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"Denver will put you to sleep. Quickly."

And not, it should be noted, in an Ambien + Tempurpedic mattress sort of way.  Nope, screw around with Denver, take them lightly or fail to match their energy, and the Nuggets will provide both the concrete shoes and transportation to a nice deep spot along the East River.  That was the subtext of what Kobe Bryant told the media, quoted in the header, after Monday's practice/film session in El Segundo when asked if the Lakers could afford the same lapses in concentration and effort against the Nuggets as they showed in their series with Houston.

In a word, no.  

The Lakers seemed to understand they dodged a bullet against the Rockets, putting themselves in a must-win position they never should have been in.  All they can do now, though, is learn and enter the series with a healthy respect for the opposition.  In that regard, Kobe has it covered.  He saw this series coming a long way off.  "Honestly, when we played them in Denver, the second-to-last time we played them, I told 'Melo "I'll see you in the Western Conference Finals."  I just felt like they had all the pieces there.  They had the depth, they had the toughness, they had the camaraderie.  It's no surprise to me that they're here."

Listening to the clip, Kobe's appreciation for the growth of Carmelo Anthony is obvious. "He was like a brother to me.  Truly, I love him.  We spent a lot of time together this summer.  He and I, he's the one that I was closest with on the team.  I'm really happy for him.  He works really hard.  I think that's one thing that I love about him, that he continues to play all the time.  He's not just going to settle and accept the fact that you double teaming him or deny him the ball.  If a shot goes up, he's going to crash the offensive glass. He's going to continue to work. In the summer, we saw that at both ends of the floor, and now with the Nuggets you're starting to see that too, which makes him even more dangerous."

And he's surrounded by a powerful roster, whether with Chauncey Billups at the point or guys like Nene in the front court.  If the Lakers didn't learn anything against the Rockets, that'll be their loss:

The Lakers finished with a film session, so by the time we were let in the gym, there wasn't much going on.  No "mood" to measure or energy to dissect.  At this time of year, it can be hard to get a feel for this kind of thing anyway.  Players give the time mandated to the media, but are more concerned (understandably) with getting out of Dodge.  Plus, there are so many cameras and writers around that it's nearly impossible to get a quiet moment with a player in a practice setting. 

The only real quantifiable way to judge a team's preparation and attitude in the playoffs comes when they take the court.  I expect the Lakers will be ready, and play at a higher level than they did in the last round. 

They'd better, because this Game 1 is monumentally important not simply because it's never a good idea to fall behind in a seven game series, but also because one of LA's big advantages is their domination over the Nuggets at Staples. For that to disappear quickly would be a huge boost to Denver, and since they're more talented than Houston, much more damaging than the opening game loss to the Rockets. 

One final note: After practice, the last two guys in the gym were Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic.  The Machine stayed a long time, shooting what seemed like an endless string of perimeter jumpers, both catching and shooting from beyond the arc, and also off the dribble.  This wasn't some casual shooting session, either. Vujacic was pushing himself physically.  I got tired watching him. We're not afraid to poke a little fun at the kid (and neither are his teammates), but there's no questioning his work ethic, one big reason his struggles are probably tolerated to a larger degree than, say... Brian Cook's were. 

UPDATE (11:25 pm): Although apparently it seems both have some growing up to do as evidenced by this report from the LAT's Mike Bresnahan.  BK 

More video:

Phil Jackson, on series preparations:

PJ, on how he tries to focus the energy of his team, and why.  An interesting clip, I think:

Derek Fisher, on Billups and crew:


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Here's to Sasha breaking out of his slump and becoming close to being a game closer again.....

I remember last year, he was part of my favorite closing rotation.


Good shooting, and mismatches in speed for Kobe, Lamar, and Pau.

I hope he gets back to that level.

Denver does not have a shot blocker except for the Birdman, who comes off the bench, so Lakers should continue going inside especially when facing Nene and K-mart.

Nene is very strong and has had success on Drew in the past in pushing Bynum out of position. So Drew needs to use his footwork and length on Nene. Again, Lakers need better entry passes and to time Drew's cuts to the basket. Drew won't be able to simply back into Nene, he will have to slide around him but if he gets close to the basket, Nene can't block Bynum's length.

Length is again the answer when Pau faces K-Mart. Pau has been very successful vs. K-Mart in the past. K-Mart will try to intimidate but the refs will be watching.

Ariza might have a problem with the stronger Melo. Luke has actually been the best Melo defender from the Lakers in the past. Luke had the best playoff series in his career vs. the Nuggets last year so he will probably get more PT than usual. He just has to make his shots so the Nuggets are not defending 5 on 4.

Kobe will have a higher scoring series vs. Denver than in Houston. Denver does not have the Battier-Artest combo. Denver might decide to let Kobe get his points and focus on defending the rest of the Lakers. K-Mart will also be put on Kobe at times, w/Melo switching on Pau. Melo is a better defender than before but Pau s/d still score on him. Which means that a Denver SG will be left for Ariza. Trevor will have to learn how to take advantage of this mismatch and shoot over the smaller player.

Fisher will be able to do better defending versus Billups than on Brooks. Shannon Brown will share defensive duties on Billups, and Kobe might also guard Chauncey on key possesions.

Though Lakers and Denver both have good defenses, the series will be a high scoring offensive match. Control Melo and Billups points plus scoring from JR Smith off the bench and you control Denver. Sasha will have to play good defense versus Smith, and Kobe will be on Smith at times too, plus maybe Ariza as well. On the Laker's offense, LA will have to take advantage of Denver's lack of shot blocking and their problem of not having a potential "Kobe stopper."

Melo obviously benefitted tremendously from spending lots of time with Kobe over the summer. If he adopts Kobe's competitiveness and work ethic, he'll soon join the discussion with Kobe, LBJ and D-Wade for the top player in the league.

I expect Melo to see a lot of time at PF against us. It should be a good practice for the Finals, as I expect LBJ to play PF a lot against us too.

Denver Deja Vu?

The Nuggets last made it to the conference Finals in 1985. That
season, they traded a big time scorer (Kiki Vandeweghe) for
a tough point guard (Fat Lever) and some role players.

This year they traded a big time scorer (Iverson) for a tough point
guard (Billups).

In 1985, they lost in the Western Conference finals to the Lakers.

History will repeat.

Ariza might have a problem with the stronger Melo. Luke has actually been the best Melo defender from the Lakers in the past. Luke had the best playoff series in his career vs. the Nuggets last year so he will probably get more PT than usual. He just has to make his shots so the Nuggets are not defending 5 on 4.

Posted by: LakerinBC | May 18, 2009 at 04:57 PM

I agree, I think bigger defenders give Melo problems. VladRad was absolutely brillilant at guarding Melo. I'm sure Luke will play him well too, as he did a decent job against Ron Artest.

AK or BK,

Have you heard about this WWE debacle the Nuggets owner created with the Pepsi Center on the same day that Laker-Nugget Game 4 is supposed to be played??

He pre-booked the Pepsi Center back in Aug 2008 for a WWE match on the same day that he thought the Nuggets would be eliminated by long before!!

My question is:
Have you heard about what they are going to do about it??-

This is also a rapid fire series with the first four games
scheduled for every other day. Since we just finished a grueling 7 game series with Houston, the Lakers could benefit with an extra day of rest. Have you guys heard anything??


I can try to guard Melo!

#4 - here, here. True that!

EJK - Melo still needs to grow up a couple more years. I think AI did more damage to his work ethic than Chauncey did on improving it dramatically.

Game 1 is Lakers!!!

I can't believe that we're going to have Lakers/Denver TOMORROW!

Wow. No time to rest or think.

We're going to need to be at our absolute best when we play these guys, and that kind of challenge alone should make the Lakers world beaters.

And no defensive stalwarts like Artest of Battier? Kobe's licking his chops right now.

Can't wait.


kobe, play smart and play with your team. even jerry west now says lebron is better than kobe in large part because lebron is a great team player:


Outstanding job on this thread. I was surprised by the comments and the respect that Kobe expressed for Carmelo Antony, and his praise for Melo’s work ethic. I have to admit that I have always considered Antony to be a player who got by on physical talent alone and didn’t work hard in games or at his craft in general. Regardless, Carmelo is still a wild card like Ron Artest that likely is going to implode at some point under stress.

I also loved your insider stuff about Jordan and Sasha staying late to practice shooting. What else would you expect from a Kobe Bryant led team except dedication to hard work?
That is what is ludicrous about some of the media comments saying the Lakers don’t work hard. There is no player in the NBA that works harder than Kobe and under his leadership I bet there is no team in the league whose players put in more time on their game.

There are times when workaholics can really wear on their work or team mates but as competitive as the game is and as talented as all the players are today, rare competitors who are willing to play hard all the time and are dedicated to working hard at their craft has become essential to surviving the long season and winning an NBA championship. Kobe does not get the credit for the leadership that he provides to the young players on this team. Say what you will about their talent, smarts, or potential – but I don’t think anybody, we fans included, can complain about how hard these guys work at their jobs.

Anyway, I love how much Kobe cares about winning and how dedicated he is to bringing back championships to the Lakers. So let the Nuggets be the sports media’s new darlings and let LeBron be the new MVP and poster child for the NBA. Let the Cavs’ Mike Brown have his regular season COY award and the Nuggets’ Mark Warkentien his regular season EOY award. Let the Nuggets and Cavs fans crap all over the blog. When the dust settles, it will be the Lakers who will be the champs, Phil Jackson who’ll be the best coach, Mitch Kupchak the best GM, and the LA Times Lakers Blog the only one standing.


I don't blame Barkley, Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith because they didn't pick Lakers, they have the right to say it, and Lakers gave them a reason to say that.

I hope that Lakers will show up with the right attitude, don't believe in the past, this is playoffs, if you don't play hard you will loose. Billups and JR Smith, if they're on the floor at the same times and have hot hands, they will give Lakers trouble. If Lakers win game 1 and 2, we're in good shape, but if Lakers win 1 game in LA, i think we have another 7 game series, but Lakers will win this series.

Billups is 32 years olds, the pressure on Denver is vey high, he has only 1,2 years left to take Denver to NBA Finals.

Stronger Melo? Ariza adjusted to Artest and played him glove tight the past 3 games. Melo is not as strong but he does create different problems. I think it is Melo who is the question. Can he get off against Ariza?

Kobe will not see the level of defense on him that he saw against houston. In fact as a team, Denver is inferior defensively to houston even without yao. Houston plays perfect tough defense and Denver doesnt know how to do that.

Yeah they are rough but are they tough? Yeah Denver has more talent offensively but can they bring it every second with max effort like houston? How will they respond if they cant stay with the Lakers? Will they revert to the old shoot first ask questions to why we lost later? Denver's Xfactor Birdman vs our Xfactor Bynum.

As for our Lakers, A first game 7 for this squad is in the books and I think will provide valuable experience if we are to win it all. The good thing about going 7 games is at least it gives the team more playing time and battle tests them through pressure situations. I know I keep going back to 2000 but we were pushed to the limit by the kings in round 1. And pushed past the limit versus portland. Last year the celtics were pushed to the limit versus the hawks and cavs. The results were teams that executed better under pressure and they became resilient and confident they could win any game no matter how much they trailed by. We will see what these Lakers learned from last series.

Who would you rather see if we do make it? Orlando or Cleveland? It might be Orlando. They beat the Cavs twice and one time was by an outrageous margin of victory, I cant remember exactly. The 3rd game won by the cavs was by 4 points and they had to come from behind. Lebron wont see an joke defenses like he saw against Detroit or Atlanta. I dont think the Cavs can make it past
Orlando. If Orlando does make it, I think they have more weapons against us then the Cavs.

I mathematically compute karmic bias (to others karmic bias is the rough equivalent to "destiny") of the playoff teams. The most negative among the last four are Lakers and Cavaliers. The most positive are Magic and Nuggets.

What make Lakers and Cavs very negative? ---- Players in their rosters whose karmic biases are never to win a team title.


Lakers must punish the Nuggets inside with Pau and Andrew. They should be able to get both Nene and KMart into foul trouble. Sounds like a broken record, but feed your bigs inside and good things happen. When Kobe doesn't have to carry the scoring load, the Lakers win big.

Nuggets don't have anyone of the same caliber defensively as Battier and Artest which should make it easier for Kobe to facilitate and take good shots. Anyone guarding JR Smith when he comes into the game should body up on him, run him off the three point line, contest all his jumpers and run him into our bigs in the paint. Smith is the one guy that the Lakers don't want to have space to get off his shot.

I don't think enough people are giving Ariza enough credit for his defense against the bigger, stronger Artest whose shooting percentage went way down in the final 4 games of the series. I believe that Ariza will harrass and play great defense on Melo as well. He may not stop Melo, but he must make Melo work hard to get his shots off. Lakers must use Chris Andersen's aggressiveness against him by going strong to the basket or faking him into the air and drawing a foul. We must play smart.

Here are my choices for the matchu-ups

Melo - LO then Kobe

JR - Ariza/Walton The objective of K-Mart

Billups - Fish/Jordan/Shannon

With regards to to the thugs, got to being in Mbenga and Powell ti oritect Bynum and Gasol from fouls. Let DJ and Josh do the dirty job. The objective of K-Mart is to eliminate one of the three in terms of fouls i.e Kobe, Gasol and Bynum. He's the 3rd con man that Lakers will face in this playoffs from Boozer to Artest this time k-mart.

Know why the Lakers will beat the Nuggets?

Because the Nuggets are good.

take it as you wish.

The Lakers better work hard for their rings this year, this is their last chance before Portland dominates the west in 2010, 2011, 2012....

Hey Joey

I'll take 1/2oz, please.

GO LAKERS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I think that it's great how Kobe and the Lakers are complimentary and respectful of Melo and the Nuggets. Unless I've missed something though, I don't read the same things from Melo and the Nuggets. In fact, Melo said the exact same things that he said last year in the playoffs when he said that nobody thinks that they can beat the Lakers, blah, blah, blah. I remember KMart having the same brash attitude as well. I think the this series will get real physical with technicals, flagrant fouls, ejections and possible suspensions.

I've never liked Melo ever since he arrogantly stated that he wanted to "thank himself" for winning the national title and then uttered the same words after he was drafted by the Nuggets. He just came off as very arrogant and cocky to me and there's nothing so far as I can see that changes my mind about him. In what way has he matured? So was he immature when playing with Iverson and now he's matured because he's playing with Billups? I think that Melo is very much like Paul Pierce who boasted at the beginning of this season that he was the best player in the world only after winning a title that KG and Ray Allen helped bring him and the Celtics. Although some players know it, I've never heard MJ, Magic, Bird, Kobe or LeBron thank themselves or say publicly that they're the best player on the planet. Pierce also refused to give the Magic any credit last night for winning the series and simply said that the Celtics ran out of gas. No question that Melo is a talented player, but until he gives others credit or wins a title, a talented player is all he'll ever be.

oh and random fact

I read today that melo and kobe were really great friends over the Olympics. A random friendship, but one that is strong. I also found it nice how kobe was commenting on melo today. Later on, I also read an article about melo and he was saying that Kobe is his guy, just not this week,. haha

Kobe even said that he expected to face this team in the conference finals, so you guys know that the respect level is there.

The lakers do truly respect the nuggets and because of that, I believe they will be playing their best ball.

There are many erudite writers here, just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate reading your comments. They are intelligent and thought provoking. I am learning alot about the game, thank you. I appreciate Kobe's recent comments about execution. I hope they kill the nuggets.

Karmic biasis? Umm, what?

When the Lakers or Cavs win the title I hope you will throw your "Karmic bias" theory in the trash where it belongs.

Ok, had to get that off my chest.

Lakers should be Denver but only if they bring focus to each game. Denver is a tough team, and since they apparently have Karma on their side, the Lakers are going to have to actually play quality ball every game.

I think they can do it.

X-factors, Bynum and the bench play of Farmar, Brown, and Vujacic.

Kobe staying committed to team ball to get guys going early in the game. Then, if late game heroics are needed 24 should let fly.

Phil needs to tighten his rotation a little more and keep a shorter leash on his timeout calls. No more "letting the team" or universe or whatever figure it out.

Gasol is going to have to play every game like he did game 7. A monster on the boards and a tough guard for the Nuggets bigs. Using his passing skills with Bynum in the post are going to be keys to getting Denver in foul trouble and making Karl struggle to find the right matchups.

Fisher should do better against Billups than he did against Brooks, but team D is still more important. I also think Brown might get more minutes on Chauncy than Farmer.

Although I am truly disappointed not to have Karmic bias on our side, I'll take our quality basketball players any day of the week.

Go Lakers!


You could probably capsulate the Lakers season and their championship aspirations in a
mathematical formula or equation that says the chances of the Lakers winning are directly proportional to the quality of their opponent. In other words, the Lakers play better against better opponents. And since we’re now down to just 4 teams left in the playoffs, this theory says that the Lakers will likely be playing their best basketball for the rest of the playoffs. As Phil said, that was this teams pattern during the regular season and he expects it be the same in the playoffs. We haven’t yet failed to come up big against the best.

While it sounds shallow at first, the reality is that the Lakers history this entire season is solid evidence of the theory’s validity. Every time the Lakers were challenged during the regular season – against the Celtics, against the Cavaliers – even on the road without Drew, the team responded. Against the Jazz and the undermanned Rockets, the Lakers had some struggles but when push came to shove, the Lakers had both opponents right where they wanted them. Their dominating performances in do-or-die Games 5 and 7 showed what this team can do when they respect their opponent. It is what it is.

So now we get to the underlying theme being pushed by everybody that the Lakers better respect the Nuggets or they will get what’s coming to them, the dastards. And for sure, the Lakers know to a man that the Nuggets are a better team than the height-challenged Rockets or downward-spiraling Jazz. But respect does in no way mean that the Lakers fear the Nuggets or that they even expect the series to last 7 games. Inside, I bet you the Lakers feel that they can take these guys in 4 or 5 games. There won’t be any letdowns due to the opponent’s star player being injured. There won’t be any lollygagging because the Lakers will, as always, be ready to play when confronted with a real opponent.

Bottom line, it’s matchups. Denver has no Kobe-stopper, Pau-stopper, or Drew-stopper, which adds up to no Lakers-stopper. Yes, they’re better than the Jazz or the Rockets but a motivated Laker team than suddenly smells the barn and sees the stretch run coming up is going start taking their game to the next level. Kobe will mesmerize, Pau will frustrate Martin to insanity, and Drew will dominate Nene into insignificance. Behind the façade,
the Lakers are smiling. They know they own the Nuggets, like the Globetrotters own the Generals and the Neo owns the Matrix. And unfortunately, so do the Nuggets.

Lakers in 4 or 5. Kobe and the Beasts will rule. The problem with the media is not overestimating the Nuggets but underestimating the Lakers. 8 more bumps on the road.
That’s my take on the rest of the playoffs. Just look at the math. LOL!

Better against better. Best against the Best.



There's no comparison between Melo and Artest, at least on the offensive end. Melo is bigger, has a better shot, better footwork, more explosive, and the ability to get to the line. Guarding Artest is nowhere near as difficult as guarding Melo one-on-one.

I expect Phil to employ the same defensive strategy we used last year against Melo in the playoffs - have a 2nd defender shading over and waiting behind Luke/Trevor.

Stockton showtime...Classic

Kobe (or PJ) respecting the Nuggets (or any other team) is not the problem. Its his */*-#$%+ teammates who, without earning it, think they can just show up and win.

Which coach scouts the Nuggets, is it Rambis?

I doubt that there was much advance thought about Houston consistently going small ball on us. I'm sure there's certain contingencies for injuries but remember, Deke disn't go out until the first round and Yao of course, went out during the second round. It's doubtful that there was a school of thought that had Landry, Brooks and Hayes as the difference makers.

With Denver, there's a huge awareness of what their game is, how they use their emotion, how Billiups orchestrates. It should be a tough series but I doubt we'll see the same extreme peaks and valleys that we had with the Rockets. Unless Melo, Martin and Nene go down. Then we could be in trouble, haha.

When Joe Montana came to the KC Chiefs with the expectations of bring the big prize home, it never happened. His teammates expected him to do it all. To be great Montana. Create, innovate, scramble, etc. They forgot the part that they too had to work. Protect the pocket, get open, catch the football, punch holes, carry the football. They stood and watch Joe get sacked, intercepted and be human. AND then realize, hey, even Joe needs a team.

Kobe needs his team.

{Lakers Secret Agent Jon K. Typing DEEP Behind Enemy Territory In The Dark Sullen Wastes Of Northeast Ohio... Zombified LeBroniacs Scurry All Around. I Hear A Clawing At The Window And A Low Gutteral Growl... "BRAIN! I NEED A BRAIN!" I Continue Forth!}

{Operation: Unleash The Bio-Chrono Weapon}

[TARGET: Carmelo Anthony]

Here's how Carmelo Anthony is orientated....

Physical: Carmelo is emotionally orientated. This means the tension between joy/pleasure and pain controls his physical success.

Emotional: Carmelo is creatively orientated. This means the tension between bonding/friendship and separation controls his emotional stability.

Mental: Carmelo is mentally orientated. This means the tension between respect and disrespect controls his mental focus.

Creative: Carmelo is physically orientated. This means the tension between manifestation of goals and creative void.

So... here's how I'd play Carmelo...

Physical: The guy needs to have fun to play the game and this type doesn't like pain at all. A little pain is stimulating, but consistent pain shuts them down. It's really a big issue for them. So, play him physically. Elbow him. Make sure every play hurts... at least a little. He'll back down.

Also, take the fun out of the game for him. Make everything he does difficult. The guy is buoyed by the joy of effortlessness. Don't let that happen. Make him work HARD for everything. He will lose interest. Trust me on this one.

Emotional: This type is not so easy to screw with if you are the opposition. However, this type is CRAZY passive-aggressive. They don't even know it. They have trouble recognizing it. But that's how they are.

So, one of the best/most effective ways to be with a passive-aggressive person is to be passive-aggressive back to that person. Drives them nuts.

(For those of you who are not terribly knowledgeable with passive-aggressive action, the architypal passive-aggressive act is an older brother hitting a younger brother and stating, "I'm not hitting you! I'm not hitting you!" It's an aggressive action that is denied, like stealing your roommates's parking space on purpose and when he shows up saying, "Sorry, man, there wasn't any other parking spaces open. Crap like that.)

So, be passive-aggressive with Carmelo. He'll see through his own games, but won't have an answer and will freak out.

Mental: {What is it with this type? Fricken respect-orientated people are scorers CONSISTENTLY! I think it has something to do with an urge that says after a dunk "YOU WILL RESPECT ME!!!!" Craziness.}

Anyhow, don't show him respect. Actually, be purposefully disrespectul to him and shut him down (that second point is obvious, but humor me on this.) If you shut him down while disrespecting him, he'll freak out.

The thing about people that is utterly fascinating to me is that we all have an urge to sabotoge ourselves. Truly. It's a challenge we all live with. In combat, you want to provoke that urge in your opponent, because it's war.

So do that.

Because that urge will undermine your opponent far more than you could ever do.

Creative: With Carmelo, the thing is don't let him get a rhythm.

I know that sounds kind of simplistic, but it's the truth.

Don't let him get a rhythm.

Don't let him accomplish his goals AS HE WOULD WANT TO ACCOMPLISH THEM.

Of course, this is common sense. Everyone is like this, but with Carmelo it is a lot more like this than other people who are not his type.

Find the little goals he wants to accomplish and undermine them.

Little things like the way he dribbles. The way he drives to the basket. The angle of his pass.

Don't even worry if he scores or not. That's not important.

Shutting down his ability to control his own FLOW of game is. If he has to struggle through every action... eventually he will stop trying. It's just his way.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!!!

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



Well said, I've preached that all year...Kobe and Lebron's influence on their teammates cannot be measured in the same way. Lebron is younger and freer than Kobe ever was or will be...Lebron was handed the NBA before he even arrived...Kobe has had to prove himself overtime, Jerry West saw the gem many others did not see.

Also, few have failed to realize/acknowledge Lebron's major improvement this has come as a result of being around Kobe this summer.

I can relate to Kobe's personality, he is a taskmaster and rarely believes in playing, sometimes its a fault but most times it pushes players to be the best they can be. Look at Ariza/Shannon, they both have gained Kobe's respect but it majorly from the influence he has had on them behind the scenes. Kobe does not get alot of credit for what he does and I'm sure it bothers him to some degree...he is who he is...he will never have that free nature personality so can't we just accept that and move on? I can!!!

Phil and Kobe are both showing much more respect for the opposition than in years past. Maturity? Yes. But...

do we sense a loss of edge? No, unless of course the unthinkable happens and we should lose this round. Then that and a hundred other reasons will surface from the depths of Laker despair.

Respectful, older and mellow, no pun intended, aren't synonymous with playoff intensity, but I prefer the less derisive interview style... as long as the interviews are post Laker victories.


i prefer Melo and others thanking themselves and not God.

for some maybe it sounded cocky and arrogant. but there is always a different perspective regarding that statement. and maybe he just wanted to make a strong statement regarding HIS BELIEFS.

"I don't think enough people are giving Ariza enough credit for his defense against the bigger, stronger Artest whose shooting percentage went way down in the final 4 games of the series."

I have to disagree Nem. In Games 1-3 Artest scored 20+ points against Ariza's defense and kept posting him up quite consistently. Once Yao went down Brooks attacked more while Artest took more the facilitator role and took many more ill advised shots and not being in the post as much (since that would close of lanes for Brooks' penetration).

Carmelo is much different and tougher than Artest plus he can't be singled out as the go to guy all the time because of Chauncey's presence. Melo will probably post up Ariza all series long and he is bigger and stronger than Ariza and maybe even more than Artest not to mention Melo isn't a bad shooter.

Ariza will have his hands full without a doubt against one of the best SF in the league.

Hi Laker blog regulars. I read this on the daily and love the reports from AK and BK. As a Lakers fan working in the media in Denver, I had to stand my ground on the air today. Here's a copy of the letter I wrote. Check it out:

Go Lakers. Don't take these guys lightly.

Look out for LO, doesn't have Artest or the one of the best team defenses to contend with on the offensive end anymore.

Interesting artlicle by Hollinger on the Kobe / Lebron debate on ESPN. I think it's the first one that I actually agree with him on. Laker fans and Kobe fans will soon realize (if they already haven't) that as much as we love Kobe, Lebron is a much more dominant player than Kobe ever was and ever will be purely based on his God given physical gifts.....HOWEVER...Kobe's body of work is undeniable and over the period of 10 + years Kobe has been the model of elite consistency and durability that is rare in any great player. The only way Kobe will get the upper hand in the debate is if he finishes the twilight of his career with 2 - 3 more rings and Lebron does not surpass the number of his championships.

Sorry for the typos in my previous post, I could not see the tiny fonts on the laptop of my son & the browser moves like Brooks. lol!

Kobe is very respectful this time to the Nuggets & feels more comfortable that there's no more Battier shadowing him. He expects Kenyon Martin to do the honors similar to last year's playoffs.. bump him, hold him, shove him till he lost his temper however K-mart is slow to track Kobe, in the 2nd Q the job will be taken over by JR Smith. With regards to Melo, there is a degree of respect from the fellow olympian tho' Kobe can guard Melo in his sleep. I don't know if you play with the guy every day for the last three months, don't you think you have memorized his moves. haha! He knows Melo's from A - Z, it is the people around Melo that can inflict the damage like Billups, Smith and Kleiza these are the perimeter shooters. Melo will be used as a decoy. our next focus will be the battle in the boards. This is the Laker's longest night on who will control the rebounds Hilario/Martin/Andersen or Bynum/Gasol/Odom. If Gasol was maltreated in the Rocket series, in this series he is the target. Drew's knees might also be compromised because it will be a dirty game. They will bait Drew into fouls, the kid could be ineffective if he does not manage his fouls in the early quarters. Based on the games played by the Thuggets against Hornets and Mavericks, these three guys were the enforcers in intimidating all post plays. I think the lakers got a good training from Artest and Scola, the Argentinian assassin. In this series, meet the Brazilian anaconda who is much bulkier than Artest and Scola. It will Mamba vs. Anaconda.

That's an awesome letter, KB. True Laker fans know just what you're sayin'. Have fun with it, bro.

Hi Laker blog regulars. I read this on the daily and love the reports from AK and BK. As a Lakers fan working in the media in Denver, I had to stand my ground on the air today. Here's a copy of the letter I wrote. Check it out:

Go Lakers. Don't take these guys lightly.

Posted by: kb | May 18, 2009 at 08:47 PM

Stay strong my man. I know how you feel. I was out in Phoenix at ASU when Charles Barkley and KJ had their one or 2 good years out there and we were barely making the playoffs.

Loved every minute of being in hostile territory to be honest.

Good stuff on that letter of yours. Stay strong and stay true to your roots!!

Kobe vs. Lebron - this is just a hype by media people and Nike is extremely happy. Their names sell like those characters published on the Enquirer. At this series, it doesn't mean anything. Therefore, for the next two weeks, forget Lebron mano-mano match-up. Lakers should focus on Billups, Smith and Melo. It is possible Kobe will not see Lebron in the Finals. Don't take the Magic lightly.

Look out for LO, doesn't have Artest or the one of the best team defenses to contend with on the offensive end anymore.

Posted by: Critical Beatdown | May 18, 2009 at 09:03 PM

I would be wary of thinking this way. I had the priveledge of attending a basketball camp out at UNLV when they were hot. Who was running it? None other than the Nuggets current defense coach, Tim Grgurich. He UNLV's defensive coach when they were dominant. Their defense has his personality. UNLV's amoeba, which was revolutionary in that day and age, was his creation.

The guy is no joke. He is a guru of defense. He's the type of guy who probably thinks the Triangle is BS, and will devise a way to break it down.

This is one aspect of the Nuggets that I would not underestimate.....

Only If lakers play at full strength they'll win.
if they come like they did against Houston, we won't go to Cleveland.

It's all about Denver now, BUT, Kobe and Lebron need to finish this one out. 6 or 7 games of that would be Magic / Birdlike.

For all his greatness, Mike never had a foil. By the time Chicago got on a championship roll, Magic and Larry were fadin', Shaq and Penny were babies and Clyde the glide never quite made it to elite.

This is different. These are two card carryin' titans of the game. It would be a shame for the game if it didn't come to pass. And so it was written...

Yeah, it's about the teams and all that, but the end games would be epic. We just want a ring, yes, the world wants Kobe / Lebron 1.

Shannon's gonna get alot more minutes this series. I love when he is on the floor, he brings great energy. Brown is quickly becoming my second favorite player after KB24. This is gonna be a great series. Denver is a good good team, lets focus on what we have to do to succeed. Play to our strengths and attack the boards hard on both sides. Play some tenacious D guys pleeease. We have the advantage from the start, lets hold on to it. Good crisp passes and smart ball for 48 minutes.


Sloan, Adelman and now Karl again. PJ has dominated these coaches and their teams and is undefeated in head to head matchups with them. I don't expect that to change in this series.

I'm happy that Tim Legler picked the Nuggets to win in 6 because he's usually wrong and loves to backpedal when he is. Legler is one of those analysts who choses a team that's not expected to win because if they win he looks good, but if they don't, he'll say something like the Lakers were the best team in the West and finally played like it. I think it's good that a lot of the media has jumped on the Nuggets bandwagon, but we'll see what happens when the Lakers knock the wheels off that wagon.

KB Blitz,

Thanks for your response to my post, but I respectfully disagree with you on Ariza's defense on Artest. Ill advised shots or not, Ariza deserves credit for forcing Artest into bad shots. Ariza constantly hounded him on the perimeter and was horrible from the field in the final four games. You mentioned how in the early games of the series Artest posted Ariza more and scored, but you failed to mention that in those games Artest was also hot from outside, including from beyond the arc. You can't just say that Artest stopped posting up in the last 4 games of the series and that's why his FG percentage was awful. You have to give some credit to Ariza and to a lesser degree Walton for the way they defended him. The other change that the Lakers made in the last 4 games against Artest was that they sent Pau/Andrew or LO over to help Ariza whenever Artest posted up. I'm not saying that Ariza will contain Melo, but I think that Ariza is a good enough defender and offensive player to make things tough for Melo on both ends of the floor. In my opinion, I think the Lakers should double Melo and get the ball out of his hands and dare Nene, Martin, Jones and even Billups to beat us. Of their starting 5, only Melo, Billups and to some degree Nene scares me, but Jones and Martin are sporadic offensively and prone to foul trouble. For us if Fish and Andrew contribute like we know they can, the Nuggets are in big, big trouble because I expect Kobe and Pau to score and Ariza to be steady. I think it will come down to which frontline dominates and which bench contributes the most in this series.

Have a good one KB Blitz. Go Lakers!!!!


Thanks for the post. Different strokes for different folks. I respect what you said in regards to what you posted about Melo thanking himself, but for me it came off as outlandish, self-gratifying and arrogant. That's just my opinion. Everyone interprets things differently which is fine by me. While I have no problem with people thanking God or others, I can also understand where you're coming from because for some, thanking God is more cliche than sincere.

Anyways, it's great to be Lakers fans. Go Lakers!!!!

i'm glad the pundits are choosing Denver to advance. should be a nice little motivational tool for Chief Triangle to use on the kids.

Lakers in 5.


>>> Also, few have failed to realize/acknowledge Lebron's major improvement this
>>> come as a result of being around Kobe this summer.

Thanks for the kind comments. Your point about Kobe’s influence on LeBron is something I had not considered before. An excellent take. Carmello, too, apparently. Maybe the Lakers should prevent Kobe from doing the next Olympics. No need to help the next generation of Laker competitors. Better to just send the Lakers to the Olympics.

I think by now Kobe has gotten over the sting that the NBA has handed LeBron his superstardom on a silver platter while Kobe had to struggle in the shadow of Shaq and his own fall from grace in Colorado. Kobe will fight to the death for victory but his vision is more forward than back, which is why he has been able to put the problems, mistakes, losses, and feuds of the past behind him. That’s why he could welcome Phil back as a coach or forgive Shaq his tasteless transgressions. It says worlds about Kobe’s true character as far as I am concerned. And it explains why all he really cares about now is winning championships. And maybe preventing LeBron from winning them. LOL!


"Reserve guards Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar even had words on the bench in Game 7 after Vujacic contended that Farmar didn't pass him the ball, leading Jackson to send a public warning signal after Monday's practice."

Just shows how Vujacic is a whiny ***** who cares about getting his own only and shows how Farmar's teammates hate him.

this series will sharpen the lakers to face either magic or cavs in the finals.

in this series, lakers will show their true identity and tie loose ends on their game.

the past two rounds, practice rounds only...





Laker bloggers have noticed this Sasha-Farmar chemistry problem for a long time just by how they interact on court. This is probably one reason why the bench has been disappointing.
It seems that PJ relies on the players to sort out their problems with each other. Witness how he was "hands-off" the Shaq-Bryant problems.
Maybe, PJ should be more hands-on about this one since neither is a superstar but we do need a better bench.

I can guard Vujacic.

Lakers trying out Joe Ingles from OZ ..The guy played in Melbourne for the last 3 seasons and played really well...He is from a suburb just around the corner from me.....

The major problem is his weight ..194 pounds and 6,8...
About the same size as Sun Yue..But plays SF...

The other player is Jeremy Pargo from Gonzaga ...6,2...
I have not seen him play...A lot of teams have him trying out.

what‘s with number 2 chicken nuggets and the overrated melo? should i worry? nah,am confident kobe and the lakers will eat them alive! the depleted rockets will even beat them if ever rather than the wnba mavericks...melo was just sitting last olympics when the game was on the line againts spain,meaning he is not a superstar....lakers at 5,but i really want to write sweep!


Did you guys (Lakers) learn anything from last series? I hope you did because this is not Houston Rockets and this (Denver) can finish with you quickly.

My fellow Kobe... since you know that Denver is a real good team, I want you to remember and to remind your teammates that...

"Honestly, when we played them in Denver, the second-to-last time we played them, I told 'Melo "I'll see you in the Western Conference Finals." I just felt like they had all the pieces there.

You got that right but you forgot to mention... "I just felt they had all the pieces there and all the equipments to destroy us if we decide to play you like we played the Rockets"

Obviously, if you lose one game here and there, don't even think you can catch up with those guys as easily as you did with the Rockets. Last time you understimate an opponent was when you pratically were swept by the leader "BIllups" when he was still playing for the Pistons.

Get that in mind and you'll be fine otherwise you'll be wondering at home what happened?


dan the man,

"Pepsi Center officials told the ABC television affiliate in Denver that the Nuggets game will be played as scheduled and that they are working with the WWE to reschedule or move its event."

Sixth paragraph here:

support denver BEAT LA

Good morning,

Have the Lakers finally turned the corner? Are they really ready to be crowned the Champions they say they are? We're about to find out.

This could be the toughest Game #1 of a series the Lakers have faced in a long time. They've had only one day to prepare. Their opponent has had more time to prepare and more time to rest up. Tonight's Game #1 against Denver will require the Lakers not only to play with energy and physicality. It will require enormous mental concentration for all 48 minutes.

The Thuggets come to Staples ready to rumble. Because the Lakers have had so little time to prepare, Denver has the advantage of throwing in some plays that will be total curve balls. Not that George Karl is any coaching rocket scientist. It's just that Karl can. He's had more time to analyze the Lakers' weaknesses because the Lakers needed seven games to close out the Rockets. There's a price to be paid for the Lakers "bi-polar" play in the semi-finals.

That Kobe has so much respect for Melo and saw this showdown coming is a positive. He won't allow his team mates to take the Thuggets for granted. The question marks are Gasol, Bynum, and Fisher. Will Pau play physical? Can Bynum play sharp? Can Fish utilize his experience to counter Chauncey? Most of all, can the Lakers come together as one team? Denver has already proven it can.

I'm ready to allow that the series against Houston has made the Lakers a better team. They obviously weren't ready to face-off against the Thuggets otherwise. Is there enough gas left in the Lakers' tank for eight more wins this post-season? Hell, yes. But they need that NASCAR mentality of being willing to cross the finish line with barely a drop left. For eight more games they need to leave it all on the floor every time. That's a Laker mentality we haven't seen enough of this year. But maybe that's because they saw this coming. Go Lakers!

I agree with Dave M comments on preparation – the Lakers were preparing to play a big Houston team and ended up with a scrambling small unit they underestimated. Denver will not be underestimated, and will look like the team the Lakers prepared for. A real good team.

Leaders on the court are as important or even more important as the coaches in suits in leading a team. The big change for Denver is Chauncey vs. AI. As a floor leader he is more disciplined, more team oriented and more defensive oriented and he has helped change the character of this Denver team.

Expect to see the Lakers, especially Kobe, at the foul line more. Houston’s real skill was playing tough D without foul calls. Denver will be less good at it. The Lakers skilled offensive players – Kobe, Pau, Drew, Lamar – should be able to draw some fouls in this series.

This is what the playoffs are about – two good teams going at it. This anointing of the Lakers as the best team (and then ridiculing them when they lose) is pointless. There are good teams in these playoffs and that is the fun of the playoffs. Lakers in 5, Lakers in 7, Denver in 6? All meaningless predictions. Let’s get to the games, this should be good.

We need a roll call, a lucky stool, some bold predictions about the Beast. Let’s get revved up about the Western Conference Finals!!!!!! Go Lakers!!!!!!!!


Why did I say this? Well, their owner, Mr. Stanley Kroenke was not even sure that they would reach the Western Conference Finals? His company that owns the the team and the arena, Pepsi Center booked a wrestling event coinciding with Game 4. That what happens when you're not used to playing in late May, he is preparing already for the draft and filling up the arena with other activities in June. The World Wrestling Entertainment would not budge and its Chairman, Vince McMahon accused Mr. Kroenke as inept and in order to settle this issue, he challenged him to a duel in a cage wrestling. NBA turned into nuts! Well, the K 710 people this morning were speculating that it is possible the Denver McNuggets will not show up, instead they will put on the WWE in Nuggets uniform as a compromise to go against the Lakers. I hope PJ will send in DJ this time as a starter together with the whiny wrestler, Sasha Vujacic. LMAO!

KB - Welcome and thank's for going public with your Laker love! Woo hoo!

It's game day - 11 hours and counting. I would just like to see massive energy, effort and heart tonight from our Lakers squad!

Mamba24 - let it roll my friend, let it roll!!!

Let's go LAKERS!

Game Day!


Most important game of the season to date.

Defense wins championships.

N. Faletogo,

My problem in assigning Ariza to go against Melo is that they have the same height, so there is no distinct advantage on the lenght of the reach. IMO, I will go with Lamar at 6'10" with long extended arms like the spider man, he could impede the progress of a 6'8". I remember last year Melo had a hard time getting shots against a tall defender VladRad. In the case of Ariza, he should be assigned to guard another streak shooter who can also be explosive in this game, that is J.R. Smith. He needs an umbrella from a speedy guard. In fact on Melo, I was also thinking of bringing up Sasha, the leach. Remember in last year's playoffs, Melo lost his composurel and choked up Sasha. Haha! Undoubtedly in the 4th, it has to be Kobe for Melo, he knows his moves even when he goes to bathroom. LOL!

Throughout the season, the Lakers have been talking about the Championship. We are now in Round 3 Act 1, they can predict the future by playing like a Champion from the opening jump ball to last second of the game. They should create that opportunity now and make Troy a believer, he is our doubting Thomas'es in the blog. His post will be a good barometer on how the Lakers are doing. If he says sell Gasol on Ebay, then we have a problem. LMAO!

As for the nuggets fan who commented earlier in CAPS. Calm down. The playoffs are about proof and the nuggets are still proving themselves. they played great in their earlier series. Can you honestly say that Dallas and N.O. were complete teams in any measure? I hope not. N.O. had chris paul and that was it. Dallas was missing howard on both sides of the ball due to his ankle and they zero ... I mean zero down low presence. With that being said they were in every game in the 4th quarter and we all know if a foul is called the out come may have been different. So calm down little nuggets fan. Yes we Laker fan have a certain swagger but when you have the history the Lakers have... what do you expect

Rick F.,

"There's a price to be paid for the Lakers "bi-polar" play in the semi-finals."

~~Another way of putting it, a normal person would not be able the predict how the mood swings. It could be a disadvantage to Coach Karl, he doesn't know what to plan.

"A bipolar disease is described as an illness that causes extreme mood changes from manic episodes of very high energy to the extreme lows of depression. It is also called manic-depressive disorder." - WebMD
The Lakers were acting this way ever since they met RonRon Artest. You were right Rick F, in saying that three players: Gasol, Bynum and Fisher need to show up. They are the ones that may have contracted this disease, all in close contact with Artest. Well, Kobe did not get it because he has another kind of disorder too, it's delusion of grandeur with Spike Lee. haha!

Good Morning, Laker Nation!!!!!

Game day!

A warrior's day!

This game belongs to The Beasts!

A few thoughts....

1. The best part about playing a Game Seven? We only have to wait a couple days for the next round to start.

2. Denver is a very good team, but they still are psychologically vulnerable. Always have been. Always will be. I sure hope someone utilizes the Bio-Chrono weapon tonight.

3. If The Tall Trees are active tonight, we should do well. Smash & Grab is really a case of "pick your poison." You can stop one at any given time, but you can't stop both.

4. I sure hope Kobe Bryant maintains his Game Seven leadership today. Everything clicked on Game Seven. I hope we maintain that leadership.

5. What do real fans do? REAL FANS MAKE NOISE!!!!! We've won every game at home where Laker Nation has been active and vocal. Keep that in mind. The crowd matters and if you are attending the game tonight YOU MATTER. Sociological studies have shown that at soccer matches (we're talking games of 100,000+ people), the mood and energy of the crowd is controlled by roughly 100 people who influence people around them to be active, vocal, and (ideally) positive. So, if you have a ticket you can CHOOSE to be one of those 100 people that influence the crowd around them, get them out of their self-conscious selves, and encourage them to truly enjoy the game and MAKE NOISE!!! Be one of those people because those people make a difference. They truly help our team to play better and help the opposition to play worse.

6. I hate the Thuggets tattoos. They are so lame. That "thug-life" image is so last week. I hope Andrew Bynum never gets tattooed.

7. I expect a high energy game tonight because the Thuggets will certainly bring energy.

8. Game One is an essential psychological win. It will determine if this series goes 5-6 games or if it goes 7 games.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!!

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



LMAO. I think it’s the same old Chicken McNuggets tonight instead of tacos.


OK...why wasn't Luke one of the last out of the gym? Something more important. If he had any kind out outside shot it would really help out.

I just love Jerry West. Always have. Honest, faITHFUL, AND O SO COMPETITIVE!


McDonald will not give away their chicken McNuggets in lieu of Tacos, it is their premium item. Do you know in order to redeem those tacos, you have to find a corporate store of Jackinthebox? You spend gas @2.50 per gallon just to eat a Laker taco. I'm afraid of that Birdman of the Nuggets not because he can fly, his tattoos are contagious, they contained bird flu. LOL!


It's a sad freaking day when Jerry West picks Lebron over Kobe ... but it doesn't change our goal ... winning a championship

Lebron is ridiculously good ... but i still believe his talents will only serve to prove just how good mamba is ...

Still there's no arguing against a Jerry West, we can only hope time proves him wrong

24 + 16 + [1]7 = The Purple Tinted Golden Age

Expect the mystical powers of the lucky barstool (43-4) to be activated tonight.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!!!

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


Waiting for that roll call.

Jon K,

We are in awe of the power of your lucky bar stool. Lucky for us that you found it, too. Dr. Buss should reimburse you for all your beverage and travel costs. Go Lakers!

Anyone else think in the back of their mind that West is putting a carrot out in front of Kobe by saying Lebron is better. I know everyone is gonna say nay, but still, when your mentor is saying so-and-so is better, you can't help but bring up your level of play.

Enough of that, I"M HERE FOR ROLL CALL.

More drama for the Kobe LeBron showdown. First the Kobe / Lebron puppets, and now Jerry West chimes in on who is better and when.

And tonight....Denver.

The tension thickens.

If these 2008-2009 NBA playoffs were the movie The Shining, then we’d have already seen Jack drink his ghost whiskey and he'd already have been knocked out and locked in the storeroom by Wendy.

At tip off tonight, Jack's at the door with the axe.

Go Lakers!


Is it possible Jerry West released that to the media now, right before the Denver Series, as an extra motivator for Kobe to prove him wrong and allow the Lakers to win another title. If so, Great!

Y'all gotta read this piece on one of my favorite players Brian Grant. I know he was a shell of himself as a laker but I loved his hustle when he was in his prime and he's always been a class act off the court.

I hope he lives a happy life for many many many more years and is not defeated by this desease for which there's no cure.

24 + 16 + [1]7 = The Purple Tinted Golden Age


LOL. You know that KFC and Taco Bell are part of the same company so maybe they will run a special promotion and instead of tacos you can get KFC Nuggets. They’re actually better than McNuggets. On a separate note, as long as you don’t examine your Jack tacos too closely, they rock. My brother-in-law is Mexican and my dad is Chinese. There have been many times when we would buy 20 tacos for $10 and have a feast. Not as good as the street tacos across the border but C-H-E-A-P. Of course, we would also add our own extra cheese, which HIGH CHEESE would appreciate. Bring on the game!


Thanks dave!!



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