Timmy, and most importantly keep Roger Mason and Matt Bonner down then this should be another win to take back to the Staples Center.

-KB Blitz

Just caught Kobe's side of the conversation with Artest. You can get the gist of what Artest said by Kobe's answers:

"What? I'm not ready for you?"

(Kobe Laughs)

"Oh, you're a standup comedian now"

(Kobe Laughs)

(Ron Ron winks at someone, as if to see if he could press Kobe's buttons).

that was a satisfying win. i'm glad the Lakers decided to win the game by playing better basketball. this game was a real test and the test was passed. now, they have another test tomorrow.

EVERY BODY KOBE LAST TIME IN HOUSTON, KOBE HAD CLUTCH GAME AND HAD CLUTCH GAME IN SPURS AND FISHER RUINED IT FOR HIM. THIS TIME KOBE HAD CLUTCH GAME AND FISHER ALMOST RUINED IT AGIEN. HOPE HAS HUGE GAME VS SPURS. MAYBE DEJAVU

THIS WAS A GAME THAT COULD HAVE MADE FANS SCARED AND HOPLESS

"Just caught Kobe's side of the conversation with Artest. You can get the gist of what Artest said by Kobe's answers:

"What? I'm not ready for you?"
-------------------------------------

They were transcribing the trash talk on ESPN. Kobe's remark above was preceded by Ron's "You're not ready, Kobe"

I am actually curious about what came out of Kevin Garnett's dirty mouth when Lamar gave him that butt slap. Whatever KG said seemed to have fired up LO during that C*ltics game.

"Luke offering to be with the benchmob tells you his desire to win. Goodness, Farmar, seems your leadership needs help from the 3 minute man"


p ang


Stop trying to give Walton credit where none is due. The fact that Luke had to go to Phil to ask to be taken out of the starting lineup just shows you how lost, stubborn, and egocentric Phil Jackson is. If Walton had not asked him to come off the bench Phil would have continued to start Luke........which would have been disasterous for the Lakers as they certainly would have been off to another slooooow start.

Luke had to take a hard look at himself and say "who am I kidding......I don't belong out here" Against Portland with all those strong, quick, and smart athletes Luke had that Rocky look in his eyes as he was about to square off against Clubber Lang (spelled it right this time) .

Luke had no choice but to go to Phil because as I said at the beginning of the week this road trip would expose Luke Walton..........It may not even be true that he went to Phil at all.........Phil and Luke just maybe trying to save face after that debacle in Portland the other night.....with all of Phil's character flaws I wouldn't put anything past the zenmaster.

I don't want bloggers to think that this is personal against Luke or Phil but Phil continuing to play Luke Walton who will be 30 years old in just over a year stymies the development of other players like Ariza, and Powell who both were beautiful tonight bringing DEFENSIVE INTENSITY to the game and matching Houston athlete for athlete.


There are those who would like to credit Phil for making in-game adjustments tonight but not me. I understand Phil.....this guy can't coach a lick.......and if Lamar had not been suspended and If Luke had not come to his senses about starting........nothing would have changed tonight. Phil would have continued his descending spiral into the abyss,,,,,,,being led by his enormous ego and unwillingness to change like oxen to the slaughter.

Phil backed into a new strategy tonight by sheer circumstance. He finally came out of that triangle tonight and put the ball in Kobe hands around pick and rolls but he always does that after a big loss or when we are on national TV, Maybe he now realizes it was his fanatical allegience to the triangle offense that contributed to his last two Finals losses..


.........and why is Gasol playing so many minutess? What the hell is going on there? We have the Spurs in less than 24 hours and Phil played Gasol over 42 minutes tonight. 10 of those 42 minutes should have gone to Mbenga tonight.


When the Lakers win it is DESPITE PHIL JACKSON not because of him


LAKERS SHOWED SOME CHARACTER TONITE AND PLAYED AS A TEAM. SOME T/O's IN THE FIRST HALF BUT THEY CLEANED UP THEIR ACT IN THE SECOND... VERY ENTERTAINING!!!

JOSH AND TREVOR IN THE STARTING LINEUP GENIUS!!! THE MAMBA WILL ALWAYS BE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE PURPLE AND GOLD. GREAT TO SEE ALMOST EVERYONE CONTRIBUTE EXCEPT FOR WALTON AND SASHA WHO SHOULD BE A CONCERN FOR PJ JUST ABOUT.... NOW !!!!

GREAT WIN NONETHELESS, GOOD OMENS FOR TOMORROW!!!

GOOOOOOLAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i want to remind everyone that josh Powell's best moments in his Lakers uniform started in the last game in SA, when in the 4th quarter he played the pick and roll with Kobe and nailed 2 big 15 footers just before Kobe shot that big three at the end. we know the rest.

too bad Josh did not have another rebound to have his first double-double maybe? of his career in the NBA. looks like he is balanced enough for tough moments and can finish game. does not look as good when playing with the bench.

I really Love Fisher but the contact after fouls has got to stop...It happened again tonight....It nearly happened last year with Barry from the Spurs...Like i said,i love the guy but the contact has to stop.......The cost of that action could be huge in the playoffs......

Good win otherwise.......I know i have been critical against Farmar in the past but the guy really needs a shot of confidence....As much as i think he has sticky fingers the guy needs to pull his finger out.....The bench needs help....

AK,

"Of course, it helped that Ron Ron went kinda crazy crazy, so overcome with their mano y' mano/trash talk/double T that he took himself completely out of the game. If 82games.com keeps records for games containing the most awful unforced shots, ridiculous fouls and generally goony bird decisions, I'm guessing Artest's effort made him the newest king of the mountain. Man alive, was this dude a couple tacos short of a combo platter."

That may have been the funniest thing I've ever read on this blog. And, I tend to think that this blog is generally quite hilarious. With every ensuing sentence, I was laughing harder and harder. Kudos to you, sir, and thank you for the hearty laughter!


Kobe is cold blooded.

Powell should start. His game compliments the first unit and the bench could use LOs versatility. Great call from Luke to start Trevor.

Big win.

Ariza starting. I like it. There's enough good passing and big bodies in starters that I don't see why we need Luke out there to start.

Put Ariza on the toughest 2/3 at leat for a stretch and let Kobe rest his legs.

And good on Luke for sacrificing to try to help the team.

LakerTom/wow,

Excellent post on game-chat LT...Thanks wow for the complement...just saw what was happening at the time and tried to make sense of it all...

Phil has always had a STEALTH personality about him when it comes to coaching and decision making...Trust me, he KNOWS his team VERY WELL!

Last night's game vs Houston was a sampling of his many geniuses taken for granted...

For instance, I really liked Phil's decision to go with the pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop, and ball screens in the second half. The ENERGY on both ends picked up as a result...

The Lakers are not known to run such plays as a part of their total game package, as it goes against the principles of the triangle they employ (where all 5 guys on the court move with the ball simultaneously in order to take or create a low risk shot from the interior, midrange area, and perimeter).

The triangle is what makes the Lakers unique...When it's ON, they are UNSTOPPABLE! Unfortunately, it is the hardest system to LEARN quickly...which explains why some of the Lakers young players and new additions are struggling with it for the most part...but manage.

Wow! When they utilized the "basic" of all basketball plays in this game, they were GAME!

With Powell in the lineup and his ability to make mid-range shots, the midrange area on the court was practically penetrable because of the space that was created...Thus, allowing the p&r to work effectively from the top of the key in, where Kobe did his damage...Not even great individual defenders like Artest and Battier could guard against the rhythm that Kobe got on in the second half (they started to CHASE rather than to guard FACE to FACE). Phil threw nice CURVEBALL today, no doubt...

Hmmm...speaking of the p&r play, If fellow fans think the Lakers are the ONLY team that has problems defending the pick-and-roll, they might want to add Houston and a number of teams in the league to that dubious list...

However, one Bynum gets back sometime in April, the Lakers will have the RECIPE to STOP IT! Sure, the paint is susceptible to guard penetration and a host of other offensive sets utilized at the moment by opponents...That will all CHANGE in the near future when the BEAST returns to his DOMAIN...

Like Fisher reminds us from time to time, "Championships are won in June."

I have no doubt that our Lakers will be there...They have been through too much to come short of that goal, which is to win it ALL!

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY!

The mohawked Von Wafer looks to have a good, JR Smith-ish future ahead of him. Even though they let him go, the Laker's scouting usually has a great knack for plucking up quality second-rounders and late first-rounders. Wafer, Walton, and Turiaf are contributing second-rounders, and Farmar, Fisher, and Vujacic are all late first-round.

I remember that AK or BK post about Wafer, playing garbage time while the Lakers were down in a blowout, blocks somebody's half-hearted layup and yelled "GET THAT ____ OUTTA HERE!"

I very much respect Luke's willingness to come off the bench if n it will help the team. I think his assessment is correct. With just 2.5 assists and .98 turnovers per game and low offensive output he should not start. But, few players would admit to that or bring the possibility up to the coach.

Again, I applaud Luke's putting the team first. THANKS LUKE!! YOU'RE COOL!!!

BTW, I recognize that Ariza's numbers aren't much better.

Finally, JOOOSH POWWEELL!!!! The guy has become someone they really have to guard. 17 points is a serious contribution. The three offensive rebounds show he is banging the boards. I'm very glad to have him on the team.

GOOOoooOOOO LAKERS!!!!

big win.....along with the victories over the celtics and cavs. If not for a few "unlucky" gaffes ( pacers and spurs losses on miracle shots) we're doing pretty good. In time, we'll get a few "buzzer beater" wins also. Our guys seem to bounce back from losses, which bodes well for the playoffs, when one game is not the whole story.

In regards to Josh Powell starting,

YES! I think he performed well.

In regards to Ariza starting:

partial repost ...

you wrote[kbblitz]: Get facts straight, this is mere 2 games and only against Portland and the Clippers and you are already letting 2 early results say that Trevor is already the best SF we have.

my response[hobbit]: Actually ... I thought I *clearly* stated that
I thought Ariza was going to be the best SF we had, at
the end of last season. My reasons were: defensively
minded, quickness, chemistry with the rest of the team,
physical attributes & a willingness to work on his game.
I do not believe that he is the best SF we have *today*.
I believe he will be by the end of the season.

re: overating Trevor. How do you define "over rating"?
Is it to optimistically believe that the GM was telling the
truth when he said he wanted a defensive 3? Is it to
predict, with qualifications, that he would work on his
game over the summer? or is it to believe that a 6'10"
PF, who has excited yet disappointed us for 3
years, will surprise everyone by working on his game
over the summer, defy biology by becoming quicker, &
supplant former NBA champions Fisher & Kobe at the
PG/SG positions?

Posted by: hobbitmage | October 30, 2008 at 06:55 PM

Fast forward to 3/11/2009

Prior to L.A.’s win against Houston, Luke Walton approached head coach Phil Jackson with an idea: why not see if L.A.’s flow worked better with Trevor Ariza starting and Walton coming off the bench?

Jackson concurred, and both players were effective in L.A.’s 102-96 win. Ariza scored eight points with six boards, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes, while Walton logged eight points alongside five boards and two assists in 23 minutes.

Jackson said the team would stick with that lineup for the foreseeable future.

--from the Lakers.com blog.

I'm feeling great after that win. It was won with their defense in the second half, and Kobe's offense. I'm looking forward to a repeat performance tonight!

Let's kill the Spurs!!!!

GO LAKERS!

Mon.Mar. 12, 2009 Lakers(51-13) vs. Spurs(43-20)
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********
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WE ARE THE FREAKIN LA LAKERS, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU


Good morning everyone,

You have to like PJ's willingness to experiment with the lineup this late in the season. Mixing vets with up-and-comers makes a lot of sense. The Bench Mob's style of play had become too one-dimensional and the Starting 5 rarely had the energy needed to make it all happen.

Josh Powell's performance against the Rockets bodes well for the future. It also showed Lamar Odom that he could be expendable. Or, seeing Powell perform well as a starter might be the eye-opener Lamar needs to finally fulfill his promise. We'll see.

Looking forward to tonight's showdown in San Antonio. Go Lakers!

Hey Laker Peeps,

Questions:

1. Is Luke Walton benched for good? Is this going to be a permanent fan? Please say it's so....

2. I didn't see the game, but I've heard Artest and Kobe got way into it. Was Artest just trying to push his buttons on purpose? Sasha blows. And tonight's game is gonna be sweeeett!

Good morning Mamba, Rick and the rest of the Laker crew.

What a game, what a game, what a game. I won't deny that I almost went to bet when we were down by 14 but I didn't, I stck it out and it paid off.

Kobe was amazing and Ron Ron was absolutely stupid to get him riled up. Give props to Luke for choosing to come off the bench. Truly unselfish of him and a good move.

Great win...let's do it again. GO LAKERS!

pfunk36,
You do realize that earlier this season Ariza told PJ he wasn't comfortable starting, right, and preferred coming off of the bench?


HOBBITMAGE THANKS FOR THE INFO!

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY!
Posted by: Let's Go L's! | March 12, 2009 at 02:01 AM

NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!
****
LET'S KILL THE SPURS - BANDWAGON
*****
(01) LONGTIMELAKERLOVER - OWNER - Let's kill the Spurs!!!!
(02) MAMBA24 - DRIVER - I agree, Let's Kill The Spurs!

"10 of those 42 minutes should have gone to Mbenga tonight."

Yes, of course. Because winning the game, after the previous night's loss, with the next game in San Antonio, wasn't that important.

.........and why is Gasol playing so many minutess? What the hell is going on there? We have the Spurs in less than 24 hours and Phil played Gasol over 42 minutes tonight. 10 of those 42 minutes should have gone to Mbenga tonight.


When the Lakers win it is DESPITE PHIL JACKSON not because of him


Posted by: pfunk36 | March 12, 2009 at 12:07 AM

=============
Amen to that.


Seems Luke is a smart guy after all. I think he might thrive and do well with the second unit playing 10-15 minutes a game. Also his lack of athletic ability will be less exposed on the second unit. He can do what he does best...Move the ball and pass.

Too bad PJ was too dumb or stubborn to make this move long ago.

#4,

Well, with regards to Artest trashing-talking at Kobe and Kobe was responding, what is the point? I guess those are the temper of the times. It is part of the show. Lakers would have been in great danger if this went on for another quarter and the referees awarded both another technical which would be a great lost to the Lakers. Secondly, Artest is a nut case. He was placed there to do exactly those annoying acts not playing basketball but playing on Kobe. (This is like Rondo trying to arouse Kobe's emotions to react). If you dealt with Artest, the nut, what could you expect to happen? Well from that movie ofJack, "one flew over cuckoo's nest", after sometime, you too become a nut case. I think Kobe should take this into consideration especially now that he is a young adult and the lifeline of the team.

**
LUKE WALTON 6TH MAN OF THE YEAR(And good Guy)
BANDWAGON
****
(01) P ANG - OWNER - Luke offering to be with the benchmob tells you
his desire to win
(02) KOBEBLIZ - DRIVER
(03) VMAN - Great Call from Luke to start Trevor.
(04) BENJAMIN - And good on Luke for sacrificing to try to help the team
(05) JOHNNYP - I very much respect Luke's willingness to come off the
bench if n it will help the team
(06)

pfunk36,
You do realize that earlier this season Ariza told PJ he wasn't comfortable starting,
right, and preferred coming off of the bench?
Posted by: exhelodrvr | March 12, 2009 at 08:08 AM
KACHING!!!!!!!!!

"10 of those 42 minutes should have gone to Mbenga tonight."
Yes, of course. Because winning the game, after the previous night's loss, with the
next game in San Antonio, wasn't that important.
Posted by: exhelodrvr | March 12, 2009 at 08:10 AM
KACHING!!!! KACHING!!!! The man is on a roll!

Good Morning EastCoast. I agree great win, lets do it again.


2 in a row tonite, baby!

Do You See What I See...

Feel like revising your (moronic) list now?

And, no, I Don't See What You See.

Thank goodness.

So i have the scoop of that sword thing in Indina Jones. I went to a motivational summit last year and the disney guy was there. He told the story about that scene. So dude with the gun was sick the whole time they were filming that scene. They tried several times to get it going but they were running out of time and production costs were rising. So someone on the set suggests instead of having a sword fight lets just have him shoot the guy. I swear i didnt make it up :)

I declare today BUTLER day.

Today I am cheering for the mighty Suns to dominate the
Cadavaliers and give the Lakers another 1-game lead for
the best record in the league.

Great win last night. Nice to see Kobe rep his status against one of the leagues best defenders.

Kobe reversed Psychologized Ron-ron for he is now known as the Artest Whisperer.

Psssttt! No!

Good Morning, Laker Nation!

I'll keep it short this morning...

It's time for...

Jon K.'s Early Thoughts That He Has Not Put Too Much Thought Into Yet:

1. Good win last night. This ought to shut up some of the chicken littles for a while.

2. Kobe = MVP

3. I think it might be time to start the "Let's Start Josh Powell" Bandwagon.

4. Ummm... really, to be honest with you, I think we could expect more consistent production from Josh Powell than Lamar Odom starting.

5. Is Andrew Bynum back yet?

6. Luke Walton played alright off the bench.

7. Spurs are up next. The Spurs are always trouble. Hopefully that Trailblazers lost was a wake up call and we'll be ready to play.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!

EX,

"You do realize that earlier this season Ariza told PJ he wasn't comfortable starting, right, and preferred coming off of the bench?"

It doesn't mean that he will always follow the players' wish. I also commend PJ for playing a tactical game against the Rockets, calling the necessary timeouts when the score gets hay ward and placing back Kobe at right moment. I know LO will not agree that he belongs to the bench mob bu if he is t teamed up with Luke, Farmar and Sasha, it will empower the second unit. That was our advantage in the past winning series of games before Drew's injury that our 2nd unit is just as effective as the first. Secondly, the presence of LO add also Mbenga will slow down Farmar and Sasha jacking up shots arbitrarily. Ariza and Powell as starters have great games when they play with Kobe, Pau and Fisher. There is balance in speed, height and energy which makes the defense more active in anticipating those cross-court passes and exploit possible double teaming with Kobe and Fisher always lurking around their guards.


Kobe is cold blooded

Mamba -

You are a class act. Thanks so much for the well wishes.

Pfunk - Wow. A strongly-stated opinion with which I happen to not agree. I think Phil has been VITAL to the Lakers' success. Do you notice how the one year we didn't go to the playoffs in recent memory was the one year Phil didn't coach? Don't talk about how we had less talent, because we had Caron instead of Kwame, and I contend that that starting five had way more talent than the starting five that Phil took to the playoffs the very next year. When you win once (Doc Rivers), it can be lucky or circumstances or players or whatever. When you win NINE TIMES, it's a pattern. There's something about the way you operate that makes you a winner. Last night, whatever Phil said in the locker room at halftime worked big time - isn't that a coach's biggest job?

As far as Luke is concerned, I think we should all be grateful to have this cat on the team. I don't think there's one lineup that's best at all times - when our offense was stagnant, Phil felt that Luke should be in there to lubricate things a bit. When our defense has been sagging, he goes with the more defensive-minded Ariza. I'm sure the fact that Luke is so streaky with his shot as his confidence waxes and wanes is at least part of the reason Phil hadn't made the change already. But whatever his reasons, I'm not going to second-guess our coach. The fact is, he coaches professional basketball and is definitely in the conversation for the greatest of all time. I'm not even in that conversation for the relatively unglamorous job I do, so I figure he probably knows better than I do what the right call is at any given time.

On to San Antonio!

***
LETS START JOSH POWELL - BANDWAGON
****
(01) JON K. - OWNER
(02) MAMBA24 - DRIVER
(03)

Mamba 24

I'm going to check the air pressure in the bus tires because I think the bus is going to be loaded again. All the bandwagon fans that were jumping off the last couple days will be trying to board again this morning They don't realize all the good seats are occupied by the Laker fans that remained on board. Some of those bandwagon fans are going to have to hang on to the outside of the bus for the rest of this trip to the championship parade.

Oh! Look Mamba, there's the 4th seed bus stop right up there. I more win by the Lakers, or one more loss by the Suns. We'll be there this evening. Do you want to stop and pick up a few more fans?


LongTimeLakerFan

I like your other name for the Cav's. The Crabaliers! Good one.

It is about time for Luke to coach Phil Jackson that he is not a starter. He can't handle other teams' starters. By coming off the bench, he will be playing against the benches from the opponent side. This leads me into thinking to start a "draft Luke Walton as Lakers' coach bandwagon". Face it, Luke is untradeable. He has long contract and is getting old. He is allegedly a smart guy. So, why not let him be the coach. Phil needs his nap during the games. So, let Phil naps before and after the games also!

Besides Phil and Luke, one Lakers I am starting to get leery of is Farmar. He just reminds me of Smush Parker. Smush was a good offensive player particularly in the first quarter. He made his jumpers and layups early in the game. But, as the minutes wore off, he started bricking his freethrows. Farmar is not a starter and did not play the minutes that Smush was playing. Yet, he is exhibiting all the signs of Smush Parker. Both can't stand in front of a guy - always try for steals instead. Both're ballhogs. Farmar nearly made at least one bad pass a game. I just wish my fellow bloggers to curb their enthusiasm on Farmar. We should look for our future point guard elsewhere.

Charles,

Did you hear, Mask from Tapout died in a car accident yesterday? Sad.

Oh! Look Mamba, there's the 4th seed bus stop right up there. I more win
by the Lakers, or one more loss by the Suns. We'll be there this evening.
Do you want to stop and pick up a few more fans?
Posted by: Laker Larry | March 12, 2009 at 08:57 AM

Naw let the Bums walk. Just kidding! All are welcome aboard the Bandwagon,
Early arrivers and latecomers all. The more the merrier. For even I was once a
member of the unwashed nonbelievers. And in spite of this a seat was saved
for me. Hallelujah Brother, Jon K. pass the Dit dar jaw!

**
LUKE WALTON 6TH MAN OF THE YEAR(And good Guy)
BANDWAGON
****
(01) P ANG - OWNER - Luke offering to be with the benchmob tells you
his desire to win
(02) KOBEBLIZ - DRIVER
(03) VMAN - Great Call from Luke to start Trevor.
(04) BENJAMIN - And good on Luke for sacrificing to try to help the team
(05) JOHNNYP - I very much respect Luke's willingness to come off the
bench if n it will help the team
(06) SBPIMP - As far as Luke is concerned, I think we should all be grateful
to have this cat on the team.
(07) JON K. - Luke Walton played alright off the bench.


I don't know what you see, but I'll tell you what I see...

...somebody's full of it!

Never...EVER...lose faith in your team. THAT is what seperates the true fans from the posers! All you doubters, fear-mongerers and naysayers, we will remember you as we stand at Olympic & Fig awaiting the arrival of the O'Brien Trophy!

**** MVP! COY!****

Now that we’ve finally put to rest the silly notions that any player on the Lakers is more valuable than Kobe or that the Lakers are not a better team with Andrew Bynum at center, maybe we can also put to rest some other Lakers myths perpetrated by the media.

To start with, how about the myth that Kobe can’t score efficiently against great defensive teams like the Celtics and Rockets, that physical man-on-man defenders like Artest or Battier can turn him into a non-factor or volume shooter? How about 37 points on 14 for 23 shooting, including 18 clutch points to close out the game in the fourth quarter?

And how about the myth that the Lakers are a soft finesse team that lacks toughness? Intent on turning the game into a physical battle, Ron Artest learned the hard way that it will take more than brute strength to intimidate Kobe or the Lakers. Without Drew or Lamar and with Pau only getting 5 boards, the Lakers still outrebounded the Rockets.

And how about the myth that Phil Jackson can’t make great in-game adjustments? Did you notice that it was Phil completely abandoning the Triangle Offense down the stretch in order to exclusively run pick-and-rolls with Kobe and Pau that let Kobe to kill the Rockets? And what about the decision to run the play from the top of the key to open up the floor?

And what about the myth that the Lakers can’t play any defense? How about 23 turnovers forced that completely disrupted the Rockets offense in the second half? How about the suffocating double teams on Yao to take him completely out of the game the second half? This game reminded me of how we used to wear down Duncan by the fourth quarter.

In the end, this game was about Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson outsmarting and outplaying the Rockets and pulling off a big win on the road without Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Hopefully, Lamar will have used this time off to get his head screwed on straight again. Josh did a fine job tonight but his inability to finish strong reminded me of Ronny.

Finally, welcome back to the Fair Weather Fans who just jumped back on the bandwagon. Maybe you can at last breath a sigh of relief and start to enjoy this wonderful season like the rest of us. Or maybe not. LOL! Anyway, JMNSHBO. And please, DNFTT!

Bring on the Spurs! The Beast will be back April 3rd! Let’s win our next 35 games!

Tom

Good morning Mamba24 & the Laker morning CRUE!!

GREAT win last night! Plus - it's GAME DAY BABY!

I hope Kobe & Pau aren't too tired - those old geezers need their rest. LOL!

Mamba killed - Pau was solid - Josh was great - Luke really helped out the bench - RonRon was the idiot we all know him to be....

It's all about MOJO - we had it last night. Let's just hope our mojo really likes Texas and sticks around tonight! Sheesh - they need to play together like they did in the 2nd half. THAT's the team we know them to be. And that's the team we're going to need for the fiinal push.

LET"S GO LAKERS!!! KILL THE SPORES!

Hey Charles,

I like the "Kobe reverse Psychologized Ron-ron for he is now known as the Artest Whisperer."

That made me laugh out loud this morning.

GO LAKERS!!!

AK,

>>> Kobe did a fair amount of "it" by his lonesome, racking 30 of his 37 points
>>> after halftime, eighteen in second half.

Huh? That looked like one of my posts late at night, Andy.

Tom

Mamba,

Bravo for another bravura roll call, Larry.
Let’s pound us some Spurs tonight.

Tom

Laker Tom,

I was referencing what came previously, with continual mention of "it."

They did it by playing fantastic D, holding Houston to just 45 additional points, highlighted by an bone dry seventeen-point third frame. They did it by becoming the tougher squad on the boards, turning the glass eating tables and racking a 36-33 advantage in the box score. They did it by taking considerably better care of the ball (a mere trio of gaffes in all)."

AK

mamba24,

You're going to run out of bandwagons one of these day. hahaha.

I don't know what you see, but I'll tell you what I see...
...somebody's full of it!

Never...EVER...lose faith in your team. THAT is what seperates the true
fans from the posers! All you doubters, fear-mongerers and naysayers,
we will remember you as we stand at Olympic & Fig awaiting the arrival of
the O'Brien Trophy! Posted by: utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER | March 12, 2009 at 09:11 AM

OUT FREAKING STANDING!!!! NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!! BRAVO!! BRAVO!!

Edwin,
The point I was making is that pfunk used Luke's discussion with Jackson as a hammer to bash Luke with (no shock there) but, of course, did not do the same to Ariza when Ariza had a similar discussion with Jackson.

Laker Tom,

Good catch. Thanks.

AK

Lakertom,

"Finally, welcome back to the Fair Weather Fans who just jumped back on the bandwagon"

I think you're right to always put "not so humble anymore" to all your posts. I missed the Lakertom I used to know, who is amiable, modest and accommodating to all Laker fans..

Edwin,
The point I was making is that pfunk used Luke's discussion with Jackson as a hammer to bash Luke with (no shock there) but, of course, did not do the same to Ariza when Ariza had a similar discussion with Jackson.

Posted by: exhelodrvr | March 12, 2009 at 10:28 AM

============================
TA and PJ had a pact that TA would only play with 2nd unit. PJ broke that pact but by all accounts TA also accepted this decision so what is the point?

Also as far as some stating other bloggers are fair weather fans and jumping off bandwagons, I'll have you all know I requested many times to be added to many bandwagons but never was. So I quit asking so don't call me fairweather because I am not listed on bandwagons.

Go Lakers

does anyone knw what the score is for the game????

does anyone knw what the score is for the game????


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