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Game 7 happiness and beyond ("beyond" meaning the Western Conference Finals)

It's over, and it starts again tomorrow. 

It took a long time, required a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears (as opposed to Blood, Sweat, and Tears), but with their 89-70 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals Sunday at Staples, the Lakers kept their playoff hopes alive.  They did it primarily on the Trevor Ariza blocks Aaron Brooks in Game 7 defensive end.  The box score shows 21 points for Pau Gasol, 14 for Andrew Bynum in a redemptive effort that the Lakers hope will serve as a building block heading forward, 15 from Trevor Ariza (including nine in the opening 12 minutes), and a very quiet 14 from Kobe Bryant, who made his impact in other areas of the box score, writes JA Adande of ESPN.com.

The important numbers, though, were on the Houston side.  37% shooting, 4-13 shooting for Aaron Brooks, 4-12 for Luis Scola.  LA had eight steals, ten blocks, and played the pick and roll with effectiveness, never letting the Rockets find a rhythm.  For LA's bigs, it was important bounce back performance, particularly for Gasol, who was awful in Game 6 defending the rack.  In playing stiff D on Sunday (along with attacking the glass with 18 boards, including six on the offensive end), and adding a primal scream or two, Pau may have introduced a side of himself fans didn't know was there.

So that's it for the Rockets, who deservedly won the respect of fans and writers around the country.  Now it's Denver time, as the Lakers kick off the Western Conference Finals tomorrow night at Staples.

The Nuggets have rolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs and are fully capable of taking down LA, especially if the Lakers continue their "bi-polar" (Kobe's words) play.  On the other hand, just as it is with the stock market, past performance does not guarantee future returns.  That the Nuggets have rolled through two rounds doesn't mean they'll continue their top shelf play, and LA's struggles against the Rockets don't automatically lead to problems against Denver. 

Especially if, as they say, the Lakers have learned the value of playing hard.  You know, like, all the time (did I just have to type that?).

It is, as they say, a fresh start.  With that in mind...

Seriously, though, which Lakers team is the "real" one?  If the Lakers could let writers and commentators know, it'll make the whole prognostication process a lot simpler.  

For all the talk of writers and pundits taking the first lifeboat off the S.S. Lakers, seven of ten ESPN writers pick the purple and gold to advance.  The Nuggets, it should be noted, are not among those who were polled.

The Roundball Mining Company, one of a couple rock solid Nuggets blogs, has a great early look at the series, noting that just as it was against Houston, LA can't abandon the post:

"...You can talk about Kobe Bryant all you want, the Nuggets biggest concern should be how they can handle Bynum and Gasol.  With the starters on the floor Kenyon Martin is going to have to guard one of them and he has a serious length disadvantage against both.  Most likely Kenyon will be guarding Gasol and for all his defensive desire and talents he is in a big hole trying to cover Gasol.  Pau can shoot his 15-18 foot set shot over Kenyon at will and when he goes into the post his jump hook will be impossible for Kenyon to stop. 

Nene is relatively better equipped to cover Bynum than Kenyon is for guarding Gasol, but Bynum still has a significant length and weight advantage over Nene.   On the other hand, Nene has done a decent job against Gasol in the past so will Denver choose to stick Kenyon on Bynum and double the heck out of him should he get the ball in the post thus creating one major mismatch instead of two less than desirable matchups? 

When Chris Andersen comes off the bench things do not get much better.  Andersen is physically a better matchup on Gasol than Kenyon, but his desire to block shots plays right into one of Gasol’s greatest strengths, and that is offensive rebounding.  When Andersen leaves Pau to go for a block he better get it or else Pau is converting the miss..."

Andrew Bynum dunks in Game 7 against Houston Click the link and read the whole thing.  Well worth the time, especially for a reminder that while the Nuggets provide a major test for LA's defense- those dudes can fill it up- their team defense is well beyond what Lakers fans saw in last season's playoffs.  Anyone thinking the Lakers, now that they're done with Houston, can just start piling up points again ought to reconsider (the Nuggets, for example, were fifth in the NBA in opponents effective FG% at 48.5%.  LA will still have to execute.

(To play with defensive statistics, head to www.basketball-reference.com, and www.82Games.com.)

Matched up with Martin, Gasol's toughness will be tested.

More preview, from Pickaxe and Roll. 

Shane Battier talks about what it takes to beat LA, and how he sees a Lakers/Nuggets series.  (For more video from Sunday's win, click here.)

The Nuggets are in the series in part because of the Chauncey Billups trade, a move with a very interesting backstory.  As a team, Denver is rested.  Will that help or hurt?

Obviously there will be plenty more on this series before Tuesday's tip (remember, it's early- 6 pm for a national TV audience, so adjust your schedules accordingly).  

Finally, Lamar Odom has an interesting explanation for yesterday's earthquake on his Twitter feed.

BK

 
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Great win yesterday, very happy as a fan. I've said before I hate to see the Lakers lose, but there is something rewarding in watching your team progress through the playoff grind.

AK / BK -- I wanted to say thanks for all your hard work and analysis. You often provide a much more nuanced and balanced look at the team, as opposed to some of the stuff I see nationally. Back here in DC, Wilbon had a column Sunday morning in the Post that really made me angry. How do any of the media folks know if the Lakers are "conceited" or "have no heart?" How can folks like Barkley and Smith openly root against the Lakers because they supposedly don't "play to their ability?" It's never that easy. There is no super team able to steamroll everyone. Lazy thinking leads to lazy reporting -- thanks for doing the work and bringing a lot more to the table than these so-called experts!

I begrudgingly say "Welcome Back Jordan Farmar." Glad to have him back.

And also say, someone please check the oil in the Machine.

If the Lakers move the ball, run the offense, get the ball into the paint and are aggressive we can win this series. When we don't pass the ball, run down the court and take the quick jump shot we do not play well. The defense, as always, is key.

I am surprised at my feelings about Boston losing. After watching them in the Orlando series, I've grudgingly come to respect the fact that they don't give up. They're tenacious. So as a club, I give them credit. I would have liked to see them advance and give Cleveland a run for their money. Ah well, everyone knew without KG it wouldn't happen. And never fear, I am wired to always hate them. But when a team plays with heart, you have to give them credit.

I find it odd that last year almost everyone was picking the Lakers to win it all, and this year, while they pick us to win this series, you know it won't be that way should we face Cleveland. I think we beat Denver but Cleveland is another story. Let's see what happens....

GO LAKERS!
CONGRATS ON GETTING TO THE FINALS!

Taking a look at the match-ups here:

Pau Gasol/Andrew Bynum/Lamar Odom vs. Nene/Kenyon Martin/Chris "Birdman" Anderson
I think this match up will likely decide the series. Will it be the skill and savvy of the Lakers' front court or will it be the strength and physicality of the Nuggets'? The Lakers' front court NEED to grow some damn balls for this one because if they play with the finesse and softness (how they got pushed around by Luis Scola and Chuck "I'm 6'5" tall" Hayes) they will get destroyed by these guys. They need to match the intensity and aggressiveness. Birdman will come off of the bench and (especially at home) fire everyone up. This match-up is KEY.

Carmelo Anthony/Linas Kleiza vs. Trevor Ariza/Luke Walton
Trevor and Luke have the incredibly difficult job of containing 'Melo. Much like last series, Trevor will have troubles defending the stronger Carmelo Anthony, so this is where we will likely have to see Luke Walton step up again. In the past, Luke has done an excellent job defending Carmelo and will be looked on again to continue to do so. Don't forget about Linas Kleiza, too. He has been a nightmare for the Lakers in the past, so be wary of him making an impact coming off of the bench.

Kobe Bryant/Sasha Vujacic vs. The Kitchen Sink (Dahntay Jones, Linas Kleiza, Kenyon Martin, JR Smith)
The Nuggets' number one "Kobe-stopper" is Dahntay Jones. He is their defensive specialist and will draw Kobe Bryant's name from the start of the game. Jones is a good defender but he will not be able to do it by himself. Jones will likely look to his front court mates to help him when Kobe looks to drive into the lane. Furthermore, we've seen George Karl throw the bigger, more physical Linas Kleiza... and the even bigger and even more physical Kenyon Martin at Kobe Bryant. JR Smith will try to keep Kobe on his toes and force him to play defense. This will be a team concerted effort by the Nuggets. Kobe needs to remember to be patient and not shoot jumpers over the outstretched arms of "the kitchen sink".

Another big key, IMO, will be the play of Sasha Vujacic. He will be looked upon to offset JR "Microwave verson 2" Smith. Whether it be by playing tenacious defense or by hitting some key jumpers, I think Sasha needs to have a good series for the Lakers.

Chauncey Billups/Anthony Carter vs. Derek Fisher/Jordan Farmar/Shannon Brown
This is a better match-up for Derek Fisher than the past two series. Chauncey not as quick or explosive off of the dribble then Deron Williams or Aaron Brooks. The Lakers will need Fisher's jump shooting ability to stretch defenses and his veteran leadership to guide them. Off of the bench, look for Shannon Brown to play a bigger role in this series against the stronger Billups. Jordan Farmar may find himself at the end of the bench again, but I hope to see him in spots to help energize the Lakers when their offense becomes stagnant.

This should be a great series. It will get very physical. The Lakers will have to respond.

http://tinyurl.com/cjyl46

So, who improved more since last year's playoffs, Denver or us?
They got Chauncy, we got Ariza back
They got Birdman, we have Bynum back
Nene is healthy, but they lost Camby.
We lost Radman but now have Shannon Brown.
If we play consistent defense, we win in 5.
No matter how many games it goes, unless we have a key injury(heaven forbid) we should win this series.

Nice to see the P & G take care of business in G7 but still a long way from hitting on all cylinders. I still can't figure why Fisher gets so much run...seriously the guy can't make a layup or drive & dish and his shooting & defense are marginal at best. Brown barely saw the court and he's way more explosive on both ends of the court. Nice to see the bigs show up and dominate the paint for a change. Kobe was a little off but maybe that's what we need is to not rely on #24. When he's breaking down the D and getting everyone shots (since Fish is useless) we definitely play better. Lots of sloppy passes resulting in turn overs, we could have easily won by 40 again. Definitely need to work on taking care of the ball, and keep up the effort on D & boarding. We can get easy scores when that is happening. On to Denver..no game one home court letdown! Nice to see the Celtics get their butts kicked on their home floor...ha ha ha.

Mr. Nano,

You said in the other thread:

Do they?
Most talented team in the NBA [Check]
Legendary coach with 9 rings [Check]
Best player in the game [Check]
Can pull a win from a defeat [???]

~~Be careful in questioning the Lakers vulnerability, you get into trouble w/ the Gods especially now that the team survived a crisis. What crisis in 19pts ?

I believe healthy criticisms are necessary to obtain corrections on those three losses, it signifies that Laker players & coaches are human and there is always room for accommodations. Being optimistic with the team that we love is one thing, but being polarized and repulsive to critics is another, always reserve a space for a reasonable truth. One time, I read a quote from emails which says like this: "Don't look where you fall but where you slipped." This means a lot on what we are about to do tomorrow and beyond. The objective is to win four more games and move on.

Nuggets should be treated with care, we can't just psyche ourselves and declare Lakers win in 5. A clear cut strategy has to be laid down in slaughtering a monster. There has to brash tax tactics to be applied and skills must honed to suit the objectives in battles. I still see missed free throws, careless passes that leads to T/O's, switching problems on pick and roll and heavy dependence on outside shooting.

I would like to describe this team Nuggets like a plane. The nose and instrumentation are in Billups hands, the lift on the engine lies in the hands of Melo and JR Smith, the wings that balances the weight of the plane are spread out on the defensive minded players like Nene, K-mart and Andersen and the fuselage is the rest of the team. How do you attack this plane? Well, first take out their radar, the eyes and ears that gives the direction. Billups has to be stopped on the high post with his damaging threes; Secondly, strike on the engine. A good Laker defense turned into fast breaks is one way of piercing through the heart of the Nuggets offense. Limit Melo to single digits scoring for every game and don't give a space on JR. When there is an engine trouble, It creates confusion, chaos and disillusionment that they could not implement their own set strategies of moving ahead. When the radar and the engine are broken, the wings and fuselage cannot fly on its own. It depends now on the trade winds on the horizon (physical plays and dirty tactics) with more confusion aboard preparing for the parachutes from an unstable ship. Under that situation like what happened to the Jazz and the Rockets on their last games, go for the kill, a relentless onslaught without looking back or aiding the opponents through Sisters of Mercy.

That is what majority of the fans are looking for from the Lakers - a consistent and relentless onslaught from start to finish. You don't just discuss it to the media, on the blog, on tweet or face books etc. (if you do these little things, you won't hear any doubts from Sir Charles, Kenny, Mark J and Van Gundy.) Therefore Lakers follow the advice of Nike - Just do it and move on.

Another amazingly ignorant comment from Sir Charles saying he can't believe the Lakers can be so good at home and so bad on the road. Maybe he forgot the Lakers had the best road record in the NBA.
Perhaps it was the Rockets who were the Jekyl and Hyde team, playing beyond thier abilities when at home feeding off the crowd and underdog label.

And also say, someone please check the oil in the Machine. Posted by: #4 | May 18, 2009 at 09:54 AM

LOL! The Machine is just fine #4 and ready for Carmello.

No matter how many games it goes, unless we have a key injury(heaven forbid) we should win this series. Posted by: rdlee | May 18, 2009 at 10:02 AM

I'll go along with that. Lakers in 5.

I find it odd that last year almost everyone was picking the Lakers to win it all, and this year, while they pick us to win this series, you know it won't be that way should we face Cleveland. I think we beat Denver but Cleveland is another story. Let's see what happensPosted by: longtimelakerlover | May 18, 2009 at 09:55 AM

Yeah and 9Rings better get on the Refs. because you know David Stern wants Lebron and Cleveland to win.


AK/BK

i just want to say thank you. you guys always provide excellent insight. you also maintain order in the blog. so thank you.

REPOST/

After the trades earlier this season I posted this question. "why are they messing with the teams chemistry, Thats how Dr Jekyll became Mr Hyde"? ...unquote.

I rest my case!

The formula to regain our chemistry is Defense. And lots more of it.


Nuggets, Thuggets, or Fuggets. BRING THEM ON!

Edwin G.,
I like your analysis.

Lakers have to deconstruct the Nuggets' "plane" to win.

I would probably disagree with holding Melo to single digits. He shoots too much for that. Basically, you want to give Melo the Kobe treatment. Hold him to POINTS <= FGA and we'll be fine.

Coincidentally, Luke Walton has had quite the track record guarding Melo.

If Melo cant get 25-30 a game on us, I think plain and simple the Nuggets get waxed. Just like last year.

For all the talk about the Lakers' mentality, I am curious to see how the Nuggets crew of playground ballers act when they get some bad calls and face adversity. JR Smith, Kenyon, Melo, Birdman, etc. cry like Sasha Vujacic on every call. Wouldnt surprise me for them to have a total meltdown in one of these games...

LA plays up or down to the competition. The Houston Rockets teams with Olajuwon did the same thing. Lakers fans better hope that Bynum comes to play and Pau Gasol brings the passion and intensity he needs to in order for them to move on.

Author
The Ring of Knowledge

Pathetic game 7s. Hopefully the next series will be better.

Lakers better not fool around.

Feed the ball to Gasol in the high post, he can shoot over Martin all day.

#4,

It's not the oil that needs checking, it's the spark plug that needs to be replaced in the Machine.

GO MACHINE!

I think PJ made a very important observation about the team recognizing that the Lakers for almost all of the games played this year including pre-season and playoffs total about 100 games where they won about 85% of those games and had a chance to win almost all of those games. People have been making a big issue about their "heart" or lack thereof, but i would argue that despite giving up big leads, this team always found a way to fight back during the game at some point to try to make run, game 4 they lost by 12 despite people talking about giving a big 29-point lead, and they lost game 6 by 15 but closed to within 2 during the 3rd qrt. To me, that shows that this team does not quit and has some "heart" to continue to play despite being down large leads. Giving big leads happen to every team in the NBA, its how you respond to them is what's more important. The Cavs are a great team, but even Lebron's team got blow-out by Orl by 29-points and were down almost 40 points!!! The Lakers didnt win 65 games, beat Cle & Bos 4-0, go 44-8 vs the WC, go 29-12 on the road without playing consistent and playing hard. Thats why the games are played, 2 teams make an outcome and sometimes you have a bad day and get beat. This team has been focused on getting back to the Finals to win a championship and this series was just part of the process to becoming champions, in the end its all about matchups and the Lakers matchup well against every team remaining. Orl did give them trouble during the season, but without Nelson, i think the lakers will have no problem against anyone left. It may take 5-7 games to beat Denver, but i expect them to move forward and win it all in the end.

LOL! The Machine is just fine #4 and ready for Carmello.

Posted by: MAMBA24 | May 18, 2009 at 10:26 AM

haha, I hope so. Checking the oil as in a pre-flight check, just to be on the safe side.

European Machines are high maintenance, but highly rewarding. =)

THE NUGGETS ARE FOOLS GOLD…

And all the knee-jerk media drones who anointed them this season’s Western Conference new best team will be looking to thumb a ride on our bandwagon once we’ve swept them. The Nuggets are this season’s version of the Hornets, a team disguising themselves as truly competent ballers but in reality are prone to embarrassing breakdowns from mental basket cases like Carmelo Antony, J. R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, and Chris “Birdman” Anderson. Their speeding train may have been rolling in New Orleans and Dallas but the ride is about to come to a bitter, disappointing, but familiar end as the Lakers expose them for frauds.

After two series highlighted by teams trying to play small ball with the Lakers, look for Andrew Bynum to finally start playing dominating basketball against the Nuggets with a matchup against another young center in Nene, whom Phil credits for being as big a reason why the Nuggets are a much improved team over last year as trading for Chauncey Billups. No longer having to worry about jitterbug penetrators or guarding height-challenged front court midgets, Drew should finally be able to start showing the consistency that we need from him on defense, offense, and the boards. He should dominate Nene all series long.

Also look for Pau Gasol to take Kenyon Martin completely out of his game, forcing him to spend much of his time frustrated and on the bench in foul trouble. The only concern we really should have with KMart is the worry that he might end up going ballistic and trying to punch Pau out or hurt him with a flagrant foul. I am hoping that Pau will continue to play with the same aggressiveness and fire that he did yesterday. We need the Pau who is tough and not soft in order to take care of business in Denver. If that Pau shows up along with Drew, the Lakers Beastball will be way too much for the Thuggets to handle.

The biggest challenge defensively for the Lakers will probably handling Mel as he has been playing better and more under control this year. Ariza will probably start out on Melo but look for Kobe to spend some time guarding him and hopefully goading him into casting up some questionable shots and forgetting about team basketball. Kobe and the Lakers perimeter players should be able to stay home on the Nuggets 3-point shooters since Drew, Pau, and Lamar should be able to cover any of the Denver big men 1-on-1. That will be a key to the Lakers ability to shut down the Nuggets offense.

I think this will be the series when everything comes together for the Lakers: Kobe will play ultra-efficient offensively and be a terror on defense. Pau will show the toughness that he displayed on Sunday on both ends of the court. Drew will anchor the Lakers on defense and provide the power low post game they need to dominate the paint and boards. Lamar will clip Birdman’s wings. Trevor, Fish, Jordie, Shannon, and Sasha will all have their best series of the playoffs and the Lakers will crush the Nuggets as they tune up for the NBA Finals and a chance to derail LeBron and upset ESPN’s and Stern’s will.

Lakers sweep. Kobe and the Beasts rule. Nothing left but wins on the schedule.

Tom

Congratulations to my favorite team for surviving. Credit goes to a game Houston team... all except Luis Scola, who I find to be a dirty, filthy player. His excessive hands and push offs have been labeled as "aggressive", but to me he's just a sneak and a dirty player. I'm still glad that Fish cleaned his clock.

I think one of the reasons that the Lakers have been so inconsistent all year long is the lack of clearly defined roles on the team. The loss of Bynum to injury thrust Pau and Lamar into different roles for most of the season. Now with Bynum back, the obvious need for what he can bring to the table has created a flux in team makeup. Minutes and roles are a bit up in the air. Same in the backcourt, where Kobe is the only constant. Sasha, Fish, Jordan and Shannon have varied duties depending on each game.

There are a lot of doubters regarding PJ. While I sense a certain disconnect between him and some of the younger players (Jordan, Andrew), I'm not going to throw Phil under the bus. He's the coach and I believe he's doing the best he can to win. Anything less on his part is not believeable.

Finally, it certainly is nice to see the S.S. Celtic preparing for an extended fishing trip! Hope the boat is wheelchair
accessible for the "best player in the world". At least they'll have plenty of trolls (Red's LC, 101-82, and Let's go C's...C as in Cod) to clean the scuppers!!

GO LAKERS!!! WIN OR LOSE, GIVE IT YOUR BEST!!!!

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

well that series ended on a positive note seemingly....

I have said it once, and I'll say it again when this team plays even close to how they can play no one can beat them...

or like some others have said, the only team that can beat us is ourselves....

I am hoping that some valuable lessons were learned and will be retained from the Houston series...

focus and intensity, the inside outside game, attacking the rim, and determined defense on every posession, patience on offense, concentration to avoid turnovers, and free throw proficiency....

this team is obviously capable of winning the whole thing--do they indeed want to bad enough is more the question...

is it Tuesday yet?

the icing on yesterdays cake?.....wait for it... the frickin' Celtics are out of our faces and have gone fishin',,,

AS AL;WAYS, AS EVER, YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY (AND SEASON) TO BE A LAKER FAN !!!

GO LAKERS !!!

AK/BK

i just want to say thank you. you guys always provide excellent insight. you also maintain order in the blog. so thank you.

Posted by: laila | May 18, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Agreed. I also appreciate the closeness Andy and Brian have to the team. It beats the one off, from-their-TV-seat-like-you-and-I assumptions other forums have. Andy and Brian are there at the games, at the practice facility, and though they themselves don't tout it, its a more realistic perspective than other blogs.

IOW, we don't have to infer things. Andy and Brian are right there, truly getting the pulse of the Lakers.

In my most humble opinion.....

QUOTE FROM KENYON MARTIN ON SPORT ILLUSTRATED "We're going [there) to win both games," Martin said. "Not just going (there) to split. ... Ain't no stealing nothing. We're going to play to win. No matter if they have days off or not, we're going win." ALSO MOST SO CALLED EXPERTS AROUND THE COUNTRY PICKS DENVER IN 6
AK,BK I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE CLOSE TO THE TEAM MAKE SURE THEY SEE IT!!

I am psyched about the win but we need to set the tone in G1 and not lose home court. We really need a G1 win!!!

Looking forward to Denver - my early Laker thoughts before things really start to get dissected....

1. Glad we only have one day to prepare - our "bi-polar, ADD, young gun, frenetic, which team will show" Laker squad might not be able to handle the extra rest and accidently drop G1 by "thinking too much".

2. I think this Laker team rises up and welcomes the challenge of going out there and winging it.

3. Which Andrew Bynum will show up? One game does not impress my inner "release the beast" mentality.

4. Which Derek Fisher will show up? I hope its the one who remembers watching Chauncey Billups torch GP in the 2004 Finals and says this time: not on my watch! I don't want another Chauncey MVP performance.

5. Turnovers - there was no mention in AK/BK's bad section of yesterday's recap - but we had more tunovers than assists. We have to control the ball even when we are controlling the game!

6. Will Pau's time in the weight room pay dividends against Kenyon? Can't wait to see this match-up.

7. Will Kobe set the tone in Game 1 with his we're on a mission" game face and floor leadership?

8. Media keeps saying "nobody can run with the Thugs on Denver's home court". I bet the Lakers can and I see us taking at least one on the road.

Let's switch over for a moment to the Thugs.... here's some perspective from their floor leader:

1. "We came into this series, nobody gave us a chance, but we felt we had a great chance. ... We knew as a team we just felt we were a better team." - Chauncey Billups, Finals MVP 2004 - ring familiar?

2. Which Carmelo will show up? Will he revert to his trademark Thug status and have a melt down?

3. Will the refs carefully watch the Thugs hooks, elbows, taunting, etc? Or is this truly "playoff basketball"?

Oh how I love this game, the intrigue and the strategy!

I don't think this will be a sweep. However, I pick the Lakers in 6 because I don't think we want to push another Game 7 on this blog family....

Let's go Lake show!!!

This is going to be a big series for Kobe because the Nuggets have no one to stop him. It's funny I remember when Kobe tried to be nice and send Kenny and Charles brand new PS3's when they were running about 800 dollars a piece. For them to come out and dog LA is pure jealously, Charles had plenty of hall of famers on his teams. But him and Webber were known choke artists.

I thought Pau played exceptional ball yesterday. Sure, the raw numbers, 21 and 18, were great, but the refs seemed to give Scola a lot of leeway in terms of being physical with Gasol (particularly in that 3rd quarter), and Pau worked through it with a lot of grit and determination.

Lakers sweep. Kobe and the Beasts rule. Nothing left but wins on the schedule.Posted by: LakerTom | May 18, 2009 at 11:13 AM
OUT FREAKING STANDING LAKER TOM ME THINKS SWEEP

i think the lakers will have no problem against anyone left. It may take 5-7 games to beat Denver, but i expect them to move forward and win it all in the end. Posted by: fvbruin | May 18, 2009 at 11:11 AM

EXCELLENT POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Long Live Chick,

Yes. Life is wonderful.

I love the pre-game one comments from opposing fans during these playoffs. Everyone thinks their team is going to dominate the Nuggets in five games, yet it's the Nuggets that win the series.

In round one, Chris Paul was going to tear up the Nuggets because Billups was too old and too slow. What happened?

In round two, Dirk was too good, and Dallas' point guards were too much for the Nuggets. Must've been the refs fault Denver won, right?

Now, the Laker fans and writers say that LA is a better team and Phil has more rings. Haven't you guys been watching the playoffs? Denver lost two games, but both were close ones that they let slip away after having huge leads. LA, on the other hand, got dominated by Houston in their losses.

Don't worry. Late Tuesday night you'll all be complaining about the refs or Phil's lack of ability to call timeouts to stop the big runs that Denver goes on or maybe the fact that you only had a day's rest and you were tired. Whatever the reason, Denver's winning game one and ruining your home court advantage.

You'll come to Denver tied 1 game apiece, but then you get to run in our thin air, and going back to LA down 3-1. Game 5 will be a tough game, but it won't matter. If it comes back to Denver, we wrap it up, at home, in game 6.

So much for the Kobe-LeBron matchup everyone wanted.

"THE NUGGETS ARE FOOLS GOLD…"

C'mon LakerTom. I love your passion and optimism, but this is exactly why we almost lost to a depleted Rockets team. Until the Lakers show respect for every single team and every single game they play, uncertainty and heartbreak will remain the theme.

These Nuggets are NOT fools gold. They are a proud team who've been playing very well and are going to fight, scratch and claw to try and win. They want it just as much as the Lakers. As long as the Lakers and all of their fans understand this, success should follow.

Go Lakers!!!

Respect to.....LongTimeLakerLover!

I like how Pickaxe and Roll somehow sees the fourspot matchup of Pau/Odom vs. KMart/Birdman as "advantage: even."

Dude, someone's been enjoying the "Nuggets" a little too much.

like how Pickaxe and Roll somehow sees the fourspot matchup of Pau/Odom vs. KMart/Birdman as "advantage: even." Dude, someone's been enjoying the "Nuggets" a little too much. Posted by: Jesterguru | May 18, 2009 at 11:39 AM

ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gasol (particularly in that 3rd quarter), and Pau worked through it with a lot of grit and determination. Posted by: ZLakeShow | May 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

CAN YOU SAY BATTLE READY!!!! THIS IS GOING TO BE A SLAUGHTER. LAKERS SWEEP, SO SAYS LAKER TIOM, SO SAYS MAMBA24

"Ain't no stealing nothing"

Carmelo pulls out the rarely seen "triple negative;" you have to be impressed with that. It's the verbal equivalent of one of Kobe's "jab-jab-jab-head fake-shot" sequences. Unfortunately for Carmelo, though, if you make the painful effort to parse that statement, and then compare it to the results of the series, it will turn out that he shot a grammatical airball.

PSYCHED LAKERGIRL you are right on point. Good Post.

Oops; that should have been Kenyon! Oh, well, still an airball.

Nuggets have been playing well. They are a good team. But the Lakers are the best team they have faced so far. The NOH had no post presence, whatsoever. Ditto the Mavs. Although Dirk did offer some inside game, Dampier was a no-show. In the end, it was Dirk against 5. Jason Terry didn't even look for the ball after a while. The Lakers have a lot more weapons than either team the Nuggets have faced.

Random thoughts...

If Derek Fisher wears a headband, assume a loss.

I think Andrew is one of those players that miht play better angry.

I think Sasha will have a very productive Denver series.

When Pau plays with the fire and intensity he played with yesterday, Lakers don't lose...period!

I so badly want Lamar to win a champoinship more than any other Laker. We all know his head issues, but dude is a freakin warrior and I just love him.

Damn, I wish Luke had a consistent outside shot.

I can't wait until Ronny Turiaf is a Laker again. There's no doubt in my that this will happen.

No Matter what, beyond the big four, Laker must retain Trevor and Shannon.

If Farmar can stay humble, he can be one heckuva a player for this team.

Josh Powell is being underutilized...or maybe not.

I understand not using Mbenga due to his lack of B-Ball aptitude, but I see definite advantages with spot duty.

Adam Morrison frightens me.

..and Kobe. Well...uh.....

I love those puppet commercials.

Go Lakers!!!

QUOTE FROM KENYON MARTIN ON SPORT ILLUSTRATED "We're going [there) to win both games," Martin said. "Not just going (there) to split. ... Ain't no stealing nothing. We're going to play to win. No matter if they have days off or not, we're going win." ALSO MOST SO CALLED EXPERTS AROUND THE COUNTRY PICKS DENVER IN 6 AK,BK I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE CLOSE TO THE TEAM MAKE SURE THEY SEE IT!!
Posted by: Ron | May 18, 2009 at 11:20 AM

WHAT THE! WELL LET THERE BE HELL!!!!! where is HELLRAISER AT. I'm going to have somehting speciial written up for these " NO SNITCHIN, THUG WANNABES"
to paraphrase that great man Ron Artest, Don't they know we the Lakers? We are going to slaughter those Punks.!!!!!!! All hands on Deck tommorow for Roll Call
It's going to be smoking like it neverf smoked before. I mean really sir. The unmitigated gall of these thugs.
STEALIN NOTHIN, STEALIN NOTHIN, I'll give you some MF
stealin, nothin Kenyon Martin. I hope from the first possession we just attack, attack, attack and slaughter these Punks.

The Nuggets have peaked over the past few months, and stepped up in the playoffs, the Lakers haven't. Let's hope the Lakers recognize that and bring their best game. Even more than effort, it's about confidence in executing the game plan. That's what the Lakers struggle with. When the young guys (Pau, Drew, Trevor) play with confidence, good things happen. Part of it is on Kobe to play within the game plan and encourage these guys to be confident.

The Lakers can win but be wary of "Lakers in 5" predictions. Let's go for winning the first two at home for starters.

RED`S LOVE CHILD and all other green dwarf fools,

HA HAHAHAHAHHAA, You added the joy of laughter to my celebration thank you so much.

Top Excuses by leprocons:

1. WHINE Whine WhIne whiNe whine wHine
2. WHINE Whine WhinE whinE wHIne whine
3-2673832 Whine whine Whine WHine WHINE

Gotta love it, give the Rockets their props, they loose their ACTUAL TWO BEST players instead of a has been and a scrub and they hardly mention how they are playing without them and trying to win with the team they had and not the team they wish they had. So mo classy. Enjoy the two cans of Whoop-ass we left you, was hoping to make it a six-pack, but come back when you don't suck to make it interesting.

Kenyon really "punked" dirk to the tune of 30-plus points and 13-plus rpg. If he "punks" Pau to those types of numbers, I will be verrrrrry happy. Dallas had no inside game whatsoever and the hornets had been on life support the entire season due to chandler's injuries and attitude. We've got 4 7-footers, and match up better with a denver team that survives on talent alone with an absence of coaching. If we withstand the physical and the trash-talking, we should be able to take care of business...Let's Get Ready To Rumbleeeee!!! Mamba....Kick IT!!

Nice win yesterday, but we've said that before. The playoffs are not about who has the better fantasy roster; they are about who is playing better basketball. To that end, I think a compelling case can be made that Denver is the better team right now:

1. Denver dominated first two series versus the Lakers having the benefit of playing two teams that weren't at full strength (three injured centers between the two opponents).

2. As currently playing (not "on paper"), Denver has a better point guard, small forward and center. Denver's bench has been playing far better than L.A.'s.

3. Consistency. One team is, one team is not.

If the Lakers recognize that this is FAR superior team to the two teams they've faced so far, and IF the Lakers bring the intensity that was so intermittent in the first round, then this should be a relatively easy series to win. If the Lakers look to their "on paper" advantage and play the way they did in the first two rounds, they will lose this thing for sure.

I think TNT crew is just disrespecting the Laker Fans, Laker's coach staff. They are talking like if Laker did not listen to them, then, just" arrogant... , dispect the league", Is Kenny Smith representing the NBA league? If Lakers need their advice, what about the coach staff? Who cares Barkley "never played with Pau, .... even Lamar"? He just sounded like a sour grape. By the way, Barkley was never been considered a great basketball player in his generation.

Thanks Mamba24!

Sombody above said Melo will need his points but ignored Chauncey's contributions. If Melo & Chauncey are spotted 20+ each - that could be trouble.

I just read the Thugs blog (pick axe, whatever) - they are calling a few positions even. So, riddle me this:

If we have 3-4 even positions (claims of Laker weak link once again PG) - then that means they won't respect Fish - Chauncey will move to double or deter. Fish loves to gobble up those open shots.

It's looking like Laker ball movement and the triangle and the boards will be keys to this series. The match-ups are physically more even and there will be high risk for the Thugs when they go to double. Karl loves taking gambles - we have seen that. I would like to see if he tries to not double anyone and how long will that last? So, when there is a double - our open guys are going to have to chomp and feast.

This might not be a Kobe series although I certainly envision nice KB runs. However, if the Lakers have 3-4 guys in dub figures - I LOVE our chances.

If we get KB, Pau, AB and LO in solid dub figures = Thugs won't rack up many W's. Throw in anyone else on any given night: TA, UPS, Sasha, even Fish and Luke = Lakers unbeatable.

We just need four cohesive, Laker TEAM full effort and all heart games and we are unbeatable. Math question of the day: how many games will that take?

Let's go Lake show - 8 mo!

lakalova,

>>> These Nuggets are NOT fools gold. They are a proud team who've been
>>> playing very well and are going to fight, scratch and claw to try and win.
>>> They want it just as much as the Lakers. As long as the Lakers and all of
>>> their fans understand this, success should follow.

Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, lakalova. I had a great deal of respect for the Rockets, who proved they could win a game without Yao and TMac but I don’t feel at all the same about the Nuggets. While injuries may have derailed the hopes of Houston fans, it has been self-destructive behavior and immaturity that have caused the Nuggets previous failures. And George Karl is nowhere near the coach that Rick Adelman is. Bottom line, the Nuggets are Fools Gold and will be exposed beginning tomorrow night. And wanting to win just as much as the Lakers will not be enough when Melo, KMart, JR Smith, and Birdman all go berserk and self-destruct. Lakers will sweep.

What we do agree is that we both love the Lakers. Peace.

Tom

Agnes, are you for real? Charles Barkley was named one of the greatest 50 players of all time. Whether you agree or disagree with that honor, your statement that Barkley was "never considered a great player" is just patently absurd. Your opinions are your own; your facts should not be.

As to the TNT crew's "bias" against the Lakers, I have to say that I agree with them through this point in the playoffs. I hope the Lakers win it all, but I cannot stand by and blindly support a team that simply doesn't try hard all the time. Barkley's point is perfectly valid: this team has more talent than most teams in NBA history, and if they end up not winning a title merely because they don't give maximum effort, then that is an embarassment to the team, the players and even the league. If you think this is wrong, take it up with Magic Johnson (someone who knows a thing or two about winning).

Playing hard ought to be a given. Hopefully, this message has (or soon will have) sunk in and they can get back to dominating the way they did in the aftermath of Bynum's injury this year. THAT was the kind of effort that fans (and even the Chuckster) can celebrate.

Andrew Bernard

[As to the TNT crew's "bias" against the Lakers, I have to say that I agree with them through this point in the playoffs. I hope the Lakers win it all, but I cannot stand by and blindly support a team that simply doesn't try hard all the time. Barkley's point is perfectly valid: this team has more talent than most teams in NBA history, and if they end up not winning a title merely because they don't give maximum effort, then that is an embarassment to the team, the players and even the league. If you think this is wrong, take it up with Magic Johnson (someone who knows a thing or two about winning).]

Here's a suggestion ... turn your tv off ... if we win the championship, you can come celeberate with us ... if we lose, you can go talk about how embarassing a team we are ...

A lot is going on with the lakers but I think they're being too harshly criticized on effort ... could they have given more effort, sure ... why didn't they? ... umm why do nba teams play better at home?

Like their coach reminded us, all season long this team has been in most of their games regardless of whether we win or not. To act like we're not a team that plays hard is to act like we didn't win 65+ wins with the aforementioned hardwork.

I understand the playoffs is a brand new season so I ain't saying hold unto 65 wins ... I'm just saying you've got 65 reasons to think something else might be wrong with this team besides a simplistic 'effort ain't there' judgement ...

We are who we are ... and who we are will be more than good enough to crown us the 2008/2009 nba champions ... hate it or love it

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

Lamar Odom's got some serious panache.

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

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

[Repost]

{Lakers Secret Agent Jon K. Reporting From DEEP Behing Enemy Lines In A Burned Out Warehouse Within The Sullen Gray Wastes Of Northeast Ohio Surrounded On All Sides By Zombified LeBroniacs Pounding On The Barricaded Doors And Moaning, "BRAINS!!!!! I Need A Brain!"}

{Operation: Unleash The Bio-Chrono Weapon}

{TARGET: Kenyon Martin}

{FIRE!!!!}

Okay... so here's how our "beloved" K-Mart is orientated.

Physical: Martin is spiritually/creatively orientated. This means the tension between feelings of attraction and repulsion govern his physical success.

Emotional: Martin is emotionally orientated. This means the tension between appreciation and resentment governs his emotional success/stability.

Mental: Martin is physically orientated. This means the tension between knowledge and ignorance governs his mental success/focus.

Creative: Martin is creatively/spiritually orientated. This means the tension between love and hate governs his creative potential.

Okay... here's how I'd play My Least Favorite Marti(a)n:

Physical: People who are attraction orientated thrive off of attention. This desire for people to be attracted to them is often so strong that they can present themselves in foppish ways as a means of drawing attention to themselves. So much so, that they can actually make themselves appear repulsive to others out of a desire to be attractive to others. Such is the case with Kenyon Martin and his superfluous number of gaudy, low-class tattoos. Those tattoos are there to try to be "cool" and to make himself more attractive (and even--yes, really--sexier) to other people.

So, he's definitely failed in that goal. So tattooless or tattoo-limited players should just make the hell fun out of his tattoos, noting that he looks ridiculous and repulsive to other people (particuarly the kiss tattoo). Note that everyone is watching and they all think him the fool.

Eventually, if you keep insulting his appearance, those insults will have greater salience to him and will, eventually, make him feel insecure, and he'll become self-conscious and hesitant in his physical decision-making.

Emotional: Kenyon Martin and Ron Artest are the same type emotionally! Who would have thunk it? {Sarcasm}

It's important for Kenyon Martin to feel that he is special and he is appreciated. As such, the guy probably plays A LOT better in Denver than he does other places where people are jeering him.

His emotional type plays well when they are a little angry, but sustained anger causes them to fall apart. They can't focus and they lash out. He also doesn't like to be around angry people for long periods of time, because being angry FOR SUSTAINED PERIODS is actually a reflection of great emotional pain for this type. So being around chronically angry people--FOR SUSTAINED PERIODS--brings out that emotional pain in them and they will shrink away from it.

So, play him angry, keep him angry, and he'll lose all emotional perspective and do stupid things.

If you're going to play mindgames with him, emphasize that you don't think he is anything special and communicate that his game (and person) is ordinary and boring... a common joke, really. He won't like that at all.

Mentally: Kenyon Martin is quite vulnerable here. The guy has a predisposition towards intellectual insecurity. One way to bring out this insecurity is to talk about things in his presence that he has no knowledge or depth of knowledge of and discuss it as if "everyone knows this stuff."

His type begins feeling highly insecure in these situations and will often blurt out information that is completely inappropriate and/or irrelevant to the discussion, in a desperate attempt to prove to the social group that they, too, are "knowledgable."

If/when he does so, don't even respond. Just look at him as if he was being socially inappropriate with a look that says, "What are you an iditot or something?" and then go on disussing the matter like he isn't even there.

This drives this type nuts and he'll lose mental focus in his insecurity.

Pau Gasol is reading a book on Halle Selassie and Ethiopia right now. I'm sure a lot of basketball players think they know a lot about Halle Selassie because of Bob Marley and all, but they really don't know squat. Pau should start talking about Selassie with Kobe in front of Martin in an oblique way. It'll go right over Martin's head and he'll become insecure as a result.

Stuff like that or some inside players union talk from Derek Fisher that Martin can't know, but present it like it's common knowledge. It'll bring out his intellectual insecurity which will hurt his focus.

Creative: Martin's not super-vulnerable here. If you want to undermine his creativity. Get him to hate your organization. Hate the Lakers. Perhaps the fans can assist with this.

If he becomes hateful towards an organization or group, he will become rigid in his decision making in dealing with that group and will not be able to actualize his creative potential or problem-solving abilities. He won't be able to respond dynamically, which is what we want.

There you go.

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

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Taliq, I guess you are looking for a blog where a bunch of people can all come together and talk about how much they unconditionally love the Lakers, regardless of how they play. I don't think that is what this blog was set up for.

You don't need to feel so attacked by someone pointing out an obvious fact: the Lakers don't play hard every game. I woudn't be so defensive about this issue when even the team's greatest star describes his teammates as "bipolar" (or maybe you think Kobe is being "too harsh" in his criticism).

Maybe "bipolar" effort (that is, play hard some games, not so much the others) is good enough for you, but it isn't good enough for many Laker fans who want to see their team play hard every game in the playoffs. Tough for me to get mad at the TNT boys when even the Laker players acknowledge that they are not playing with consistent effort.

What you apparently fail to recognize is that many critics of the Lakers' effort in the playoffs are actually paying this team a huge compliment. They see that this is an increadibly talented team, and they know that if this hugely talented group played with passion each game (in the playoffs) they would surely win the title. Instead, by playing without effort (something you seem to question, but something even the players acknowledge...) they are risking what could otherwise be easily obtained: their first title in 6 years.

Oh, and playing better at home versus the road is completely unrelated to playing hard. The Celtics have played FAR worse on the road in the playoffs the last two years. They did, however, play hard in those games. Nobody here is saying the Lakers must win every game; what some of us are saying is that they must play hard every game, and if they don't they will be harshly criticized by some people who know a hell of a lot more about winning championships than you or me. The most pained criticism I've heard so far is from none other than Magic Johnson, a lifetime Laker.

So, you can stick with your kind words after games like game 1, 4 or 6 against Houston; me, I'll stick with Magic and blast the Lakers for pathetic effort whenever they deserve it. What you and I both share, I'm sure, is the hope such criticism won't be necessary in either of the next two rounds....


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