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Lakers 89, Rockets 70: Well, that wasn't such a chore, now was it?

That breeze you feel isn't the wind or an overzealous air conditioning unit, but the collective sigh of the Laker Nation.  Those hooves?  Not from a TV replay of yesterday's Preakness, but from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse galloping back to the heavens.  All because the Lakers came out Sunday afternoon at Staples in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets, took care of business, and avoided a monumental upset.  Final score: 89-70, in a game the Lakers  dominated from start to finish.  Today's game was all about defense (see below).  LA held the Rockets scoreless until the 6:53 mark of the first quarter and allowed only 31 points at halftime.  Overall, it was the sort of focused, concentrated effort that would have ended this series a couple games earlier had the Lakers delivered. 

Trevor Ariza dunks against the Rockets So what now?

While I do feel there's some value for the Lakers in having been tested by a must-win Game 7, experience that could come in handy down the road, I won't say they benefit from putting themselves in this spot.  No question it would have been better to finish Houston on Thursday in Texas.  The Lakers are through to the Western Conference Finals.  It's a blank slate, a fresh start.  Spotty play against the Rockets doesn't make them less likely to beat Denver, nor does "being tested" make them better prepared.  I'm not much for carry over.

Bottom line, the Lakers still have the potential to advance to the Finals.  They should, and I think they will.  But they'll have to play better against the Nuggets to make it happen.  One thing we have seen, though, is that as challenges become larger (be they big regular season games against Boston and Cleveland, or today's do-or-die), the Lakers tend to get better.  That's a pattern Lakers fans will hang on heading forward.  Great win today. 

Breakdown below. 

BK

Three Good

  • Defense:  A complete defensive showing on boatload of fronts.  The Rockets  managed just 37% shooting, that dry outing's tone set during the first quarter, when a mere quintet of the enemy's twenty shots connected.  The Lakers kicked off that frame on an 8-0 and more than half of the quarter elapsed before Chuck Hayes notched the first Rocket field goal.  The Lakers forged a relentless, successful effort to maintain distance between Houston and their interior (only thirty points in the paint, a third during fourth quarter garbage time). 

    And during those occasions a Rocket did work his way into the paint, he rarely encountered sledding easy or uncontested. After a Pau Gasol stretches for a rebound Game 6 left to run unfettered, Luis Scola enjoyed just 11 points on 4-12 shooting.  Thursday's partner-in-crime, Aaron Brooks, also found life less than pleasant, canning just as few shots while taking one additional attempt.  A 3-10 stinker from Ron Artest (whose lust for dribbling brought many a Rockets possession to a standstill) completed the ring when it came corralling to Houston's Big Three.

    But as mentioned, the defensive success wasn't limited simply to the lockdown.  Houston missing that many shots means the opportunity for rebounds and second chance points.  Well, it theoretically means such chances, just not this afternoon.  The Lakers absolutely dominated the glass, pulling down 55 boards to Houston's 33.  In particular, Pau Gasol channeled his "inner- Rodman."  Not just in the way he snared eighteen boards by his damn self (although that certainly wasn't anything to sneeze at), but with an aggressive nose for putbacks.  His six offensive boards bested Houston's entire tally by one and accounted for nine of his 21 points.  On both sides of the ball, quite the redemptive effort for El Spaniard, reversing his fortunes after a lethargic Game 6 thoroughly outplayed by Scola. 

    Trevor Ariza blocks Aaron Brooks If that weren't enough, fifteen turnovers were forced, five from Brooks alone.  The Lakers swatted ten shots, and save lil' 6'1" Derek Fisher, every starter not only hosted the block party, they all had at least two apiece. 

    Despite executing a much better offensive brand of basketball- rim attacked, size mismatches abused, ball moved- the Lakers didn't meet with the same prolific results as typically encountered after that approach.  But when they play such "hair on fire" D, they can get by when their own bucket proves stubborn. 
  • Andrew Bynum:  No Laker has taken more postseason heat than Andrew Bynum, touted by many as the team's missing piece after 2008's stalled Finals run.  Instead, we've seen Bynum's production, alertness and energy ebb and flow to wildly inconsistent (and mostly ineffective) degrees.  This was perfectly exemplified by Game 5's move to the starting lineup (5-6 FG, 14 points, 6 rebounds) and the Game 6 encore, his third goose egg effort of the series.  I don't disagree with some fans that Phil Jackson has occasionally put Bynum on a leash too short (in particular, I thought he should have played more during Game 6), but that criticism comes while acknowledging an undeniable truth: Bynum's court time has often resembled a lost puppy that wandered into freeway traffic.  More often than not, such scenarios result in road kill.

    As a result, nobody had a clue what to expect from Drew this afternoon, but as far as surprises go, this one fell under the category of "more than pleasant."  Bynum set this tone from the jump, anchoring the Lakers' paint and acting as the postseason force envisioned.  Blocking a layup fromAndrew Bynum takes the ball from Aaron Brooks Hayes.  Literally vacuuming a layup from Brooks, creating a new Laker possession concluded by a Trevor Ariza three-ball.  Standing his ground during a Scola drive to force a bad shot, effort rewarded with a trip to the line after Luke Walton played Peyton Manning and caught AB17 on the run in transition. 

    Drew was good on both charity stripe tries, and as a 6-7 shooting performance reflects, good from just about everywhere he hoisted.  Bynum accumulated fourteen points through composed, overpowering putbacks (as opposed to Thursday's rush jobs), going glass after spins around defenders, and doing most anything but dunking.  (Editor's note: There actually was one dunk off a small lob from Ariza.).  Success (largely) flush-free only further demonstrates how much comfortably Drew operated this afternoon, a hopeful sign of good things to come against the Nuggets.  Between Nene, Chris Anderson and Kenyon Martin, Denver's inside presence isn't lacking.  Big contributions from Drew may not make or break hopes for advancement.  But the goal does become considerably more difficult. 
  • Kobe Bryant: Another contest against Houston where Kobe's shots and the net weren't simpaticoKobe Bryant defends Ron Artes , and during this 4-12/14 point effort, I read some live blog comments along the lines of "Kobe having a terrible game."  I couldn't disagree more, and think that's a very narrow way of judging his production.  For starters, you'd be overlooking the complete nature of his stat line, which includes seven boards, five assists (against just one turnover), three steals and a pair of blocks, one absolutely spectacular coming from the weak side to compliment Gasol sticking Scola during a drive. 

    But beyond that, I really enjoyed the way Kobe didn't allow whatever frustration felt over it not being his afternoon (shot-wise) to result in a series of forced, bad shots.  There was no effort to "put his stamp" on the game (a cliche some writers use to express "scored a bazillion points"), and such discipline was plenty instrumental in the Lakers sticking to a game plan, abusing Houston with their strengths and not walking away from possessions unnecessarily empty-handed. 

    As the anti-drunk driving campaigns remind us, sometimes you gotta know when to say when.  Kobe used similar good judgment, a call that played a sizable role in controlling the Lakers' action.

Zero Bad

FYI: Youtube issues are preventing a video post, but we'll have those up ASAP.

AK

 
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Well Done Lakers!

8 down 8 to go.


I am a laker fan, but i must say some of the laker fans on here get really negative when the lakers lose...they say all kind of terrible things about the team...i've never panicked the whole series...i even said if rockets beat the lakers in a 7-game series, i would quit watching basketball...it's not because i took anything away from the rockets because they are really good team...but i just knew from the start that L.A was the better team...L.A has been underestimating teams the whole year...so going against this banged-up houston team makes them realize that you can't take anything for granted...

I think as fans, we need to trust our team no matter what...again success doesn't come easy guys...don't expect the lakers to sweep or beat teams by 4-1...maybe, there are two games 7 waiting for us before we raise that trophy...but when L.A loses, just relax...it's part of it...playoffs is all about making adjustments and match-ups...none of the 5 teams left as of right now match well with the lakers...maybe orlando is, but whether they will be there is a big question mark...houston prepares us for more adversity...that's pretty good for us...

anyway, let's go L.A
as good as denver has been playing...this s*** is not gonna happen in our house...not with kobe and PJ as the leaders of this team...noooooo...never........

BELIEVE

After that rollercoaster ride we needed the 7 games to makes us tougher and just maybe this series was a blessing in disguise.

That is the Andrew Bynum we need.
Ariza Great Game!
Gasol went from limp noodle to STUD overnight.

Glad I can start breathing again.

BD

Since we're all in a good mood, make sure you check the Kobe-Lebron Championship Rings commercial...

I laugh every single time...Every time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP-p9i85sNc&NR=1

LAKERS PLAY BEASTBALL…

It was a testament to the Lakers strength that the 4 players with the highest +/- scores from today’s Western Conference Semi-Finals Game 7 were Kobe Bryant and the Beasts, the Lakers vaunted front court trio of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom. Kobe basically played facilitator and stat-filler posting 14 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in just 22 minutes, leaving the heavy lifting for the Lakers Three Beasts.

Pau Gasol rebounded from a terrible Game 6 to produce his best performance yet in this year’s playoffs with a team-high 21 points on 10-19 shooting, 18 boards including 6 on the offensive glass, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 3 blocked shots. More importantly, Pau came out very aggressive on offense and on the boards. And after getting embarrassed defensively in the first half, Pau really picked it up in the second half and played better defense. Aside from his 1st half defense and 5 turnovers, Pau was great and Player of the Game.

Andrew Bynum set the tone from the start for the Lakers defensively as LA jumped out a big lead. Any blogger who doubts Drew’s importance to this team’s defense just had to watch the first half of this game. When Drew was in the game, there were literally zero
baskets made by the Rockets in the paint. As soon as Drew went out, the Rockets posted up Scola who once again took Pau to school, making two quick layups off post up moves. Bottom line, Drew’s presence and play on court are the keys to the Lakers defense.

Drew also played superbly on offensive, scoring 14 points on 6-7 shooting, with 6 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocked shots, and only 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 22 minutes. The only negative about Drew’s performance was Phil once again taking him out right after a foul as if to save him for later, but then not even giving him any chance to play in the 4th quarter, while Pau racked up 12 minutes more than any player and twice the playing time as Drew. Phil needs to give Drew some minutes in the 4th quarter as we will need his defense then.

Lamar also had a superb game for the Lakers even though he only scored 6 points, with 7 boards, 3 assists, and 1 blocked shot in 24 minutes. Throw in a fine night by Trevor Ariza with 15 points on 5-7 shooting, 5 boards, 1 assist, and 2 blocked shots and contributions across the board from Derek Fisher, who played better defense and hit a couple shots, Jordan Farmar, who also played good defense and played under control, and Sasha Vujacic, who finally showed signs of breaking out of his prolonged shooting slump.

Finally, kudos to Phil Jackson for continuing to play power inside-out basketball and for the Lakers as a team for going out and executing the game plan on the court. All told, the Lakers front court trio of beasts scored 41 points on 18-31 shooting, grabbed 31 boards, dished 4 assists, made 2 steals, and blocked 6 shots. The final result was the Lakers outshooting the Rockets from the field 47-37%, from beyond the arc 33-28%, and from the foul line 78-64%, dominating them on the boards 55-33 and blocked shots 10-3.

Hats off also to Kobe Bryant for realizing that the best and smartest thing for this team to do is to focus their offense on getting the ball in the hands of Pau, Drew, and Lamar in the paint and playing inside-out basketball. That is the key to us winning the championship. We got a glimpse during this game of where this team is headed and how Kobe’s role will be changing as Drew continues to emerge and Pau learns how to play more aggressively. Beastball is going to develop this and future Lakers teams’ primary weapon.

Bring on the Nuggets. 8 more wins to the championship. Release the Beasts.
Enjoy the troll-and-Fakerholic-free Sunday. Lakers – 2009 NBA Champions!

Tom

Sweet, sweet victory!

Now we need to flush it & move on.

8 more to go before this camper will be completely happy.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!! WE GOT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW - AK - I couldn't agree more regarding Kobe's game. He was well-rounded in his approach, doing what needed to be done but not forcing anything. He plays like that & we are unstoppable.

Also loved the resurgeance of Socks. I'm looking forward to Laker Tom's posts!!

GO SHOW!

Pau reminds me of C-Webb, albeit a taller, less athletic version. Both are excellent passers, mid-range shooters, can use both hands around the rim, good jump-hooks, and are finesse players. Not bad at all. Although Pau didn't dominate the way I expected him to in this series, his play was critical for us winning the series.

In the next series, I expect Drew to come out and dominate Nene and Birdman. That'll be the key matchup against Denver. Drew will only continue to get stronger and more confident as the playoffs progress.

Nice Post K Bros

I agree, I thought Kobe had a great game, esp since he didn't take a lot of bad shots like he did in game 6. I thought his shot selection was key today.

Lets see how they play Tuesday.

Hey, we had our feet put to the fire and beat a team we should have beaten.

The ONLY thing I can complain about is I think we lost some offensive focus during the fourth quarter.

Otherwise, an overall well-played game at the right energy.

This team, when they play at the level that they should play at, is absolutely fricken awesome.

I'm hoping this gut check will keep the moutains higher and the valleys not so deep.

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

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

GO LAKERS!!!!!

Ill admit I worried over whether that would be the last game of the year. I sweated over the K bros.' point that Kobe's star would be forever tarnished. But I ALWAYS KNEW THEY HAD IT IN THEM.

So glad to see a small flash of what Drew is capable of. It makes the story perfect that he just started to come back from his injury on the 7th game. If he continues to accelerate, we'll be unbeatable. Look for Jordan and Sasha to start to improve as well.

GOOoooOO LAKERS! GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

BLOG CRUE
Now we can start talking Western Conference Championship and the Nuggets. I give credit to the Rockets and the lessons they taught us. Hopefully we remember the heart and determination and benefit from it.

I'm make a great effort to support the purple and gold next week up in the mile high city.

COLORADO LOVES THE LAKERS!

STRANGE

It was strange sitting in an arena where it felt like a third of the fans were upset at having to be there for a game 7.

This should have been over? As Kobe said, there are fans, and then there are Laker fans.

Laker fans look ahead, where Denver is dominating and Cleveland has yet to drop a game.

This was a strange 7 game series. I'd say it was a good test and all that, but the games weren't close enough to learn much from them. It's not like we had to clutch out wins like the Celtics have had to.

We were that good, and that bad. Just a strange series, possibly because of our youth?

No worries, they've got a few days to grow up.

At least i'll be able to get a good nights sleep tonight!

Great game from the start.

This game was over in the 1st quarter

now... STICK IT TO DENVER!!

GO LAKESHOW!!

LIGHTS OUT!!!

Hugo - I KNOW you're going to a Laker game in Denver, right? LOL! Make sure you're LOUD & REPRESENT the P&G!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love this team!

GO LAKERS!!!! WE GOT THIS!!!!!!!

ok - send in the trolls.....

I for one, never thought the Rockets would roll over and allow the Lakers to just take the series. They are pros just like the Lakers, and they also wanted to win. I give them their respect for the challenge they handed the Lakers.

It is not a badge of honor that a team should steam roll their opponent. It is called the playoffs, and the best team in the end is the champion. The Lakers are no different than any other team in the playoffs as far as a desire to win. I congratulate the Rockets, but on the other hand, I believe, contrary to some naysayers, the Lakers are not going to just hand the Nuggets the series, no matter how good the Nuggets are playing. I just don't believe you have to wear your emotions (killer instinct) on your sleeve to prove you have the heart of a champion.

Anyone watching the other Game 7?

Magic up 17 on the weeners with 7 1/2 left in the 4th.

Do you smell an upset??? I'm thinking I do!

Lakers in 7. I honestly don't trust them to stay focused enough to do it in 5 or 6.

In other news.

1 AND DONE!
CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!!!

1 AND DONE!
CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!!!

1 AND DONE!
CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!!!

1 AND DONE!
CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!!!

And in your house, Red. Po Mr. 131!

LakerTom,

Brother, Thuggets Trolls will storm the joint tomorrow.

I'm ready.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Great win. Hats off to the Rockets, they played great playoff D without resorting to hacking, and they have tons of heart. I really couldn't hate anything by this opponent. The Nuggets are next: expect the Lakers to not take them lightly, and expect some ejections.

Btw, wheres that Celtics troll right now hmmmm? I hope he doesn't stop posting after his team's...you know. I hope he posts here again so we can offer him some consolation and encouragement.

I will enjoy beating the Thuggets more than Rockets.

The Rockets did show heart.

The Thuggets just show tattoos.

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

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

LOL utz!!

I'm waiting to hear how this will be a weener moral victory or some other nonsense.

1 and done - HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

C'mon 131 - tell us how this is a GOOD thing!!

Jon K - locked & loaded.

Bring on the trolls - we are sooooo ready.

The Magic are serving the Celtics a second round exit. Oh well, bearing a miracle they are done.

CALM, COOL LAKERS BRING EASE TO LA-LA LAND
by Ramona Shelburne for CBSSports.com

http://tinyurl.com/q327zg

Great quotes from Phil Jackson about why he was not worried about the Lakers playing a seventh game. Something a lot of Fakerholics and doubters on the blog should consider.
Something about believing in your team. Here is the excerpt:

>>>

On Sunday morning, one prominent local columnist raised the idea that Jackson had lost touch with this team and should take the blame if they had succumbed to the Rockets.

Considering the way the Lakers dominated the Rockets in Game 7, leading by 20 points or more for most of the game, it's now fair to say Jackson and his team probably knew something no one else did the whole time.

"You see your team play and you know that they can play at a better level than they're playing -- you believe that because they've been able to do it so many times," Jackson said, when asked how he had remained so calm throughout the hard-fought series.

"During the course of the season, we just weren't taken out of ball games. That was one of the things that was the mark of this team. There were only a handful of games where we didn't have an opportunity to win; regardless of whether we won or lost, we still were there to have a chance.

"That becomes a belief factor, and you have to believe if you're going to be at this level of the game. You have to believe as a player, and you have to believe in your players as a coach."

>>>

And you have to believe in your team as a fan. Thanks, Phil.

Tom

Lakers advance, Celtics are toast. Great day in Laker nation.

Lakers need to remain focused and really hand it to the Nuggets. I think the Lakers match up much better with the Nuggets then they do with the Rockets.

Sasha will need to step up and be a real pest to JR Smith. JR is a ltitle better than our buddy Von Wafer. I also like the Fisher-Billups matchup better as well. Lamar can stay with Melo and Bynum and Pau should have a field day on Nene.

Nuggets have a good offense but we have a better one. I would really like Luke and the rest of our role players to get in a real good groove going in to the Finals.

Can't wait to go to the game on Tuesday, just bummed its a stupid 6pm start, doesn't the NBA know people work, screw the east coast.

Lamar = Finals MVP

GO LAKERS

I have dual residence in LA and Houston. When I go back next week, it's going to be so sweet knowing I'll be watching the Lakers in the next round vs. the Rockets. I don't think I'll chance wearing my Laker gear though. That's only because of the female thing.

The Green Weenies are Goners!

Without having the disturbance calls today, the Lakers played very good. I do agree that this should have been a learned lesson and we all as Laker fans need to thank Houston for given us that reality.

This Laker team is great, but this team needs to respect the league on this level of play.

Nice job team! Lets move on now to the Western Conference Finals and take it a game at a time.

Go Lakers!

Dear Red, Mr. 131 & Let's Go C's

Now you know what Game 6 felt like. Don't feel good, does it?

FORMER NBA Champions. I'll say it again... FORMER NBA Champions. Get used to it. You'll be hearing that for the next 20 years.

Love,

The Fans Of The Los Angeles Lakers...who have an NBA game to play on Tuesday.

Effective immediately, You Know Who's new name is 101-82.

131-92 (and Red's Bastard Child),

Your team disappointed me tonight. I was actually hoping they
could gut it out and get back to the finals to give the Lakers a
chance to avenge last year's finals loss.

It's ironic that the two game 7's came down to the Lakers playing
stifling defense (Houston shot 37%) and Boston's defense
wasn't there (Orlando shot 51%).

Better luck next year.

Jon,

>>> Brother, Thuggets Trolls will storm the joint tomorrow.

You have to give the KamBros credit for smart marketing. Linking the blog up to other team’s blogs may have added some irritating bothersome traffic for most of us to scroll by but it definitely has expanded the blog’s reach and jacked up the hits. It’s what it is and you’re right, AK and BK will probably roll out the virtual red carpet for the Thuggets Trolls with tomorrow’s post with co-hosted live chats or play days or whatever. LOL!

Anyway, I forgot to thank you for that splurge of heartfelt pre-game drive-away-the-trolls posts. I love your enthusiasm and love of the Lakers. We’re going to ride it to the title. Keep it coming, Jon. That’s what we play for. Only 8 more wins to Nirvana and Dynasty. Bring on the Thuggets. Melo will melt. Birdman will be clipped. Chauncey will choke. George will hang his head. Kobe and the Beasts will prevail in no more than 5 games.

Tom

Hi AK:

I have been an A.H. in my invisible comments. I got to tell you, your denial that the LA LK are not a great team bugged me alot. It caused punk as___ commments.

Especially from a transplant. A transpant! Well so am I, as are most here in paradise. My wife a So CALIc girl is oblivious to our passion for our teams and its history.

Today, was a great OK keep it going while my Son keep saying Dad they are crushing them. Why so serious?

Good win, journery, a campaign to follow. I am probably not a mouth piece. Big Surpirise? Passionate YESSSS!

Team game, pressure DF win's games. Denver is a whole new deal in less than two days. They match up well.

More smack talk to you is a no. I am not angry anymore. Their desinty is in their hands, and an old man like me will live with it.

You are a great blogger, have faith, and enjoy the story.

No more negative BS from me.

mHS

Perhaps a certain Boston troll should change his name to...

101-82.

Or how about just 1? It's short for 1 and Done. Or the 1 Hit Wonders.

2009 Boston Celtics = 2007 Miami Heat.

LOL again utz!!

Man - you are cold LOL!

But seriously folks - ummm I mean TROLLS - see ya in 20 years. Been nice knowing you (NOT). Don't let the screen door hit you in the ass on your way out to pasture. Or was it fishing?

....AND THE WINDOW CLOSES.

No repeats since 1969!!! No championships in 22 years. A core that's over 30 and looks every bit that old....and a bunch of talent-less "hardworkers". Other than Rajon, there is no future in the Celtics. As always, they will only be known for their past, but the Lakers will be known as the present and the future.

never thought it possible...

Boston gets their asses kicked at home!!!

They did look very old out there!!!!

Let's take a moment to congratulate the Boston Celtics on their One-Peat.

Sincerely,

101-82

Speaking of chores, the Magic just took out the trash.

Top 10 Excuses From Celtic Fans

10. Big Baby never should have cut his hair into a mohawk.

9. Rondo gets fouled every time he touches the ball and the Refs don't call it. Darn Refs!

8. Kendrick Perkins should have sucker punched Dwight Howard in the jaw in the 3rd Quarter.

7. Paul Pierce's steroid dealer missed his train to the Garden. Friggin Public Transit!

6. We missed a payment to Stu & David.

5. Somebody chopped the head off our Umbutu statue.

4. They lost on purpose so they wouldn't have to play the Lakers

3. Some idiotic Orlando fan kept holding up a fishing pole in the stands everytime Pierce & Ray took a shot.

2. We never should have signed Stephon Marbury

1. Without KG, we're nothing.

Have a nice summer, FORMER NBA CHAMPS!

BOSTON SUCKS!!!

Celtics Lose!!! Ding dong the witch is dead! I just love seeing the sullen faces of those band wagon Celtics fans like that joke of an actor Ben Afflick. Loved it!!!

MHS -

Hey. I appreciate the nice words. I'm not quite sure how or why I rubbed you the wrong way to begin with, but no worries. Water under the bridge. And I certainly haven't been trying to talk negatively about the Lakers, but rather give my honest assessment of things good and bad. I really do try to call it like I see it.

Also, just so you know, I may be a transplant, but I moved to L.A. in 1990 and have now lived here longer than the city I grew up in. This is where I consider home. Also, the Lakers were the first pro basketball team I ever rooted for. And I still root for them like a fan (even though I cover them for a job).

Not sure how much that means to you (nor does it really matter if it does), but just to provide a little back story.

Hope you enjoy the blog and the rest fo the playoffs.

AK

Lakers show talent in Game 7 but need more heart
by Mark Kriegel for FoxSports.com

http://tinyurl.com/oduqoj

Excellent column by Mark Kriegel discussing Phil Jackson’s handling of Andrew Bynum and what Bynum means to the Lakers. Here is excerpt:

>>>

In fact, Gasol is among of the best weak side big men in the world. He might be a 7-footer, but he's not a center, true or otherwise. That job belongs to Andrew Bynum. And more than anything, it's the resurgent Bynum that should give the "bi-polar" Lakers — Kobe's term, not mine — confidence against their next opponent, the well-rested Denver Nuggets.

The 21-year-old Bynum scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, with six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Bigger than those numbers, however, was the way he played defense. He made the correct rotations and was especially, and justifiably, proud that "I cut off the baseline." In other words, he didn't give his coach any reason to sit him.

>>>

It's definitely easier to play when you play more," said Bynum.

I wonder if there's a more Zen way of saying that.

Maybe something like: I like it when the coach doesn't jerk me around.

After looking at the final stat sheet, Phil Jackson said of Bynum: "We'd like him to have more touches than he had." The coach issued an addendum, of course. "The reality is he's a cleanup guy."

Translation: Bynum's main concerns are the boards and the basket, especially as it pertains to impeding the path of those who are driving to it.

"The thing we want him to grasp is how active his defense has to be to for him to become the player we want him to be, the player who can change who we are defensively," said Jackson.

I get it, though I'm not sure Bynum always does. Even after a game like this, you talk to him and he gives you the impression of a kid who's still trying to memorize the right answers.

>>>

Tom

What a humiliating beatdown, on the Cs homecourt no less.

As our green trolls would say:

NEVER OVERESTIMATE THE HEART OF A CELTIC!

This turned out to be one of the best week-ends EVER!

Lakers go to the WCF.

Celtics go fishing.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Seriously - this is absolutely delicious! I will savor this until Tuesday, and then it's back to business.

8 more - LET'S GO LAKERS!

Too bad about the Celtics.

{Wild uncontrolled manical laughter.}

Man, I hate the Celtics.

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

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

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

Did y'all see Bill's post-game comments on TNT? Dude is NUTS!!!

Glad Celtics lost. Now let's go fry us some nuggets.

KAREEM ABDUL-TWITTER…

From Dave McMenamin’s NBA Blog:

>>>

Bynum asserted himself on defense in the first, collecting five rebounds and two blocks, the second was about offense causing Lakers special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to tweet from his Twitter account @kaj33: “Bynum is getting it done tonight” in the middle of the game from his seat on the sidelines.

>>>

Tom

Listening to Barkley and his sidekicks is sickening. How can someone that has never won a championship possibly know what it means to win games with a sense of urgency. That's amazing....He is so green with envy, he's pathetic. Besides the Lakers don't need his support anyway. I remember him saying the same thing about Denver and Lakers last year. He was wrong then, just like he is wrong about a lot of things he says. Hatred makes you blind, and say stupid things.

Ugh, Kenny and Charles admitted they root against the Lakers (like that was a surprise). Reason? Too talented and not hardworking enough.

Its so typical. Its like hating the good looking valedictorian that has the cheerleader girlfriend, is the starting QB, and has a faster better car. Talent is part of the game too.

Denver is the best team they've ever had.

I hate their Thuggets mentality, but I respect the way they play.

No arrogance. Solid warrior confidence.

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

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

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

There has been a earthquake in southern california,it was pretty big. Can we please get confirmation of all of the lakers and staff. I repeat there has just been a big earthquake in southern california,im in compton and it was hard. Please relay to anyone who has contact with the lakers. Please this can not be happening,the end of the world can wait til july

update to the quake,it has been a confirm that the quake was a 4.7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Pierce should've never said that he was the best player in the world at the beginning of the season. He seemed to have a lot of sour grapes during his post game press conference and wasn't gracious in losing. I thought that he had more character than that and would give the Magic some credit. At least Ray Allen did.

This only proves again that KG, not Pierce is the best player on the Celtics and that he is the heart and soul of that team.

Going into this series, people are portraying us as the bad guy, the underdog. And you know what?

I like it.

My first reaction to Charles never-won-a-ring Barkley, Chris never-won-a-ring Webber and Smittie was one of anger. But let them doubt. Let them call our team undeserving and heartless. They can go on ahead. Call us arrogant. Doubt us, pick the Nugs.

And then when we win it all, pretend you picked em all along. Whatever. Being the underdog is more fun anyways.

Bring on the Nugs!
GOOOOOOOOOOOO LAKERSSSSS!

LG

In a sick kind of way, I was rooting for the Celtics to win tonight so there could be a rematch with the Lakers in the finals. Celtics did not bring it tonight. Is it me so does it appear that most of the TNT announcers are rooting against the Lakers?

Jeff Van Gundy's comment that PJ hass never given any credit to another team. This is coming from a guy that is no longer coaching in the NBA and does not have five rings or tell the difference between Shannon Brown vs. Chris Brown.

Charles Barkley's constant inane comments about the Lakers are ridiculous. This is the same guy that has seriously ballooned in weight and got beat from a girl in push-ups.

I am thinking about muting the TNT sportscasters and putting on the Lakers' commentators for a more balanced commentary. I miss Chickie Baby!

LA area Lakerholics: Is everybody alright? Nice little rumble we had tonight, huh?

I'm happy again -im high right now with my dose of wining- Good win. But we haven't won anything yet.

Small victories for small teams.
For the Lakers, Only the glory is enough.

GO LAKERS!!!

20 years from now, the Lakers will hold an anniversary party highlighting how they defeated a Rockets team without its starting Allstar Center and SF and backup Center. Bynum will be shown on the the big screen bragging how he blocked the backup to the backup center Chuck Hayes shot all night. NOT!

Only Detroit Pistons Bad Boys and Organization are that crass.

To the Rockets and their red glare, Kudos.

I hope the Celtic Trolls come back after their fishing trip and tell us about the "BIG ONE" that got away.

I was looking forward to a rematch in the Finals.

Anyhow. GREAT GAME 7.

GO LAKERS!

I expect Shannon Brown to have an enhanced role against Billups/Danver as a big guard counter.

Also wonder as the L's get deeper into the playoffs - shouldn't the shortened bench include more Brown and less Sasha?

Sash has been seriously awful and Brown has played well and has filled the role of stretching the defense with consistent perimeter shooting.

I'm willing to wait for Sasha to work out his shooting woes in the off season - in favor of giving Brown the minutes needed for him to get into high gear and provide the off the bench impact that could help win a 2009 title.

Thoughts?

Paging Let's Go C's, RED'S LOVE CHILD, 131-92 . . .

"o ye of little faith"

Yes the Lakers still need to PROVE themselves in the WCF but my hope is they will have an easier time with the Nuggets because:

1) The Nuggets are playing great basketball right now (Lakers become inspired enough to show up)

2) The Nuggets are at full strength (Lakers know what to expect)

Now if Billups, 'Melo & K-Mart go down with injuries and are replaced with Larry, Curly & Moe, the Lakers are in trouble.

I still think PJ made a mistake not playing Bynum more, even in such laff-fests such as Game 4 & 6. There's a chance the Magic could make the Finals--they just need one victory in Cleveland. We need a consistent Bynum to counter D Howard. (Could this be another nefarious reason I'm saying Go Cavs?)

8 DOWN, 8 TO GO!!!!!

Onward and upward. I was never worried about this game. If there's one thing consistent about this Laker team, it's that they will always play their best when it matters most. As I said a couple of nights ago, they must play every game from here on out like it's game 7. If they do, they will be getting fitted for rings in a month.

After Thursday's mess of a game, I wrote that since we were playing Sunday regardless, we might as well get one more practice game with Houston before we face the real challenge that is Denver. Bynum getting an extra game might help his confidence and conditioning. Low and behold, AB, had a game we've been hoping we'd get for the last 2 weeks. A great confidence builder going into Tuesday.

Kobe's line was just fine, he did all the necessary things to ensure his team would come out victorious. I guess his legacy is secure for at least another series, right? lol.

Pau was the beast today. I will say that if :Pau plays with this kind of passion and focus, we'll be a very tough team to beat. Our triple towers could be kicking into gear right on schedule. We're locked and loaded going into the WCF. This Houston 7 gamer will be looked back on as the kick this team needed.

For all you fakers out there who trashed this team and the players and coaches Thursday, you should be ashamed to even come back on this blog. It's one thing to criticize, it's another to jump ship and disown the team. For those who did, please don't come back, your comments just waste space.

Go Lake Show, Denver is next to go down.

The one positive I can take by having the series go seven is that it gave Drew more games to wake up and more games for the bench to get their mojo back...

As for the Nuggets they dont have anyone who can guard kobe, jones doesnt have a chance and they usually try to throw kleiza and K-mart at him which doesnt work...

I was not nervous before game 7, if Lakers win game 5 with only 3, 4 points, i would worry, i believe in Lakers, and Houston did not have enough fire power to beat Lakers, Scola ? Artest?Battier ? No.

Today is the happy day in Lakers Nation, Lakers will play in Western conf final, and Boston lost. I don't think Paul Pierce should got MVP last year. He was lucky, because he had Ray Allen who helped him out when Paul had a bad game. Now, people found out that Paul Pierce is not super star, who can carry his team to Eastern conf final.

Enjoy the ride,

" I miss Chickie Baby!"

Many after him wants to copy him, after 6 years nobody came close to the charisma, knowledge of Lakers basketball and most probably would be accused as No. 1 Fakerholic for always being at the edge of his seat. He would never not mention his Ref unless he was definitely sure of the outcome. Oh I we lost the good portion of our Laker basketball with Chickie Baby.

Celtic mystique turned into Celtic mistake. After winning one in 2008, their celebration went overboard. I hope they will sleep another 20 years and compete again in 2029. Let's Go C & Red as well as 131 never stopped trumping their achievement as if it will last forever. Well, as the saying goes: What goes around comes around - their karma started when they lost KG and Powe towards the end of the season. Then, the mercenaries they hired at the end of the year were no factors. No more McHake to turn too for help! The Celtic thugs: Perkins, Rondo and Davis could not flatten the modern Superman who can't buy a free throw. But his supporting cast were great and steady than the Bulls. In he first place, the Magic are better than the Bulls in disposing turnover-proned Celtics. Most important to the Lakers fans, no more Celtic garbage in our bins, leprechauns will be dead quiet from now on.

Congratulations Orlando Magic for a job well done.

Apparently LA itself was happy for the Lakers today ... maybe tonight would have been the BIG ONE if the Lakers had failed to show up ;)

I'm kind of shocked about the C*ltics ... except that all year long I have really felt that Orlando is a dangerous team. If we were to make it to the finals, they are the team (out of the entire league) that I would least like to see ...

I always enjoy the TNT crew and honestly, the best thing the media can do right now is hype the Nuggets and trash the Lakers. I'm happy with whatever trash talk they can throw our way; this team plays much better as the "underdogs." This is going to be a heck of a series, I think we matchup well but Denver is playing some pretty incredible basketball ... looking forward to it.

You know your Lakerholism is out of control when your dreams the night before Game 7 are absolutely dominated by Game 7 ... I'm looking forward to getting some good sleep tonight.

I love LA!!!

C'mon, Celtics trolls, we know you're reading this. We just want to be a shoulder for you to cry on, honestly. We're here for you. The refs were paid off to let the Magic win. Piece ate a bad burrito before the game. Eddie House didn't get enough sleep last night. KG was out, its not like Orlando didn't lose an Allstar PG or nothing. You have all the excuses in the world. We understand. Lets hear from ya'll.

AK,

about your comment that you are a laker fan...kobe's comment about, "l.a writers are lakers' fans anyways, so they panic" something to that effect.

he was right, some writers, do panic like fans do.

not you of course. but OTHERS

DWK

I agree I want to see more of shannon brown his energy and shot are something we need and his size will help against billups...as for sasha i still like his feisty defense but i would rather have brown getting those minutes because of his consistency on offense and ability to get to the hole

I expect a highly contested series against Denver with the Lakers winning in 6 games........Kobe will dominate all would be defenders and Andrew will put a string of consistent games together to relieve Pau of the responsibility of battling Nene, K.Mart, Birdman alone.......As I stated on an earlier post, it would be great to see Phil match Denver's physicality with DJ and Powell getting mins. instead of Luke....... and Shannon getting Sasha's wasted mins........After this Denver series the Lakers will be battle tested and officially tough enough to win it all THIS YEAR........PHIL GET BYNUM THE BALL EARLY TO ESTABLISH HIM MENTALLY...........Leave the Zen crap for the off season and coach this young/inexperienced team to a Chip......The Lakers biggest advantage is Kobe and Denver's biggest advantage is their bench........Productive play from Andrew will tip the scales in the Lakers favor.........Hopefully Phil will mix up his substitutions and play guys who are earning the mins. ......We should see: Shannon, Kobe, LO, Bynum, Pau on the floor to finish games........Shannon is strong enough to play "Mr. Big Shot", Kobe will take Donte Jones out of the series, LO will do his best to cover Mello(Mello will however get the better of him), Bynum will take Nene, and Pau will play K.Mart.....With this line up the Lakers can match Denver on the glass and play their best defensively.......Trevor/DJ/Powell should be used to provide toughness as role players to match the production of J.R. Smith, Kleiza, Birdman off the bench........We have all the pieces available to win it all........Phil this seriesl may very well come down to your adjustments ........Drop the stubborn pride and lead your team from the sidelines

Lakers 2009 NBA CHAMPS


PL

The Lakers played a great game.

We can rest for a short time until Denver comes to town.

When the Lakers play like this - hustling, energetic, focused, playing well defensively, playing as a team - they cannot be beaten by any existing team. The game becomes entertaining, peaceful, enjoyable, time well-spent.

As a long-time 30-year + Laker fan, it is disgusting when they do not play with fire. It is such a waste to see them play without any care or energy. We have the right to be angry and hard of them when they do so. They waste our time and money when they play without any heart.

I hope this game is a learning experience for the team as a whole. Phil Jackson can only lead the proverbial horse to water. But he can't make it drink.

Championship teams SEIZE the moment. They TAKE the win away from the other team. Nothing is handed out to you. You have to TAKE it yourself.

I hope a new attitude is born on our players.

Great win! That's what i want to see from the Lakers, play with fire, passion, and hustle!! On another note, where is Troy who had the nerve to call Gasol a "bastard." Seriously dude, how old are you? Gasol might not be a beast like Shaq, Howard, etc but calling him a "bastard?" Gasol is far from being a bastard! He is an intellectual gentleman compared to some "thugs" in the NBA. Seriously how old are you Troy? You are way out of line! I am one of those Lakerholics out there who will support their team, win or lose!!! Go Lakers!!

as for all the TNT commentators praising the Nuggets...i think the only guy that is really unbiased is EJ because he was arguing that the nuggets competition in these playoffs hasnt been that great...both teams they played dont have much defense and the jazz and depleted rockets are better than NO and Mavs

You know the tnt crew has their points I agree the lakers have been up and down that's true but I don't agree with them about being undeserving. Okay so Lakers haven't played to the best of their abilities I understand that but to say their undeserving is far off. At times they don't show the emotion/passion but when it really mattered they step up and win games.
If they are undeserving like kenny said then teams should beat them and if they can't than too bad for them because the best team wins championships in the end and I think lakers are the best teams when everyone brings their a game.
For chuck I sensed a bit of bitterness rather than being angry. As Laker fans we are angry when they don't play but a loss is a loss and we move on. Yeah their inconsistent but it doesn't take away how great of a team this Lakers squad is.

A great win today of course. it's funny, I don't really enjoy watching blow-outs, unless it's my own team doing the dominating and then I revel in it.

I'm not taking the next series lightly, at all. Denver is playing very solid, physical ball right now. We have a battle ahead. I'm glad we don't get much rest or time off, I think we need to go in with motivation and momentum for game one.


Shane Battier picked the Lakers to beat the Nuggets saying they played a NO team that was falling apart and a Dallas team without Josh Howard and have yet to be tested.

Battier is a class act. He'll be a player union president when Fish packs it in.

Guys,
By my account Drew had a couple dunks today. One was a put back jam and the other was a alley oop from Luke.

I agree with Battier's comments and as for the lakers they are and will always be a team that plays to the level of their competition, its been a staple of phil jackson laker teams...i remember being frustrated in the dynasty era when the lakers for example would go to indiana and lay an egg when they were clearly better that the pacers or just not get up for games against weak teams eg. the bucks...im not surprised but I am always frustrated with it...

AK,
actually Baby Bynum had two dunks. The allly-op and also then one of the put back variety. Just making sure you guys get your facts straight so in 1000 years from now basketball historians can look back in your blog and not be mislead.

Yeah, the TNT guys suck, but they're not nearly as annoying as TJ Simers' desperate schoolyard "show me some respect" antics with Phil. What about the effect that's having on the team?

Kudos to the Lakers for taking care of business. I think they wanted the pressure and the emotion on some level —

Now onward.

Hope they kick ass in Denver and then have some fun vs Lebron and company.

best from España,

R J Harris

http://www.MagicalSpain.com

“USA’s Spain Custom Travel, Event & Tour Gurus since 1998 "

I rest my case.. no trolls today...

Denver is a good test to see if we really is Championship worthy...

Go Lakers!!!

Go Kobe!!!

"Listening to Barkley and his sidekicks is sickening. How can someone that has never won a championship possibly know what it means to win games with a sense of urgency. That's amazing....He is so green with envy, he's pathetic. Besides the Lakers don't need his support anyway. I remember him saying the same thing about Denver and Lakers last year. He was wrong then, just like he is wrong about a lot of things he says. Hatred makes you blind, and say stupid things. "

I agree. To hear Kenny and Charles was sickening. But I guess TNT doesn't pay them for their unbiased opinions. I don't like hearing it, though. Charles sounds bitter, and Kenny - not sure why he'd jump on that bandwagon. I've decided they need to be taken with less than a grain of salt.

Yesterday was a great win. Lakers got into the paint, were aggressive, and Houston didn't have a chance. It was great!

Here we come Denver, ready or not...

>>>Also wonder as the L's get deeper into the playoffs -
>>>shouldn't the shortened bench include more Brown and
>>>less Sasha?
>>>
>>>Sash has been seriously awful and Brown has played
>>>well and has filled the role of stretching the defense with
>>>consistent perimeter shooting.

I'm kinda up and down on this thought.

Certainly Shannon Brown has mostly played well at the end of
the season and during the playoffs, and Sasha has shot poorly
most of the time.

On the defensive side, they are both aggressive defenders.
Sasha is 3 inches taller and he does tend to get under people's
skin. Nobody has ever tried to choke Shannon Brown for
defending them too hard.

On the offensive side, Sasha is very streaky. In his most
recent game, he hit 4 of 7 of his shots, while Brown hit 1 of 3
of his. If Sasha suddenly got on a hot streak, it would be a
HUGE asset to the bench mob.

And even if he doesn't get hot, Sasha has a reputation for
hitting 3-pointers. That means that teams are more likely to
stay at home on him on the 3-point line. Despite the fact that
Brown has been shooting 3's better than Sasha for most of
the playoffs, he doesn't really have that reputation yet, so teams
are more likely to cheat off of him (which is probably why he's
more open on his 3's and hits more of them).

So having Sasha in might mean a little bit more room to operate
for Pau and Drew and Kobe in the lane.

I think they both still offer something to the team. I also haven't
completely given up on Fish. True, he had a TERRIBLE series
with Houston. But like Sasha, Fish is a bit streaky, and he could
easily get his mojo back and play well in the finals. If I was
coach, I would have started Farmar for the last half of the Houston
series, but I'd go back to a stronger Fish to start vs Billups.

Laker wons a tough series against Houston. Houston fans should be prouds of their team which they gave Lakers a battle to the 7th game.

Good Luck in the Western Conference Final against Denver Nuggets.

GOOOOO! Lakers go.


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