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Lakers lose Game 1: The morning after

Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter of Game 1 Normally, a really good breakfast burrito takes care of the stomach queasiness the likes of which many Lakers fans felt rolling out of bed this morning after the Rockets knocked off the Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals 100-92 Monday night at Staples.  The eggs, the bacon, the potatoes.  A little avocado, and salsa, balanced with just the right amount of grease.  It's like magic.

Food alone, though, may not be enough, such is the nature of this morning's "hangover."  In last night's breakdown, I wrote that big picture, I haven't lost any faith that the Lakers will eventually win this series, but this isn't a flashback to Game 3 in Utah last round.  The Rockets are a solid, disciplined defensive team, meaning the Lakers will have to perform at a higher level in Wednesday's Game 2 to even up the series.  In the meantime, I'd caution against two lines of thinking:

  • Don't blame rust.  No question, the Lakers didn't look sharp spending a week on the sidelines between games.  This was especially true through a first half in which the Lakers shot under 40% (33% in the first quarter) in part because they repeatedly missed clean, open jumpers, even as they settled for too many of them.  But to focus on that is too passive a response, and doesn't give the Rockets enough credit for what they did well to defend their own goal. The Rockets forced Kobe Bryant and his mates into a tough shooting night, and it wasn't by accident, as ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz points out. (Great link. Click it.)
  • The Lakers were, by their standards, pretty bad, but don't assume that the Rockets used every bullet in the chamber.  Phil Jackson said it, so did Kobe and Pau GasolSome form of "it would be hard to play worse."  To some extent, that's true.  I doubt, for example, that the Lakers will shoot 11% from beyond the arc on Wednesday, and the Lakers are too talented to turn in a repeat performance.  But Houston has some room to grow, too.  They weren't stellar from behind the arc (29%), Luis Scola wasn't a big factor offensively.  The Lakers outrebounded the Rockets, pulling down 12 from the offensive glass.  Again, to think that way is too passive, and counts on the other guys to do LA favors.  The Lakers can't simply assume they'll be better on Wednesday.  They have to identify where things went off the rails and get proactive (offensive discipline is a good place to start).  I'd like to think that's how they're looking at things this morning. 

Plenty more to read from around the Interweb below the jump. 

Johnny Ludden, Yahoo! Sports:

"...The Rockets had lost all four of their previous games with the Lakers this season, collapsing in the final quarter of the past three. After Monday, however, it was the Lakers who were answering questions about their toughness. Andrew Bynum played only six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Pau Gasol delivered an uninspired game that looked like it had come straight from last season’s NBA Finals..."

ESPN.com's Daily Dime....

JA Adande:

"...And Chuck Hayes? Well, you couldn't even find a box score by his locker. He said he doesn't even bother to read them anymore, because they don't reflect his contributions. "What he does, it does show up ... just in winning and losing," Morey said. The most deceptive part of the halftime box score was the zero points (on zero shots) down the row from Hayes' name. He beat Pau Gasol for an offensive rebound, which led to a Ron Artest 3-pointer that banked in. On another possession, after Artest dribbled around in circles and then launched a 3, Hayes grabbed the rebound and the Rockets wound up with a 3-pointer by Brent Barry. That's six points right there attributable to Hayes.

And what about points prevented? Hayes stands 6 inches shorter than Gasol and Andrew Bynum, yet neither could budge him an inch when they tried to back him down. Tree stumps are short, too, but have you ever tried to move one? Gasol gave up and ran a give-and-go with Trevor Ariza instead. Bynum threw up an awkward-looking hook shot that didn't have a chance of going in..."

Eric Neel:

"...There was a lot of talk about Houston's defense in anticipation of this series, and it was stout on Monday, hounding Bryant with doubles, switches and help from start to finish. But the key to this series may be what the Rockets can manage offensively, and how far they can stretch the Lakers' defense out of its comfort zone.

A maturing and aggressive Brooks, like last year's Rajon Rondo in Boston, getting more and more confident game by game and series by series, may be a crucial part of that effort as this series unfolds. We know Yao Ming and Ron Artest are the focus of the Houston offense, but with Yao Ming blocks Lamar Odom contributions from Brooks, the Lakers will not be able to concentrate in any one area or on any one player..."

Locals:  Kevin Ding, OC Register.  Bill Plaschke, LAT. 

Ramona Shelburne, Daily News, on Kobe's approach through Game 1:

"...Four years ago Kobe Bryant would not have passed the ball to Andrew Bynum.

Not with Shane Battier pump-faking in the air, not with the Lakers trailing in the third quarter of Game1 of the Western Conference semifinals, and certainly not when the rest of the country was spending its evening discussing how LeBron James had run away with the MVP voting earlier in the day. But this Bryant has learned a few things in his 13 seasons in the NBA.

Passing and putting the ball in his teammates' momentarily shaky hands might have helped contribute to the Lakers loss 100-92 to the Houston Rockets Monday night at Staples Center, but it is the only way for the Lakers to win this series.

Monday night, his teammates just missed...

...If there is one thing he has learned in his 13 seasons in the NBA, it is that there are some places even an MVP cannot go alone.

That there's a reason the league MVP hasn't won the NBA title since 2003.

"Usually the better teams throughout the course of the playoffs are capable of shutting down individual players," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Because that's what it takes to win a championship."

To even think about a championship after Monday's debacle, Bryant will need to keep passing, keep trusting, keep doing all the things that got the Lakers 65 wins this year but left him as a distant second in the MVP race."

The "other" guys...

The Dreamshake:

"...The first three quarters went as planned.  The Rockets played hard, had a lead, and Kobe had yet to really bring down the house.  It was the same song that had been sung in the four regular season match ups between Houston and L.A.  But in each of those contests, the Lakers had blown the Rockets out of the water in the fourth behind a thunderous wave of scoring from Bryant.  Nobody expected tonight to be any different. 

We all waited for it.  Our fate was certain.  Kobe was bound to erupt at any moment and take over.  He was going to dribble up the court and find Pau Gasol.  Then he was going to rise up behind the Spaniard and knock down a three like it was practice.  And then, as usual, he was going to jog back down the court with that casual slouch in his shoulders, like it was all a joke.  Rockets fans had seen it too often.  So we waited.  And waited.  But then something strange happened. 

Nothing went according to plan..."

Houston Chronicle's Rockets Page

BK




 
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I've said it before, and Charles Barkley says it virtually every time the Lakers play: this team does not play like it is on a mission.

Toughness isn't just committing a hard foul or opening up a cut on an opponent's face. Toughness is about having a passion to win and an anger in the face of anything less. This team has never had it, and it isn't going to get it this late in the year.

Every big lead is squandered because they don't have a passion for destroying their opponent, and every crappy start to a game is not viewed as an urgent matter in need of correction but rather something to take care of by just "turning it on when it counts".

This isn't about one game; this is about an entire season of losing to the Charlotte's of the world, not matching Portland's intensity and blowing virtually every big lead. Yeah, they'll probably win Wednesday, and maybe even by a big number, but that is likely to feed the "we can turn it on when we want it" mentality that ensures Cleveland as the next NBA champion....


My life flashed before my eyes.
The white light glared.
We were all there, our fates sealed by a ball bouncing Houston's way.

The words saved me.
The same words that will save the Lakers.

WAKE UP!!!!!

Lakers in 6.

==== THE SOFTIE JOURNAL ====
***Round 2, Game 1: Lakers v. Rockets***
As a slight-dedication to a certain blogger's appreciation for Kwame Brown's calves and disdain for Chris Mihm's weak ankles, I dedicate this journal to identifying the soft and tough aspects of the Lakers game.

======
Game 1 Soft Rating: 8.3 Old Soggy Lettuce
======

Last night's game was the kind of softness that could prevent this team from winning a championship. As a Laker fan, it's disgusting because you've seen it before. You'd rather lose a *different* way sometime ya know? We weren't outexecuted, outshot, just really out-toughed. I hate that...

Some notable points:
- The Kobe Man came out and played like a G. Much will be made about 14-31 (which aint that bad) but Kobe really dished to his teammates last nite. Countless shots bricked. I liked Kobe's game for the most part. People wanted him to drive, I did too, but the lane was packed. If our guys aint knocking down shots, then what can you do. Kobe brought us back in the game multiple times, but the poor D and poor shooting caught up with us.
Charmin Rating: 0 rolls out of 5

- For the Lakers to play to their potential, Pau Gasol has to be our 2nd best player every nite. Too many nites, Pau is getting DUNKED ON (Artest), bricking open jumpers , and just being nonexistent. By nonexistent, I mean he's not making his mark on the game. Pau Gasol should easily be dropping 25 on the Rockets. Yao is slow as molasses. and every other player they got is 6'8. If Pau Gasol, used his quickness to SEEK CONTACT (causing fouls) instead of AVOID CONTACT (causing missed layups) then he go impact the game every nite regardless of his shooting touch.
Charmin Rolls: 5 out of 5

- Bynum played well on offense. On D, phew... 2 or 3 Aaron Brooks layups.... ROTATE OFF OF YAO, and throw that ish into the stands. I'm actually not too mad at Drew. I see this game as progress.
Charmin Rolls: 2.5 out of 5

- Odom played sporadically. He boarded well. But the key was the MISSED FTs especially in clutch. 1-6? Come on man. That was literally the difference in the game late. The Rockets were scoring and Lamar was missing FTs and open jumpers. Cant have that. But I wont ignore his other contributions we just need MORE especially with Pau playing like JELLO. His softness was more mental than anything.
Charmin Rolls: 2.7 out of 5

- Fisher/Ariza: Fisher takes bad shots and then cant make open ones. I am really seeing washed up Robert Horry in him. Hopefully my eyes deceive me. Ariza. PHEW. TAKE a freakin open shot. Seriously. Just take it. At least 3 times this game he was hesitant TOTALLY SCREWING up the offensive rhythm.
Charmin Rolls: 2.0 Fisher (he just sucked not necessarily soft), 4.0 Ariza (mentally, if you not ready to step up and make big plays your mental softness hurts the team)

So the LAKERS as a whole have a lot of work to do.

I'm not really worried about losing the series, just that the play needs to pick up significantly. This series can be 5 games or 7 games.

We need to step up and make it the former.

Guys, I feel strangely calm about this. Yes, the Lakers did look pretty bad last night, but the effort, particularly on the the defensive side, was much better than I expected from these guys. The team was not taking their opponents for granted, something that has frustrated us fans so many times this season. The execution does have to improve - and I think the Lakers have the ability to deliver there. All said, a disappointing result but one that I believe will pay some dividends at last. Just hoping I'm right...

Credit where credit is due. Bravo Rockets.

Lakers - diligence where it is due. Be more proficient at shooting come Wednesday. Your one slipup is over. Time to play like champions.

Tue. May 5 – Lakers 0 Rockets1
The Force is in Unbalanced as is Laker Nation
Good Morning: Sir Charles(The Soul of Laker Nation)
Good Morning: Mom Kamenetzky(Mother of Laker Nation)
Good Morning: Morning Crew( The Heart & Soul of Laker Nation)
Good Morning SBPimp and the SBPimp Twins., The Outlaw & Baby Outlaw,
Good Morning utzworld THE BANNER HOLDER & soon to join us Mini BANNER HOLDER
Good Morning Laker Nation (Rulers of the NBA! The 4th Dynasty has Started!!!!!)
Welcome: TCB247
My Apologies to: Rizzo
Kudos to :The Double Trophy Award Winning KamBrothers(gods of the Blog World)
*
Seriously People, We Got This!! @ JustAnotherMambaFan
*
What do we play for, Rings!!! @ Jon K.
*
RELAX
Relax, Take a deep breath, Feel Better Now?
Did you think it would be easy against a mountain like Yao?
The Rockets played good, yes they did, you know it’s true
But they also awoke a sleeping giant , Yeah the Lakers have a Giant to.
Yes the Rockets have an awesome giant by the name of Yao Ming
But int the land of the Giants, Bynum The Beast is The King.
Two quick fouls, took The Beast out of his game
Don’t be a fool Rockets, and think this Beast you have tamed
By winning one game all you really managed to do
Is sharpen our focus, before we win at home in 5 in round two.
You got to take chances in this game, No if’s or but’s
You may even take a punch before giving a knockout Uppercut.
The Rockets are so new to second round play
That they shot their whole wad in the game yesterday.
To The Lakers the 2nd round is really old hat
Careful Rockets you’re being set up, look out, BOOM, SPLAT
The Rockets really think, they are better without TMAC
But they seem to have forgot, one salient fact.
The problem in this whole, equation you see
What happens when Yao, fouls out or falls prey to injury.
You won’t have TMAC to then put the blame on.
I’m sorry dear rockets, but you are as good as gone.
Hey Yao, you know why the Lakers aint blue?
When you go to China, who’s number 1 and number 2.
There can be but one, Isn’t that right great Chinese Giant
And in China, as in the world, Number 1 is Kobe Bryant.
Due to the fact the MVP he lost
He tried to hard and losing the game was the cost.
But if you think you can rely on this happening again
I’d have to say leave Otis alone, stop stealing his Gin.
So Houston take game 1, I hope you treasure it too.
Cause as God is my witness, after the next 4 games you are thru.
you beat us real good, knocked the rust off our butt
Now we’re coming for you with a right uppercut.
You said The Houston Rockets that’s who the hell we be
We’ll put it on your tombstone, before we go on to our Destiny
Now Houston Rockets, or sprockets, or what ever the name
I’m sorry but you are about to go up in flames.
But you did a good job as a “sparring partner” should do
Now scoot, Were’ the Freakin La Lakers, who the Hell are you

*
X, X, X, X, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ->Hit it Laker Tom Parade Time!!
*
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*
ALL TOGETHER NOW
We’re the Freaking LA Lakers , we’ve won 14 Rings
10 of the 50 Greatest players played under our wings
We’ve had 3 Laker Dynasties, but who’s keeping score
That’s 2 better than any team & we’re working on #4
The best Winning Percentage in History, yeah that’s true
You want Hall of Fame Coaches, Check it, we’ve got two.
We got the current and future MVP in Kobe Bryant
The list of Laker greats starts with the great George Mikan
We Claim Shaq, Magic, Wilt, Elgin & Kareem
Worthty, Goodrich & Big shot Horry, we take only the cream
We Claim a Glove, A Mailman, A Logo, and a Beast
We’re coached by a 9 time Title Winner who learned Zen in the East
Chick Hearn the Legend, Broadcasted our Lakers Games
Now he’s Broadcasting from Heaven & is in the Hall of Fame
We got Sports Winningest and Best Owner in Dr. Jerry Buss
And The only one that can beat the Freakin La Lakers is us
That’s just a summary of our Resume, we don’t talk we Do.
WE’RE THE FREAKING LA LAKERS WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!!
LAKERS TODAY LAKERS TOMORROW LAKERS FOREVER

That was a game the coaches should keep handy. It makes for a GREAT video session.

It highlites our tendancy to go for steals rather than just D up. That generally leads to guard penetration.

It shows us going away from what got us here. That would be inside-out style basketball.

Kobe played poorly, but it wasn't until the end that he took it to the hole, too little, too late. Blame illness if you want, but I think that Kobe wasn't feeling that he wasn't getting the benefit of the whistle, throw in his confidence that if he shoots it it'll go in and you have last nights performance. I'm not knocking his confidence, just saying that it gets in the way of wins every so often.

More Farmar, he hit his only shot, couldn't have played much worse than Fisher and it might have been a good idea to put him and Brown in the back court together. they have the speed to keep up with their lil fellahs.

More Vujacic, too. He might not be hitting his shot, but coaches still respect what he did last year. His man won't sag the way Ariza's man does. I'd let Trevor Ariza beat us from the 3 point line, too. With Sasha, well, I believe it's kinda like craps...eventually those numbers are going to start hitting and that's when the big money starts piling up.

I'm not saying 'don't play Ariza' but I thought that he had become slightly hesitant, an good example of 'jab,jab, pump, shoot' from last nights thread. Ariza left it all on the floor, but sometimes heart isn't enough. You need cold execution. I trust Sasha to shoot an open shot more than I trust Ariza to.

i agree, Luke coming back will be a good thing. First of all, I've been a fan since he made an impact during his rookie season, second, he bodies up well with either Landry, Artest, or Battier.

I thought walking under a guy while in the act of shooting was a foul...yep, it sure is, so why don't they call it when both Battier and Artest do it? It's bad enough they get away with the arm rake, but to walk under a jump shooter is going to get an ankle or two sprained and is a foul. Sometimes I really hate that there are officials at all. Without consistency, there's always a feeling of 'the fix is in'.

Overall, I'd have to say the only adjustment I'd make is starting LO, reduce Pau's minutes by about 5, and consider going small when Yao is in. I thought PJ's biggest mistake was not making the team take it at Yao, if you go to the rack, he will foul you because he does Kareem always did on drives to the hoop: Turn his hip to avoid full contact. That equals foul. If Bynum is going to be content with shooting 10 foot jumpers, then I don't see how he helps us offensively. He needs to go at Yao, if he gets a shot or two blocked, so be it, it doesn't make you a bad player, but if you get Yao in foul trouble, it's an easier game for the whole team.

Tip of the hat to Rickky A. and his tribe.

gee, only Ron Artest gives an actual accounting of why the Lakers Lost?

people, it was only poor shooting, shots that went in and came out. the Rockets ESCAPED with the win, they didn't BEAT the Lakers, not yet, anyway....

I'm with Dan in Chi Town...after last night's sleepless and angry night, I feel quite calm about this loss. Glad it's over and looking forward to Wednesday when we make it right at Staples. Winning in Houston? Not a problem.

Ring Rust. Wait till the next game.

I KEEP HEARING THE SAME STATEMENT...THIS LOSS REMINDS ME OF THE PHILLY LOSS.

Well it's not like the Philly Loss because we had Shaq then and he provided an inside post game to bail us out.

So this is definitely not the same.

I believe we can still win this but, it's not going to be easy as everyone is talking. Phil is going to have to swallow his pride this series.

If you didn't watch the Portland series (a team we couldn't handle this season), Houston shut down an athletic team similar to the Lakers by establishing their low post presence similar to what we use to have 5 years ago.

- We are going to need to double team Yao. He's too good for Bynum or Gasol to stop.

- Fisher and Farmer can't have big minutes. I don't care how fast Farmar is his problem has never been quickness. His problem is he doesn't play defense.

- Lakers are going to have to drive into the paint. I don't care how bad we shot last night. What worried me was we started out jump shooting even before Houston packed the paint. And Gasol seemed to shoot jump shots all game.

- Kobe is not the key. The series will be won if Gasol and Lamar come ready to play. If they're not playing, that goes bad for us because then Kobe shots will increase. Which is a recipe for destruction.

See ya Wednesday!

BK, A totally on-point sample of commentary. As a fan, I have no appetite for the standard coach and player soundbites likely to come after today's practice. Actions speak louder than words. I'm looking for my team to show its response on the floor Wednesday night. Go Lakers!

LeBrawn wins the MVP, koby shows why he wasn't even close to earning the award. How many shots did he take last night?

HOU reminded the NBA how to beat the lakers - manhandle them, for the lakers are still a finesse team that depends on alley oops to win. LA has glamour, HOU has grit. Compare Battier's bloodied face and lack of whining after the fact to vujacic's face whenever he gets a boo boo...not even close in terms of toughness.

Aaron Brooks was the most spectacular playa on the court last night. Who can the lakers use to stop him? He's like a hummingbird.

Artest annihilated the soft perimeter lakers with his intelligent play and rugged D. The lakers could use a playa with that kind of mentality.

LA can only blame their fans and the media (and themselves) for this loss. Blogs like this one, and all the ESPN reports, have been shouting that HOU doesn't stand a chance in this series, that the reg season record also translates to the postseason.

Congratulate yourselves, LA fans and writers - you've provided a hot team (who beat POR in Oregon in the last series, something the lakers aren't capable of doing) with a textbook recipe for motivation. It worked!

AK,BK
GOOD MORNING TO ALL, PLEASE SOMEONE TELL MITCH KUPCHAC THAT BYNUM IS HEALTHY AND THAT BRACE KILLING IS GAME ITS LIKE PLAYING ON A ROBOTIC LEG IT IS JUST RIDICULES. MAYBE HE CAN GET THE DOCTOR TO AGREE AND THE POOR KID CAN GO AND PLAY 25 MINUTS A GAME AND GIVE US 12,10,PLUS 2-3 BLOKS. ONE MORE THING, PLEASE SOME ONE SEND A NOTE TO PHILL AND TELL HIM THAT THIS IS THE PLAYOFFS AND HE NEEDS TO START COACHING AGAIN!
THANKS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY

Lakers are going to win.

Good Leo, Vman and Korey, the old reliables are still here sharing some insights on how to win games. Let Houston have a feast day on cinco de Mayo, one win in La La land in 2009, all the blog pests are celebrating and toasting including the leprechaun who would rather blog here than go with the Celtic Blog. Because in the Celtic, it is breathing through a monitor for extra life in they playoff ICU, KG's still watching & helpless on the bench and Powe was seen cashing his check. For every game, it will be a hard labor for Boston. As a result they take their comforts in this blog & throw their line, hook and sinker, hoping someone will take the bait, get mad, and continue sniping at every opportunity they can pick up from the analysis and cultivate the whine as their jibes. Well, got to recognize the old tricks of leprechauns, they tease, they tempt, they cajole STILL never advantageous to human interaction. Respect is still lacking from their posts.

Good Morning Charles....Good Morning Everyone....

AS ALWAYS, AS EVER, YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY (AND SEASON) TO BE LAKER FAN !!!

GO LAKERS !!!

If Lebron plays as if he is not scared of Kobe then the Cavs should take it becaus, on the surface, they are a more balanced team from top to bottom. Thats the just basic facts. But, LeBron must have have that JORDAN-fire to do it...thats something that KObe, though I have great disdain for him, has. Problem is the rest of his team doesn't have that. The lakers will take it but if they lose be ready to see the return of KB8 aka the Black Mamba lol

Don't worry EastCoastJessie. I can almost guarantee
The Lakers sweep the next 4 games. The Playoffs have now begun.

Let's be fair. You guys are all over the Lakers as not wanting to win. Helllo? do any of you remember January, when they lost their center until two weeks ago?

come on, THINK.

sure, they do blow big leads. That's not uncommon for a team that is used to winning. The Celtics got beaten by the Clippers,...In their own front yard!

no worries..Lakers win in 6.

Nobody said it was easy. Right you are, Pau, but show up next time, okay? I want the real Lakers to show up. I want the offensive powerhouse to show up. What kind of shooting was that???! Make your damn FTs! AND MOVE THE BALL! There, I've gotten that out of my system. I still think it will be Lakers in 5.

Go Lakers!

Reasons why this hard-core Laker Fan has concerns.

PJ-what have they always said about Philips teams, that they always play better at the end of the year.
Question-is that true this year?

Killer instict, toughness, mentally tough players, passion,
heart of a champion.....I don't see it. Do you?

PG.. D. Fish. This position that was not upgraded by Dr. Buss, Kupchak and Philip keeps me saying the say thing.
The NBA is loaded with an abundance of great guards who are also very quick and with Fish unable to stop penetration our defense will always have holes in it.
This GLARING WEAKNESS needs to be resolved next year and really should have been taken care of this year. Shame on MGT and Coach for not getting it done.

Andrew Bynum-from injury to fouls to PJ not playing him this is really troubling. I have been a fan who has stated all year that Bynum is the Key to the Championship and the way things are going for him right now I guess you could say this is quite alarming.

Since the Lakers only play D when they want to or think they have to lets talk about the great TRIANGLE.
I thought the Triangle offense was for ball movement?
I JUST DON'T SEE IT!!
And then the 4th quarter arrives and you know that offense gets pushed aside to run KOBE BALL one on one which leads to forced shots and players just standing around. I HATE IT!

This year is on Kobe and Phil. If they both lose 3 straight times in the finals or don't even make it to the finals this year then changes are needed DR. BUSS!

BD

Anyone else get the feeling that it was regular season intensity out there? I did.

if this is a long series, then good. Maybe we won't be caught offguard in the next.

Lakers in 5.
PS: is it just me or does it seem rediculous (sp?) that it takes 2 and a half weeks for the Lakers to play only 6
games?

Sorry People

When you start saying Luke will be the difference.....

Yes Manong Edwin, the day is only half bad. Let's not forget that the Celtics lost. The world is half right.

Don't you just love how ALL the media outlets have completely changed their oppinions? I wouldn't like it if I was a Rockets fan, and as a Laker fan, its just truly annoying. Speaking of Lakers fans...

Weak. That's all I have to say. One loss and the sky is falling. The Rockets stole a game at home? What does that mean? One game lost. Nothing more. And the fans at Staples Center were perhaps even more maddening than the Lakers play last night. Pathetic, yeah we all so you leaving early. Make some noise. Those people that come to the game just to be seen, pathetic.Way too quiet.

Can't wait for game 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. One way to silence the critics? Winning.

Let's go Lakers!!!!

LG

The Lakers were rusty and never got into a good rythm. I still think that they will beat Houston in 5, but they had better get serious. Wednesday is a must win. Brown seemed a little tentative, like he did not want to make a mistake, but was not going to risk a turnover or take an ill advised shot. As far as the +/- goes, Farmar was the only Laker with a positive burn, +4 in 3 minutes. He was 1 for 1 and Brooks did not score while Farmar was guarding him. Brown was a -3 with a turn over and a steal in 12.5 minutes. I think in this series at least, Farmar deserves some more playing time. Plus he is hungry. Comments?

Try playing Bynum more than 15 minutes and we will not have any more problems. Wake up Phil

BK
No time for apologies.
This game is a but a reflection of the team mental softness and complacency.
The Lakers don't have an enforcer to take care of the tough business when it comes down to gutting out, plus the way the Lakers prefer to employ guards, tall but slow-footed, is an old time problem where quicker guards shred the so-called Laker defensive philosophy.
Kobe by himself will only take the team so far, and will never win a ring without additional ballers, no I am not saying we need to bring in Shaq, what they need is to have players with mental toughness, and the Lakers can't seem to find any. Kobe tells us that "me and Fish been here before (losing the first game of the series)," maybe but back then Fish could at least guard someone and make the winning shot, now he can't even shoot his way out of Staples. Thanks for the memories Fish, but you are toast.
I am not disappointed for the loss, because it is another rerun of what we have seen since the last championship, a lot of flash but no cash, no guts no ring.
Have we ever heard the 9-ring "guru" take personal responsibility for this lack of mental toughness? Just wondering what do they actually do during practice?
We'll see tonight what a championship team does to set the tone, watching how the Cavs shred the Atl, what rust?

BK
No time for apologies.
This game is a but a reflection of the team mental softness and complacency.
The Lakers don't have an enforcer to take care of the tough business when it comes down to gutting out, plus the way the Lakers prefer to employ guards, tall but slow-footed, is an old time problem where quicker guards shred the so-called Laker defensive philosophy.
Kobe by himself will only take the team so far, and will never win a ring without additional ballers, no I am not saying we need to bring in Shaq, what they need is to have players with mental toughness, and the Lakers can't seem to find any. Kobe tells us that "me and Fish been here before (losing the first game of the series)," maybe but back then Fish could at least guard someone and make the winning shot, now he can't even shoot his way out of Staples. Thanks for the memories Fish, but you are toast.
I am not disappointed for the loss, because it is another rerun of what we have seen since the last championship, a lot of flash but no cash, no guts no ring.
Have we ever heard the 9-ring "guru" take personal responsibility for this lack of mental toughness? Just wondering what do they actually do during practice?
We'll see tonight what a championship team does to set the tone, watching how the Cavs shred the Atl, what rust?

go rockerts good job last night

Thanks for some pick-me-up, M-24.

I'm with Jamie Sweet, give Sasha some more PT, he gets under players' skins... go at Yao, get him in foul trouble.

As for the game itself, it was painful. I'm gonna leave it at that.

WOW

WHO LET THE TROLLS OUT?

We took the Rockets best punch. It was a standing 8 count, But its only round 1 in a 7 round fight.

I agree with Playing Farmar more minutes, his speed is key in stoping a young speedy Brooks, I mean slowing down a young speedy Brooks.

We fought an uphill battle most of the game,[Due to poor shooting]. Not much of a hill, but a hill nonetheless. It takes alot of energy to fight uphill, energy we lacked due to the layoff.

Lets get focused and play Laker Ball. Run the Offense, attack the boards, and stay out of foul trouble.

WE GOT THIS!!!

GO LAKERS!!!

Good Morning Floyd, as always and forever
brother you made my day

PLEASE SOME ONE SEND A NOTE TO PHILL AND TELL HIM THAT THIS IS THE PLAYOFFS AND HE NEEDS TO START COACHING AGAIN!THANKS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY Posted by: Ron | May 05, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Calm down now Ron. You asked for it you got it. I guarantee the next game will be a blowout!!!!!!

Does anyone think Yao and the Rockets may have watched the tapes of that game in Boston last year when Pierce was carted out on a wheelchair with a priest learning over him to give him the last rites as the Lakers were mounting a comeback (or even leading) at the time...and then - surprise, surprise - Pierce came back to confuse the bejesus out of the Lakers and steal the game back?

When Yao went out last knee in the 4th quarter with a presumably fatal knee injury the Lakers were starting to show their talent for domination in a very close game. Then, lo and behold, the ressurection of the slain warrior left them helpless. When Yao drilled an 18 footer, the Lakers were dead in the water.

Could this now be a standard riff to be used against the Lakers at the start of a playoff series?

Hey, what's up Gunner? You want to join in on the Dynasty #4 fun or is it more doom and gloom.

I'm telling you guys:

Ring Rust, Need Meaner Demeanor, 16 The Hard Way.

tsphere,

Yeah, I had momentary Paul Pierce flashbacks, but honestly, I don't think Yao is stupid like that.

Butler,

Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap!!!!!! Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap,yap,yap,yap,yap,yap!!!!!

Have fun at the small dog park.

Chill-out! Kobe obviously was sick last night - and he couldnt attack the basket. The offense depends on him to do what he does...and thats attack the basket to score, or get foul, or to make an assist to his teammates. Thats how he and the team gets going. it'll be alright once he gets his wind and legs back.

And to Leo: the lakers had a close to historical win/loss record this season without its starting center - the season was not as uninspired has you (and Chuck say). Save the drama...

ChicNstu |you Rock! Keep it up buddy!

All I can think of is this:

It ain't gonna happen twice. It just won't. Has there been, at any time, a poor performance and then a repeat poor performance? Not the norm. Not indicative of this team. This team is not characterized by failure.

All of the sudden all we're hearing about is the Rockets. I like the Rockets. If I didn't bleed purple and gold, I might like them better than any other team. They match up against us. They have Yao. It's not going to be easy. But we can and will beat them. This has been established already. It's a done deal. I can't predict who for sure will win the series although my money is on the PnG, but you will not see a crappy second game by the Lakers.

We're going to be fine. We will fight through this momentary crap game and come back strong. We always do.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

rockets in 4.

My teacher CONFUCIUS tells me that very very important that very important again to understand very very clear that " ALL LAKER FANS FIND SOMETHING MORE STABLE IN LIFE THAN CHEER FOR THE LAKERS" he go on to say that "HOUSE BUILT ON QUICK SAND GO DOWN EASY" agree ?

Posted by: Tiwan laker fan | May 05, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Confucious also Say " He who post before he THINK, writes a post that STINKITY STINK"!!

Earl, you sound like Del Harris, and you exemplify the mindset of this Laker team. A championship team, and a championship mindset is not one that hangs it hat on regular season win totals.

Stripping away all of your homerism for just one moment, can you really say that the Lakers are playing good basketball right now? They have the most talented roster in the league, by far, so amassing regular season victories ought to be a given. I grant you that after Bynum went down this year the team stepped up. But that team hasn't shown its face in well over a month.

It isn't just that they win, it is how they win. This is relevant because the deeper you go in the playoffs the harder it is to coast and rely on talent. Back in October I wasn't looking at this season as an opportunity to win 65 games; I looked at it as an opportunity to win a title, and in that regard I don't see ANY improvement over last year's team, and in fact I think you could say that last year's team was playing MUCH better than this year's team at this stage of the season.

Sorry, "rust" isn't the cause of bad defense. Houston averaged 89 against the Lakers in the regular season and dropped 102 last night. That isn't rust; that's poor effort--something that should NEVER happen in the first game of a playoff series (at home, no less).

I dunno...im just not to upset about this loss. We need to tighten up on D and attack more..we need to play like we really want it....

My name is Me......

and im a Me!

there's always next year. :-( whaaa whaaa

or

there's always game 2. ;-)

it seems individually, there are hard working guys on this team, but collectively???? Could Phil be the blame for the team's lack of focus? Hate to blame the coach, especially a Hall of Famer.


One troubling trend. Shooting. They just haven't been going in like they were before March.

LO was an exception last series but the percentages from Fish, Pau and even Kobe at times, dropped. The percentages will swing back in time, hopefully.

The Lakers live and die on offense. They defend in stretches but need to hit their average. Last night that would have been enough.


The playoffs start when you lose on your home floor, we have so lets get some payback and stop reading those press clippings! We can do it but we actually have to go out and win those games, nothing from now on will be easy, teams that believe they can win usually give us fits, this Houston team believes and that will be a real problem. The killer instinct is not a myth, its something we dont have right now and all the teams in the League know it. Early in the season we had it, looks like we saved the worse for last.

TJ Simers is an idiot. How this man can continue to be employed by the LAT is beyond me.

http://tinyurl.com/c6d7gp

The LAT sports section continues to get worse and worse. Terrible. Disgraceful.

LG

One thing's for sure - last night, China went WILD!

It would be great for the NBA if the Rockets win this series. Yao is the face of the future for basketball and his time may have finally come.

Did anyone mention yet that winners of Game 1 go on to win the series 80% of the time?

I LOVE IT!!! ALL YOU LAKERS FANS ARE LIVING A FANTASY!!! so none of you are worried? just like your team. 79% of the winners of game1 win the series...and also the best defensive teams ALWAYS go far in playoffs. your not gonna shoot the lights out everynite but your D can always pull you thru in close ones.

id be VERY scared laker fans. we got home court now and we are outstanding at home. something about us texas boys your learn real quick is...

WE DONT RUN, WE ARE NOT SCARED, AND WE LAY DOWN FOR NOBODY!

you punch us in the mouth and we're hit you back. weve known all along we can hang with yall...this aint SHOWTIME...not even close

ROCKETS IN 6!!!!!

Leo,

I disagree. The layoff was long enough for the body to go into a recovery mode. The fatigue factor towards the end of the season wore the starters out. If the body is fatigued it has to recover. Had we continued to play steadily, the body continues to function, rather than recover.

I'm not a Dr. I Just know it from personnel experience.

GO LAKERS!!

Kobe hasn't consistently attacked the basket all season; probably a combination of fatigue and having lost half-a-step. So he depends on his jump shot, which makes him easier to defend. Against most teams, he can still turn it on when needed, but that doesn't work nearly as well against a strong defensive team like the Rockets; we saw a similar scenario in the Finals last year.

That means that the rest of the roster needs to do their share. They didn't last June, they didn't last night; hopefully that will change in the near future.

Good morning ....I had to record the game due to work...
A few things really stood out..

1...2 of 18 from 3....Rockets have good perimeter defenders...Some shots were open but they do contest well..

2...Yao Ming must be kept from the free throw line..10/10...

3...I know im dreaming but we need Patrick Mills...Do your magic mitch..
4..I love Andrew Bynum but despite what some people think he has some attitude problems to work out..He needs a mentor on the bench during games to work with him,not just off the court..
5...This Laker team needs to want to hurt teams really bad..Sit down and watch what Denver did to the Hornets..I know the Rockets are good and deserve respect but as a team you need to be able to put your foot on the throat and finish the job....

My 2 cents...

It's one loss boys and girls and if memory serves me right, one game ain't a series. The Sprockets 'long in the tooth, has been and never will be' Brent Berry sure was gleeful in his praises of Shane Battier's defensive prowess after the Game One when in one of SI's articles he said "(Battier) did a fantastic job on Kobe, he was always there...he was on him the whole night, finding out what flavor gum he was chewing." The last time someone crowed like this about a teammate being a Kobe stopper was in the lone loss in Utah and we all know what happened after that. Last night was one of those 'rust' games nothing more, nothing less.
We'll do what we do best, step on the gas, say ADIOS and move onto the Conference Finals!!!

Better sooner than later. They have the time to learn for their mistakes. They know what happened last year. This loss will be a wake up call (better be).

You Ever Notice, Luke will make a difference, for better or worse, he will.

GO LAKERS!!!

Houston played one of their better games of the year and won by 8 points.

The Lakers played "another one" of their worst games of the year and lost by 8.

This team is not in bad shape. And this lost is not as bad as some people are making it out to be. I have watched the game twice already and I do not see Houston doing this perceived great defensive job on the Lakers. The open jump shots are there. No one was hitting them.

The Lakers had more blocks, more rebounds, more points in the paint, less turn overs, more fast break points, and more assists.

Overall the game was well played, the team just didn't knock down their shots or free throws.

We'll just have to call this a 5 game sweep.

Rust isn't an excuse... it's a fact, and one that can easily be explained. When it's our team we always wonder about the hypocrisy of claiming the effect of rust. But if it's a regularly observable phenomenon with all teams and all sports, it's even more so in basketball. It isn't a question of physical deterioration, a lack of coordination or mental lapses. It's about rhythm. Basketball is as much about rhythm as music is. Watch the shooters. A good shooter only makes shots when he's in rhythm. A good team only clicks when it feels, sees and spontaneously adjusts to the collective rhythm, and that's the first thing that goes after a long wait. The difference with music is that there's no role-playing rhyithm section to establish the groove, since everyone is playing all instruments, though in different proporations.

The Lakers were totally out of rhythm last night. That can happen even withou a layout, but it's more likely when there is one. Look at Lamar's and Kobe's free throws. You can always detect the problem in the free throws.

The Lakers lost by eight in what was a close game all along the way. A slight change of rhythm and they would have won by eight. A slight rhythmic failure on Houston's side and Artest never would have banked in that three. He got it because he and his team weren't bothered by that loss of rhythm.

Finally, what do effective defenders do? They try to knock the opponent's rhythm out of whack. That's what makes Artest and Bowen great and Houston did manage to throw the Lakers off rhythm. But they were never in rhythm to begin with, which made it a lot easier.

Posted by: Tiwan laker fan | May 05, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Strike anyone as racist?

We need to stop hoping and waiting for Andrew Bynum to show up in any meaningful way. We got to finals last year without him at all and we also be Cleveland and Boston this year without him.

He needs to be relegated to 8th man status and just give Pau and Lamar some rest in the second and third quarters. Bynum needs to come in and have a "Birdman" type effect on the game. Otherwise, he hurts the flow of the offense.

"it seems individually, there are hard working guys on this team, but collectively???? Could Phil be the blame for the team's lack of focus? Hate to blame the coach, especially a Hall of Famer.

Posted by: jq | May 05, 2009 at 12:51 PM "

This is always a bad theory because the players are the ones on the court, in uniform, with the ball in their hands.

They are ultimately responsible for making successful plays on offense and defense.


Are we to believe that Phil just coached the Lakers to 65-17 regular season record, beat what is normally 50 win team in the 1st round in the playoffs , and decided that a plan to have his team play like crap in game 1 of the 2nd round was in order?

What happened to the laker faithful last night? Streaming out the arena with time left and only down by 6?

Phil Jackson need to put Jordan Farmer to start game 2. Although I like Derek Fisher he needs to come off the bench and let farmer start becasue he is younger and quicker then he is. Phil please put Farmer in the starting line up he brings more energy into the lineup. And Lakers need to up their defense, because that's what wins championships( going to the free throw line, less turnover and making good stops). I"m expecting the Lakers to win game 2 and look alot sharper than they did in game 1.

Championship teams rarely go "fo-fo-fo." Playoff series are tough challenges.

I remember Kareem and Magic losing to Celts in the Memorial Day Massacre 148-114 - then winning a title.

I remember Shaq and Kobe almost losing round 1 to Portland before a stunning 4th quarter comeback - then winning their first title.

I remember in '88 going 7 games with both Utah and Dallas just to get to the finals - then winning a championship.

I remember needing Horry's miracle to get past Sacramento - then winning a title.

I remember losing game one of the finals to AI and the Sixers at home - then winning a title.

The playoffs are damn tough. Last year's champs lost a few on the way, as I recall.

The Lakers have always had big guards who had trouble with Isaiah Thomas, or AI, or some other quick runt.

The Lakers were "soft" vs Boston and Detroit and such throughout Kareem and Magic's five title run.

If the Lakers lose tomorrow night they are in big trouble.

But if Laker fans expect them to win every game, and to look good every night, and not to get outplayed some times by quality playoff teams, well, they are going to be disappointed.

The sky is not falling, but I am disappointed by our team's lack of effort.

Last night we looked like an entirely different team than the team that played Lakers basketball in Game Five against Utah.

The Rockets played well.

We played poorly.

But what I am most disappointed by was the lack of mental focus, the lack of killer instinct, and the lack of energy.

I'm not overly concerned about losing this series, but I'm a bit concerned that the Lakers aren't either.

They should be.

Anyone remember the 2000 Championship? We played like a team on a mission that year. There was a dark fire in the Lakers eyes. 2001 and 2002 we played like we were the best team in the league (we were) and we were going to punish other teams for having the audacity to think they could compete with us. And we did.

This year we're playing like we're the best team in the league (we are) AND WE KNOW IT, but we're not playing like we need to punish the opposition for thinking they can oppose us. We're playing like we think teams are going to roll over because, gosh darnit, we're the best team in the league!

Teams are not going to roll over.

To win, you have to beat them psychologically as well as physically.

No More Mister Nice Guy.

Time to play mean. Not dirty. Mean.

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

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

GO LAKERS!

#4-

Caught and deleted, along with another comment he tried to leave, and the person who posted it should know that if he does that again and we catch him, we'll block his posts on site going forward.

BK

Kobe's first half last night was unusual. Usually whne Kobe shoots poorly it is because he takes poor shots. I am usually screaming at my TV about his shot selection.

Last night Kobe got pretty good looks, and was flat and short. He had no legs.

That was not Houston's defense. If Kobe can get those shots every night against Houston I like the Lakers' chances.

Laker fans & media we need to stop reinforcing the Laker team's belief they have the best talent, objectively not true. Yesterday's poor showing was due to rust? No, it was pre-season intensity (compare Cleaveland Team, Celtics: Rondo, Davis, Perkins, Pierce, Ray Allen's intensity from the first tip), lack of focus on defense for 48 minutes, poor ball movement on offense, not cutiing to the basket from the start to create fouls, not forcing a Laker tempo, waiting for the ball instead of following its trajectory and moving to it... only to have it snatched by an opposing player in poor position. Except for Kobe all our guards need to collectively have at least 75% of Rondo's intensity/drive on every possession to win the championship! Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Ariza, Farmar, Brown, & Powel need to play with more intensity and attack the basket w/o charging! Lakers need an energizer like Turiaf...Powel does not show half his intensity! Wake up Lakers if you want the Championship...Cleveland, Celtics or Magic already play with twice your intensity now! They value every possession during 48 minutes of the game!!!!!! Go Lakers!

Thanks BK. Not that I'm sensitive about racial topics, but it looked a tad sketchy when I read it.

#4-

No, I thought the same thing. His first comment shouldn't have gone through.

BK

New thread, chock ful of vids.

AK

i think bynum is selling his game .try to bench him and mbenga

#4

Yeah. I thought it was a ignorant too. That's why i responded to his comment.

The NBA is rigged! Stern will ensure that the Cavs and Lakers meet in the finals. Besides it's all about the money...right

LOL to you guys thinking the Rox played well last night. Lakers obviously are going to play better and may very well win the series but Houston did not play "well" last night. Waayy more TO's than normal, poor contributions from Wafer and Landry and mediocre night from Scola.

I expect LA to play much better. I also expect the good guys from Houston to play better as well. We've got ourselves a series, kids.

(I'm a Blazer fan who wishes it were Portland vs. LA right now!)

I feared the Houston/Portland series because Portland could not match up well against the Rockets - but the Blazers obviously had a pretty good chance against the Lakers with their success against them during the regular season.

But with the Rockets running on all cylinders, it'll take a top-notch effort from the Lakers to get 4 out of the next 6 against the Rockets. Portland almost broke through in game 3 and 4 - if they had I'm sure the Rockets would be done for the season as it was a good match up. Blazers got bit in game one which was the series. Will it be the same with the Lakers?

I don't think the Lakers will survive this series...

tim


go back to your blazers blog k?


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