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Lakers 111, Rockets 98: Wednesday night is alright for fighting

And that's not even including the part about Rockets coach Rick Adelman sending Von Wafer back to the locker room for an early shower.  As Bill Murray said in "Tootsie"... "That is one nutty hospital."

The breakdown is below.

Three Good

  • Considerably better execution on both sides of the ball, as demonstrated by some stats below
    • A 16-22 first quarter.  Yep, that's 73% from the field.  Double check the math.  It ain't a typo.
    • Houston being held to 35% over the second half.
    • Only eleven turnovers, which could have been shaved down to single digits were it not for a poor second quarter.
    • 23 dimes on 43 buckets.  Me like-ee.
    • Eight blocks (a quartet for Pau Gasol alone) and ten steals

    Also, "ball movement" and "energy" don't appear in a box score, but lest anyone be confused, both positives were also on display by the bushel. 

    Coming into this contest, I was willing to risk coming off like a naive homer or optimist by chalking up Game 1's crapfest in large part to rust accumulated during a week-long layoff.  Yes, the Rockets outplayed the Lakers, and that's not even debatable.  But the purple and gold made much of the work easier for Houston through impatience, sloppiness and brick laying I figured would decrease upon their feet being wet again.  Tonight made me feel like I may have been onto something. 
  • Kobe Bryant:  On the heels of a 14-31 effort where 32 points were produced through so much labor that folks may have wondered if I had secretly slipped on #24's jersey and taken his place, the story was all about Shane Battier's wizardry at making the Mamba work.  And hats off to the Dukie, because he really was successful inducing Kobe into some difficult shots from distance. 

    Well, the Kobe Crowd headlines after Game 2 are likely to be chock full of praise over a 40-point outburst where Bryant was clearly the one in control.   From start to finish, Bryant launched quick, decisive shots before Battier could even raise his infamous "face guarding" mitt, utilized screens, and attacked the rack. 7-11 for 15 quick first quarter points, Bryant laid the groundwork for an attack where he rarely appeared to work harder than need be or desired. 

    By and large, I thought Kobe achieved this 16-27 mark by doing himself the massive favor of a disciplined shot selection.  Taking only three attempts from downtown (two falling), Kobe made a point getting himself closer to the basket whenever possible before letting fly.  There was a beautiful sequence where he posted up Wafer, saw Aaron Brooks arrive with the double, then spun off Von for an easy score.  Kobe can work nearly any guard to his favor in the paint, an approach I enjoy considerably more than when he stands in one place pulling multiple pump fakes or spends too long dribbling either along the arc.  Tonight, Bryant didn't allow Battier (and Houston) to dictate the terms of his game plan. 

    Also, kudos for not allowing himself to get caught up in Ron Ron's circus, and, well, egging Artest into "Ringling Brothers" mode.

    Oh, and more kudos for the "pass off the backboard" bucket after blowing past Battier.  That qualifies as "cool" in my book.
  • Pau Gasol:  Another guy who followed up a series opener where little came easy by discovering his inner-Sade (as you know, she enjoyed her a "smooth operator").  From the first quarter jump (5-5, 13 points), El Spaniard was in a zone where the bucket must have felt open like a Sev-Lev, whether connecting from 10-15 feet, flushing alley oop dunks, or tipping in misses.  His 20 points on 9-13 shooting likely could (and would) have been inflated, had his teammates looked more consistently in his direction during the second half. Gasol also enjoyed mucho success taking it directly to Yao Ming, that aggression putting the 7'6" center on his heels in defense.  As a result, Yao spent the entire game in foul trouble and was reduced to a complete non-factor.

    Extra points were also in order for a play where Gasol's secured a loose ball away from Luis Scola through multiple tips, ran the rock across halfcourt and a few more steps, then chucked a bouncer to set up Trevor Ariza for a dunk.  Sequences like that are always fun, but when they're initiated by a seven-footer, we're talking straight up gold.

AK

Three Bad:

The official explanation, provided by both Fisher (see the video below) and Phil Jackson (kudos to the pair for getting their stories straight before the press conference, a true veteran move for both), was believable to a point.  The Lakers had a foul to give (check), and Fisher intended to deliver it (check).  Unfortunately, Fisher misjudged Scola's location on his way up from the lane, (you're losing me), and in the end, he just wasn't as close as Fisher thought he was when the blow was delivered (um.... no).  I do think that Fish was probably a little surprised at how clean the contact was, in the same way that when you're 170 yards from the pin and pull out a seven iron, then just pure crush the ball and it flies the flag by 25 yards before settling on the next tee box.  What are you gonna do?  But that doesn't mean he wasn't trying to deliver a blow.  You could see Fish load up in preparation.  At best, he got caught with a shoulder/elbow in the cookie jar. 

(One more note: If you get a chance to watch PJ's reaction the question about whether Fish would be suspended, it's worth it.  "No," he scoffed loudly, as if the mere suggestion was analogous to asking him if he'd be starting DJ Mbenga at the two on Friday or riding to work on a unicorn.  This before railing on the inconsistencies of how plays like this are called and defending his guy... a sure sign he thinks the league will take action).
  • Phil's Second Quarter Lineup... and LA's second quarter generally: Down by 14 after one, Rick Adelman opened the second frame with a lineup of wee people in Kyle Lowry, Von Wafer, Aaron Brooks, Chuck Hayes, and Carl Landry.  Three guards, lots of quick.  PJ counters with three guards of his own.  So far, so good... except they were Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar, and Shannon Brown (with LO and Andrew Bynum).  I don't need to pull up the figures on 82 Games.com to know those three guys haven't played much together.  Brown and Farmar may not have appeared on the floor at the same time at all.  Going small is fine, but to not include Kobe in a three guard lineup was a horrible decision.  No surprise that those guys struggled on both sides of the ball, scoring four points in three minutes as the lead went down to seven.  Houston would eventually eliminate the lead entirely later in the quarter, playing against the starters (four of them, at least), but the logic of opening the quarter with a group that needs name tags to recognize each other escapes me.  
Moreover, the Rockets gained a lot of confidence with a little lineup that put a ton of pressure on the Lakers.  Landry went to the line 11 times, en route to 16 points.  I like Carl Landry a lot, but he shouldn't score 16 points in a quarter. The Lakers, both starters and reserves, didn't play well in the second twelve, but the rotations didn't do them any favors.  Fortunately, PJ was a little more judicious in the second half, showing a quicker hook for reserves (particularly Vujacic and Bynum) after they picked up unnecessary fouls.  Given how the Rockets killed LA at the line late Monday night, the Lakers couldn't afford to screw around.
  • Andrew Bynum: I'm not trying to pick on the kid, because I think people are starting to understandDrew foul the difficulty of his situation, coming back with only four games left in the regular season after missing 31 games then trying to ramp up to playoff level hoop while also regaining confidence in a badly injured knee.  But at the same time, it's fair to wonder exactly what the Lakers will get out of him the rest of the way.  In 8:39 of burn Wednesday night, he had a rebound, a block, no points, and three personals.  His best moment probably came on his first touch, when Bynum received the ball in the high post and, instead of forcing a shot, fed a cutting Lamar Odom for an easy deuce.  Good patience, nice play.
There were a couple sequences in the second quarter for which he was pilloried on the live blog when the Rockets grabbed offensive boards, but I'm not really pointing to that sort of thing (both times he boxed out one guy, only to see another swoop in), but overall he's just a tick or two behind most plays, especially defensively.  It's understandable, but given how small the margin of error is at this time of year, it's worth asking how much room the Lakers have to let him get his groove back. 

Like a lot of people, I probably expected too much, too fast.  Or am I just being too kind?

BK

QUOTE MACHINE:

Fisher, on the team's toughness:
  "I think we have to be who we are.  We have guys that have particular styles of play, (who) have particular skill sets that are based more so on skill (and) the ability to score the basketball, (and) the ability to move and not just line up and play physical basketball.  At the same time, we're capable of doing a lot of things out there and we intend to win a championship.  Whatever it takes to do that, that's what we're willing to do.  I don't think it was different last year and I don't think it's any different this year.  We got beat by a better team in the Finals last year."

Walton, on how they're sticking together in the face of physical play: "One of the reasons we lost last year in the Finals is that we weren't physical enough.  They were pushing us around and we didn't push back, so we're going to make sure that's not the reason we lose this year.  We're going to make sure that doesn't happen again."

VIDEOS

Derek Fisher provides an explanation for the contact with Luis Scola that led to his ejection.

You tell us if you're buying it.

Kobe Bryant, on Ron Artest's ejection over an altercation with The Mamba.

If Kobe had gotten a vote, Ron Ron wouldn't have been run run.

Luke Walton, on the ejections and Artest

Luke Walton, on the series' physical play

Pau Gasol, on the same topic

Kobe Bryant, on riding the emotions of a game

 
Comments () | Archives (122)

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Luke Walton played a pretty darn good game. He played excellent defense on Artest by being physically and staying in front. Great job. Needs to make open shots though.

Gasol played exceptional three quarter fronting defense on Yao.

If Rondo did not get suspended, Fisher should not get suspended.

We need to make threes.

Odom needs to make free throws. Please Odom. We need to stop Hayes and Landry from getting offensive boards.

Will Phil consider hacking Hayes to stop momentum and to affect the Rockets offensive rhythm.

Farmar deserves some minutes. Except for that one bone headed layup, he played well.

First! Maybe!

Great Recap. I was lucky enough to be at the game and boy was it crazy. That being said I wanted to respond to your Andrew comments. I agree with the overall gist of them. But his teammates barely looked for him in the post if at all and he only got 8 minutes of run. While it was not particularly clear he was on the court when he was I think your comments are overly harsh, although probably timid compared to most people's ideas about Bynum. I also think that some of the fouls he is being called for are things Yao Ming, Kendrick Perkins and Dwight Howard would not even get called for.

Having been at the game, I also thought that Joey Crawford again made it about him rather than the game. he was obnoxious and rude to everyone I saw him interact with, the players, the coaches, and particularly the score keepers, who I was seated directly behind. The last category is what I found particularly disturbing. He violently waved his hands in front of the scorekeeper's face in order to get his attention rather than be civil. This action might have been understandable had he had something to do as a Ref, but it was a time out and he stood on the court staring at the Lakers Girls for a few minutes. I was just very disappointed in his ability to call the game and I'm surprised he is still employed by the NBA for high profile games.

All that being said. I had an unbelievable time at the game. Great work again as always AK/BK!

Matt

P.S. Get on Twitter Please!

I think if Lakers can survive the Rockets series and beat the Nuggets in what probably will be a tough series, then the Lakers will win the title. If you look at the championship years with kobe and shaq, they had to survive portland in 7. Then they were just too darn good the second year, but already proved themselves the previous year. Then their third title, they had to survive the Kings 7 games. Last year, the Celtics went through this adversity and i think thats why they were able to beat the lakers who cruised through the playoffs.
Kobe and Fish are ready for the battles that lie ahead but the question is whether the rest of the Lakers step up.

i'm ok with Fish's ejection, but suspension is unwarranted, although i wouldn't be surprised to see a suspension happen. all this talk of reviewing Kobe's elbow the Ron-Ron's "neck" is beyond stupid....

oh my a gonzo reference. nice

MAN ARTEST WAS FUSTRATED CAUSE HE COULDNT GUARD KOBE THATS ALL THATS ABOUT . ARTEST IS A BUM

AK bros, I disagree w/your take on the DFish foul.
I think you may be a bit too sensitive to the physicality in the sport (and as journalists quite understandable since you do have to have "higher moral standards."). I remember the discussions we had about the Bynum foul on Wallace a few months back that sent the Hornet to the hospital. You boys called for suspensions to Drew and the NBA league office disagreed with you.

On Andrew Bynum: I commented around the time he came back that we should not expect too much.
Remember, it took Drew more than 30 games in the regular season before he got his game timing and reflexes, and physical conditioning and leg strength back. Before that, he was roundly being pilloried by the blog.
When Drew played so well in his return w/the few games in the regular season, I was happy to be proved wrong.

However, the playoffs are showing that indeed I was right. Drew is not going to be 100% until next year. In addition, this is really Bynum's first ever playoffs as a regular rotation player. He is like the entire Portland team. Still too young and still in "school." So he is being schooled. No problem with that. That is the nature of things.

If Drew is less than 50% by the Finals, Lakers can still win the championship but it will be a real challenge. I think the probability of the Lakers winning the O'Brien is June is directly proportional to Drew's being closer to 100%.

So this is the math: If Drew is less than 50% by the Finals, Lakers have less than 50% of winning. If Drew is more than 50% by the Finals, the Laker's chances of winning go up in direct proportion. So if Drew is at 80% by Finals time, the probability of Lakers winning it all is 80%.

Dreamshake is going through some serious shock right now:

"There is no word I can think of to properly describe Fisher at the moment. Probably because such a word has yet to be invented."

http://www.thedreamshake.com/

This has been one of the most amusing and entertaining nights of my life, I never would have guessed it.

Please read the whole Fisher post at the link, it's too hilarious.

IN REGARDS TO ANDREW BYNUM, I CAN SAY ONE MORE THING I AM WATCHING NBA FOR 20 YEARS AND I NEVER SAW A BRACE SO WEIRD AS THE ONE HE IS WEARING, I HAVE NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT THIS THING IS LIMITING HIM BIG TIME, IT EFFECT IS QUICKNESS AND MOVEMENT I KNOW IS KNEE IS NOT 100% YET BUT STILL THIS THING IS REDICULES IT LOOK BAYONIC YOU CAN SEE IT PREES IS THIGH HARD IT MAKS IS LEG ROBOTIC. I JUST THINK A TREDIOTIONAL SLEEV OR BRACE WILL BE BETTER OF FOR HIM BECOUS BOOTOM LINE WE NEED MORE THAN ONE REBOUND FROM HIM IN 8 MINUTS TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP TAKE THIS BRACE OF!

Kobe and the Lakers are salty that the Rockets spanked them at home in game 1, and came into game 2 playing like a bunch of thugs. Its interesting to watch LA fans justify dirty play by calling it 'physical'. Throat elbows and flagrant shoves are not what the playoffs are about. It should be about basketball in its purest form. These guys have no class, and they don't deserve a title, some of them, however, may deserve probation.

not only am i buying fisher's excuse, I'll order two more with some fries :P

The NBA has not only allowed the "thug ball" play we've seen in the playoffs but caused it by not calling the games tighter in the playoffs. The reason the Lakers got in so many skirmishes was because they knew that was how they had to play to win in these playoffs. So has Denver, Houston, Chicago and Boston from what I've seen. I think it goes back to last year when the Celtics couldn't beat the Lakers with skill so they beat them up physically and the refs allowed it. The rest of the league saw that and followed suit.
I'd much rather see the Lakers get to play their style, but the NBA doesn't want them to dominate so easily.

LakerinBC - What a great formula, you must be a member of Mensa right?

The Lakers finally grew up tonight. Keep it going...

Great win, good way to get into the series. Like a lot of folks here, I believe Game 1 was a combination of rust and a certain sense of contentment on the part of the Lakers. I completely agree with Kobe's assessment (whether he means it or not) that this team needs a tough challenge in the West. I believe they will respond and it will result in a championship. Last year was too easy. Let the Cavs be the favorite and walk through the East, then the Lakers hit them hard and fast and take the trophy.

One other thing -- does Plaschke write his columns months before the actual game? Seems so cookie cutter -- a loss and the Lakers are "soft," a win and the Lakers are "tough." Good grief, look a little deeper than that.

Irrespective of the League's decisions after its review of the game yesterday. I finally believe that this Lakers team can win the championship this year. Who would have thought that the defensive mind Rockets anchored by one of my favorite tough players, RonRon, is the one who wake up this finest team that was trumped and intimidated by the Celtics last year.

I think DFish will be suspended for game three tomorrow but his check on Scola could rallied the team together that the path to championship will not be that easy and they must show some grit and withstand the physical nature of the game. Their regular season's pretty boy image will not work in the playoff they wanted to reach the Finals!

I do feel bad for AB's lack of playing time but he had demonstrated in the last 2 games that he is still lack of playoff conditions and necessary focus to stay in the game. He made too many defensive mistakes while in the game and rush his shots on offensive end.

I am dissapointed at Bynum's effort out there. 2 things he needs to do is rebounding and defense, scoring will come later. Phil J is right, he needs to do these two things and the rest will follow but i don't see it from him so far. It is not a good sign. I hope i am wrong for the sake of the team. We need him as we go along. C'mon Andrew, show some heart out there, make most of your time and show some fire! Kinda like Sasha, he is struggling with his shot but when he's out there, i see him with so much emotion and effort it's kinda contagious! Andrew needs to be more active with the time he's got out there! Go Lakers!

The game Friday night will be something else. The Rockets aren't gonna back down, and the Lakers aren't gonna back down. This is gonna be a tough, physical series.

I like it.

Lakers have their swagger back. Plaschke wrote a good article about it in the LA Times. I like the Fish foul although I wish it hadn't of been so hard. Don't like to see him suffer a suspension. Adande is saying Kobe should be suspended a game for the elbow to Artest's throat. My opinion is it wasn't like Dwight's elbow as much as he was just fighting for position. I don't expect any suspension from that contact, but you never know. Suspending Fish a game might be enough to satisfy the front office.

And Von Wafer - what the heck was he thinking, fighting with his own coach?

After worrying through the bad second quarter I'm feeling confident again that we're not going to allow ourselves to be punked. For a while it was smacking of the surprise Detroit gave us in the 2004 finals, but after the second half of this game - WOW. I don't think so.

I expect the Rockets to come out and play hard and physical on Friday. Hope the Lakers do the same.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

Did you all see the play where Kobe threw the ball off glass ever so gingerly, picked it up and put it in? That should be rebroadcast on National TV 24 hours a day for the next week. That was sooo phenomenal.

If you look at the replay, the throw itself is very finessed. The ball has enough curve on it to go aloft at just the right angle to go where he needs it. Also, he goes from a low down crotched position pretty far from the board. He did not just tip it to himself inadvertently while fighting for a rebound. He played that like a fiddle, with the finesse that reflects an amazing dedication to craft.

APPRECIATE KOBE's off glass shot. You will rarely see such examples of virtuoso in your life.

How often do players get an assist on their own shot? How often do players feed their own alley-oop?
How many players can muster that level of precision?

AK/BK, I love your posts. But this one should have just been that shot over and over and over. The NBA at its best.

The next game should be a doozie. The Rockettes must be thinking that they hung in without much Yao and with no Artest down the homestretch. But we didn't play our best ball either. Outside of Kobe, we had no "score at will" players. Gasol, LO and even Bynum, can be one of those on any given night. We need someone to step up for game three.

Game three is super important. Step up Lakers!!

And, HOW DID DEREK FISHER'S HEAD GET CUT? It is no excuse, but people should talk about that! His pre-game tape talking about the danger of the quiet types and that you should worry about him, makes his shot seem premeditated. But, someone cut his head. Had it not been so brutal, he wouldn't have done it out of nowhere. Suspend the refs, not Derek Fisher.

GOOOooOOO LAKERS!!!

Lakers are dirty and can't handle playing physical game in and game out. Rockets in 6.

Growth. This is all about growth of the Lakers team character. Derek Fisher did what he thought (maybe even what Phil thought?) needed to be done. The Lakers needed an injection of toughness. They needed an injection of heart. They were getting beat to every loose ball. Every hustle point was going to the Rockets. This was all about showing the rest of the team… we need to stand up for ourselves! The fourth quarter showed a much more scrappy Lakers team–diving for loose balls, collapsing into the paint, fighting for rebounds and positioning. Let’s keep it up!

http://tinyurl.com/cjyl46

Has anyone explained what Artest did that warrented an ejection?

Anyone who pretends to be even remotely unbiased, try to answer these two questions:

If Battier had hit Odom the way Fish hit Scola, what penalty would you have reccomended for Battier? Would you have called it a dirty play or not?

If Artest had elbowed Kobe, rather than the other way around, and Kobe had proceeded to get ejected for responding the exact same way that Artest did, would you be screaming bloody murder right now?

I applause Phil for changing the starting lineup. That “Twin Tower” concept hasn’t worked most of the time in the regular season. It certainly will not work in the playoff when Drew was 50%. In game 1, there was an occasion that Kobe was driving to the basket, he was blocked by Pau, Andrew and their defenders in the paint. He looped the ball to Pau but both Pau and Andrew went to catch it and Pau fumbled the ball away. That was the perfect example why too many people in the paint led to too many outside shooting in game 1. Besides, Pau is perhaps capable to handle Yao and Lamar plays better as a starter.

My other observation is that most of Drew's problem is that he did not jump or made an extra hop to catch the ball leading to TO and missing shots. He should just be a backup center until next season.

I think Phil should make further change in the lineup. Trevor was no match for Ron Artest. Although, Luke did a good job last night but Shannon probably would be better for both ends. If Shannon could handle Devon Williams in round 1, he should be good to handle Ron Artest in round 2.

Missing Derek Fisher in game 3 should not be a concern for us. He is not a good guard against Aaron Brook anyway.

Perhaps this is total homerism, but....

My take on the Fish hit is that Scola is coming in fast and hard, he's going to make contact on his own and Fisher is responding in kind. Perhaps a little much, but they've been getting hit in picks and sort of beat up all playoffs.
I don't think it deserves a suspension but who knows.
Rondo splits a guys lip and throws someone else into the scorers table and comes away with a series changing foul and a Flagrant 1.
Stew Jackson's office---Where Inconsistency Happens.

On Kobe, watching that play it looks like Ron has his arm way over Kobe's shoulder and that Kobe is trying to brush Ron off him.

Again, Kobe seems to have been suspended for less, so who knows.

The second unit needs to play better. Also all our role guys (Farmar, Fisher, Walton, Sasha, Ariza, Brown) need to start knocking down wide open threes. That will provide the spacing. Bynum will come back when he comes back. He's still a young player and plays on confidence. Why doesn't Odom drive the ball more to the basket? He should be attacking that basket like nobody's business. No one in this league can guard him. It's always so frustating to watch him play.

The second unit needs to play better. Also all our role guys (Farmar, Fisher, Walton, Sasha, Ariza, Brown) need to start knocking down wide open threes. That will provide the spacing. Bynum will come back when he comes back. He's still a young player and plays on confidence. Why doesn't Odom drive the ball more to the basket? He should be attacking that basket like nobody's business. No one in this league can guard him. It's always so frustating to watch him play.

None of the commentators on the Kobe/Artest incident seemed to notice that Artest's upper arm was wedged against Kobe's neck before stuff started happening. More drama is manufactured by the TV people than really exists. They need to watch all of the game and just call the plays; stop the soap opera stuff!

Well that was an emotional game, and I was worked up from the start. Hard to be rational in that situation. Luckily the Bsketball Answer Man visited this morning and answered some of my questions.

WAS FISH'S FOUL INTENTIONALLY VISCIOUS?
No. Fish is a good guy. But good hard fouls require precise timing. Fish just misjudged Scola's speed and hit him too hard. He forgot to adjust for the Slow White Guy factor. That would have been a clean hard foul on any other Rocket.

CAN LAMAR ODOM GET HELP WITH FREE THROWS?
Lamar is working with Shaq O'Neal at practice today. Shaq promises he can get Lamar all the way up to 50% at the line. More importantly, he will teach Lamar how to "make 'em when they count."

CAN SHANE BATTIER STOP KOBE?
No. Didn't you listen to Kobe?

WHY WERE KENNY SMITH AND SIR CHARLES SO DEFENSIVE OF ARTEST'S IDIOTIC BEHAVIOR?
The Answer Man does not know. Maybe because they were both Rockets as players. Artest clearly fouled Kobe, going over his back and riding him out of bounds. And the way he ran up to Kobe and physically challenged him, in a game as out of control as this, was bound to result in an ejection. Maybe Sir Charles just identifies with the mentally unstable.

WAS ARTEST REALLY JUST TELLING KOBE TO RELAX?
Yes. He was concerned a about Kobe, but having seen the K Brothers' "Kobe says relax" message, he thought he could help Kobe by reminding him. It was just so loud in Staples he had to get real close for Kobe to hear his concerned advice.

My thanks to the Basketball Answer Man for helping me make sense of all this.

BK,

>>>Andrew: I'm not trying to pick on the kid, because I think people are starting to understand the difficulty of his situation

I guess I'm not one of those "understanding" people. Andrew is one of the most mentally fragile professional athletes I can think of. If you wake up in the morning believing you're the Beast, you can go out there and play like it. AB17 shows no sign of sharing KB24's DNA. I find that truly disturbing.

Not that I'm saying it'll happen, but if this team fails to win the Championship this year, the Beast will become the Goat. Doubt will follow him in a way from which he may never recover.

While Fish over-did it Wednesday night and the team may pay a big price for his bad judgment call, you have to applaud his take-no-prisoners attitude. Kobe's elbow to Ron Ron and Pau's bounce-back from Game #1 showed a depth-of-character that AB17 seems to be missing.

There've been no shortage of comments here on the style of the Denver Thuggets and the special ops play of the Boston Celtics, but the Playoffs are War. Being tough is as important as being skilled. Since AB17's return, he's shown no signs of being either. If he's going to contribute, there's got to be a change of mindset.

The return of the true Beast is essential to the Lakers' success. Coaching alone can't achieve this. I have to call AB17 out. He is letting down his team. He is letting down himself. Between now and Friday night, he needs to search down deep. The Beast is lurking down there and he needs to find it. There's a Championship waiting. AB17 must answer the call. Go Lakers!

4 Things I Liked about the Game last night:

1. The return of the 05-06 Kobe Bryant, were dropping 40 was just routine for him. Well we saw the total package from Black Mamba last nightt. Fadeaways, threes, Money jumpers, layups and oh yeah a pass over the backboard and layed it in. Amazing.

2. Having your teamates back - D Fish with a Hockey check on Scola! WHAM! That was a message well sent to Scola and to the rest of his Laker teammates by Fish, "I got your back" . And how bout Luke Walton and Sasha l standing up for ODOM. This group feels more like a team now and are ready to go to battle with one another. If this was the WWE, Jim Ross would say "Bussiness is about to pick up".

3. A semi-Bald Jordan Farmar
I'm happy Jordan Farmar finally got a haircut. I've been lobbying for this all year long. I've said this before in previious threads, Farmar plays better when he doesn't have the Fro' look on. He played great in his second year and he had the semi-bald look. So Jordie, keep your hair short. Your finally playing a lot better since you cut your hair, haven't you noticed" . It must be some aerodynamic SH*T or something. I don't really know.

4. The anticipation of Game 3 in Houston.
You can only Imagine how hostile the environment Game 3 will be. For this series we got Bad blood, sublplots, drama. This are what the playoffs are all about. I can't wait for Game 3 and how are team will play in that atmosphere. Lets hope Stu Jackson doesn't spoil the party and suspends D Fish and Kobe. I'd like to see how the artist formerly known as Artest react to Kobe's elbow. And will the black mamba be unleashed once again? The plot thickens.

Lakers for Life
09 champs. You can bet on it,

Great game last evening...Kobe and his teammates proved that they will not back down from the Rockets who truly pride themselves on being squeaky clean..Artest had no business running up to Kobe after the under the basket incident..especially after what had just transpired with D Fish and Scola....Come on think Artest...Lakers Bench has to Match Houston's Bench Play especially Landry..Keep a body on him..he is kinda like Milsap from Utah.....Lakers win Friday night in a squeaker.....Kobe will explode again..Refs are calling BS on Bynum...that' s why he can not get his grove on...

From a Houston Fan. The Fisher foul was NOT just part of basketball. He looked, set and leaned into him while raising his arm for the most damage. I have a feeling he will be suspended. The Kobe foul on Artest WAS a foul but THAT is just basketball. Things happen. It was not intentional but then again, it was not called. The rockets fell apart in the fourth making stupid decisions or maybe it was just good defense. In any event, the Lakers played a whole game for the most part with Houston collapsing in the end.

AK - Fisher's foul- a nasty shoulder drive/elbow to Luis Scola, approaching from behind to set a back pick- deservedly got him tossed...
---

Oh come now.

LOOK at the pic you've posted.

EXAMINE the point of contact

NOTICE Scola's eyes?

They're CLOSED.

Subtitles::

Scola recognized the geometry (angle of convergence) BEFORE contact occurred.

When Scola realized contact would occur, Scola mentally and physically prepared to EXPLOIT it.

Scola exploited the OPPORTUNITY by skillfully, perfectly and convincingly executing -- a la Manu Ginobili -- the national dancethem of Argentina i.e., THE TANGO OF TANGLE a.k.a. THE FLOP...

... to an appreciative audience of hook-swallowing, flipper-flapping seals (e.g. referees, Laker Blog Brothas).

The pic of Scola's EYES WIDE SHUT is incontrovertible proof Scola KNEW he was going to do a FULL LENGTH BODY LAYOUT as soon as contact occurred. Which he did.

Else, when you ***UNEXPECTEDLY*** trip over or fall backwards over someone or something, are YOUR lips puckered with eyes TIGHTLY closed or, are they WIDE OPEN with mouth agape?


The league was supposed to crack down on flopping this season.

Was the crackdown suspended for THIS series?

Rockets went down with a sub-par game from Yao, and some nice officiating on behalf of LA.

The koby elbow thrown at Artest reminded me of Raja Bell's takedown of koby. It's obvious that koby swings out those 'bows with impunity and rarely do the refs call him for it. Artest actually showed great restraint by not retaliating ala Raja. Were that play called correctly, Ron would have stayed in the game.

Fischer's hit on Scola was pure cheap shot, dangerous and unsportsmanlike. A suspension will be warranted. What's the matter, can't odumb take care of himself?

There was a basketball game amidst all the drama Staples. Some comments on the pure basketball issues:

1) Kobe ate up Battier. You cannot guard him 1 on 1 in the playoffs. Sick, rusty, whatever, that was not Kobe in game 1. He was truly sick in game 2.

2) Pau ate up Yao. That is what you have to with Yao, use movement, speed and quickness. Phil's move to put Pau at center, which was highly second guessed, was a great one.

3) The Lakers struggled more with the Rockets smaller, banger big men than with Yao. They had similar problems with Utah's bench bangers. The coaching staff needs to work on this as the series progresses. The Lakers struggle defensively and on the defensive boards against these smaller lineups.

4) Luke showed no signs of rust in his shooting. He picked up clanging right where he left off. But he brought those Luke intangibles, intelligence, toughness and teamwork, and helped the Lakers win this game.

5) Jordan looked ready coming off the bench, and played well. A welcome sign.

6) Bynum is simply not ready. When a player says he is at 80%, he is either physically or mentally not ready. There were some good signs, some active fronting of Yao on D, a couple of good quick passes. But he had to come out in the second half when the Lakers were in the penalty and he picked up 2 quick fouls, giving Yao a chance to impact the game on the line.

7) Fortunately Yao played like Bynum.

8) Phil closed the game with Farmar, Brown, Walton, Gasol and Bryant and it worked. This is an interesting lineup. With Trevor struggling on offense and unable to contain Artest, Fisher out, and Lamar clanging free throws, this was maybe born of neccesity, but it worked. Sasha's minutes may be cut for this lineup.

8) Artest is an underrated offensive player, and the Lakers have not found the answer yet.

9) The Lakers' versatility is a real strength - Lamar or Kobe or Pau may struggle on a given night, but it is rare to see all three go down.

10) Kobe will probably not be able to reproduce this performance night after night. The Lakers moved the ball and shared better last night. They will need to be even better as the series goes on, and other players will have to step up and take some of the load off Kobe. On the road. That is the toughest challenge for the Lakers right now.

11) It will be loud and emotional in Houston after last night. The Lakers need to remain aggressive and poised, it will not be easy to beat Houston at home. This is building very quickly into a rivalry.

12) We got us a tough, physical, emotional, could go either way, big time playoff series now.

Victory #5 of 16.

Back on track.

Okay,

I just got to say this. Kobe is being beat the hell up in the first two games of the series. Guess what the sports talking heads say. Not a damn thing. It's ok.

Ron Artest was mugging Kobe on fighting for position on that rebound, he hit him in the head with his elbow then laid his elbow on his throat and Kobe should be suspend why?

Then Ron Artest complains about being elbowed in an interview as much as he pushes and shoves and elbows people and now everybody from Adande to God knows who is calling for Kobe to be suspended. Please!!

Charles Barkley is an azz, he and Kenny both ignore the fact that Artest fouled Kobe several times with getting called for it. Please!!!

Way to show up Lakers!

You know what I HATE about TNT? They NEVER show our Laker Girls. FSWest, shows them all the time. TNT sucks. I miss Joel and Stu.

On a more serious note though, this series is turning in to a great battle. It is enjoyable to watch and I really think it will help us in the long run. We will be battle tested this year when we get to Cleveland.

And what the bajebus was PJ thinking with Farm, Shannon, and Sasha? I would rather "experiment" with giving Bynum massive minutes on the floor then throwing that lineup out there. I would rather do what we do and have the Rockets adjust to us then try and go small and adjust to them.

Lamar...HIT YOUR FREE THROWS!!!! Don't fail us now.

Lamar = Finals MVP

GO LAKERS

I'll be happy if we can get 15-20 minutes of solid play out of Bynum. He's obviously not ready for playoff basketball, he's certainly not ready for Yao Ming.

Great game last night. The Lakers came out and punched the Rockets in the mouth and that's what needed to happen.

The real key to the game though, in my opinion, was getting Yao Ming out of the game with foul trouble. Pau Gasol did a good job of taking the ball to the hole against Yao. That's what he needs to do the rest of this series using his huge advantage in quickness.

In Game 3, I expect Houston to protect Yao a little more with some double teams as Pau tries to face up on him. So the rest of the team better be ready to exploit the open opportunities when Pau has to pass it out.

Go Lakers!

These Lakers cannot back down.

They cannot get tough one game and go back to being pushed around. They must stay focused!

Go Lakers!!!

http://bit.ly/nhxk9

Nice job by the fellas at BDL. They talked about the actual basketball game that wen on and not just the late game tomfoolery.

Adande is calling for a Kobe suspension. Surprising. I hate that reporter. The Register has a foil for Ding too, this guy named Miller. He's a joke as well. It's almost like the media has become a Laker bashing conglomerate.

Eff them. I'm glad Fish did what he did. I'm glad Kobe has a nasty streak, just like all of the other great ones. I'm glad that this series is going be knock down, drag out. It'll be good for the Lakers.

I absolutely agree on what LakerinBC said, higher moral standards are the goal of any Championship calibre team but if opponents put you into a test, you can't just continue to be laid back and absorb those blows to Kobe, Gasol being mauled, cheapy, cheapy Scola push and shove, Landry & Hayes rough plays in the basket - there has to be a line of shedding off that moral standards and start competing in the playoffs.

As they say: "evil triumphs when good men do nothing", it is just analogy I don't regard Adelman, Yao are evil promoters or the Lakers as holier than thou but the realities of the game Lakers are left on the court standing on the side and watching the Rocket mischievous tactics to accomplish their objective. Another point in Game 1, they gloat on their physicality that they are the machos of this league and allowed Artest do a lot of talking.

In the Chess analogy, Fisher was a Queens gambit offered to Houston Rockets (I'm sure the instructions came from Zen, tho' he did not exactly asked them to be rough but inspired them to rise up to the occasion), when Scola got down and stood up he practically declined the offer, he begged for rescue from Joey Crawford. There could be suspension or a hefty fine but now Lakers dominate the center pieces and to all Rocket trolls say what you want until that psychological white pawn controls the center, Rockets bellyaching, whining and threats are all in the peripherals. These are like the lost wolves crying in the wilderness.

AK/BK, I too disagree with your assessment on Fish as a "bad" thing. This set a tone that the Lakers need in this series. Scola was getting away with a lot of crap and playing "dirty". Guess what, Fish took care of business.

But the real reason why I loved this play, was that it gave more burn to Farmar and Shanwow. They clearly are the better candidates in this series for that position. Nothing against Fish, I love Fish, but I am secretly hoping for a suspension (ok, not so secretly anymore). I think Farmar and Brown can contain Brooks and Lowry a lot better than Fish and are contributing more on offense too. Yeah yeah yeah, Fish is a vet. I agree we need him, but we won't miss much in one game and I hope Fish's minutes are more limited after PJ sees what these other two are able to accomplish.

As for Kobe "elbow", give me a break, why is this even a discussion. why are people even speculating on suspension here. That is so ridiculous. This was a pure basketball play and it was Artest's fault for being draped all over Kobe's back, and YES THE FOUL WAS ON ARTEST!!! Laker hater Doug Collins and Rocket Lover Kenny Smith will have you think otherwise, but Artest was the culprit here.

I LOVED LAST NIGHT'S GAME

A couple more serious comments on the mayhem:

1) Fish's foul looked bad, but it hard to imagine Fish actually deciding to intentioanlly commit that kind of foul. He is not the type of guy to intentionally hurt another player. He would not give up the foul shots and the ball at teh end of a crucial third Q that went that well. He would not risk suspension. I have to give his explanation more credence than the K Brothers did.

2) Kobe's response to Artest running accross the court at him was brilliant. If Kobe gets drawn in there, the Laker's playoff hopes are on the line. Very composed. I was impressed.

These are the playoffs and Bynum is just a kid learning how to play basketball. From fundamentals to a center dominant, he has not been exposed yet to real battles. At age 21, there are just so many things to learn and that wide body wing span will be useless if he will not use it effectively. When he boxes out a small player, he gets caught by the Ref.; when he asks for the ball he stays, gets 3 seconds on the paint;; when the ball is the air, his rebounding radar is turned off; when he has the ball, he always aiming for his shot telegraphing his intentions to his guard - the kid has a lot of things to learn i.e. growth above his shoulder on the game of basketball. He may be a beast out there.... but just a beast among donkeys. It will take time before he becomes a full bred stallion ready for the Preakness Derby.

Rob,

131,
"Kobe ... What else is there to say about him that I havent already said. How did I know he was gonna throw an elbow at Artest."
Actually, like I called you out on, you said twice within one week that Kobe wouldn't elbow Artest because he only elbows guys smaller than him. So, yeah, what else do you have to say about him?

And seriously, reading some of the replay of the live chat, Rockets trolls are lame, lame, lame! At least the regular trolls bring stats and history to the table, but Houston fans are really quite pathetic.
Posted by: Rob | May 06, 2009 at 11:21 PM

This was my post ...

I hope Kobe throws one of his cheap elbows at Artest! My bad ... I forgot Artest is bigger than him. He only throws them at small guys.

I hate Sampson!

Posted by: 131-92 | May 02, 2009 at 01:25 PM

Thats what is said. Sorry I forgot who was reading it. Dont know if you felt the sarcasm.

Let me explain it to you. What I meant was that Kobe will take cheap dirty shots at anybody that gets physical with him but he will only challenge smaller guys to fight. Guys like Rondo and Ronnie Price.

My bad. I stand corrected. I shoulda been more careful with my post. But never the less my point proven correct again!

When Artest came at Kobe why didnt Kobe push him like he did Rondo. Allow me to answer my own question ... Cuz he woulda had to fight.

isang,

131-92,
i am so pissed at u.
the lakers are not dirty. kobe is not dirty.
stop whining about kone's elbows; tell ur team to stop moving picks because it is illegal, tell rondo to keep his elbows, hold the ur team's ego,.. get out of this blog.
&@#%!
Posted by: isang | May 03, 2009 at 12:53 AM

LOL ... Dont be pissed at me ... Its not personal ... Its business. Im sorry if I hurt your feelings by pointing out the obvious.

When the Lakers fail to win again this year, what will be the excuse Laker fan? I know .... "We had Bynum"

WINNING BUILDS CHARACTER, WHILE LOSING REVEALS IT.

SCOREBOARD!

What's the deal with the disappearance of the Triangle Offense? Why has Phil pulled a Rudy T?

Manny...oh no.

50 games?

Wow.

Wes

GREAT game last night!

Missed the live chat because of a meeting. Caught up to the live action right as the chat shut down - oh well.....

Fish's ejection was warranted. A suspension tomorrow night would be retribution by the league - and we all know they don't do that, right?

Bill Testes is CRAZY! Wow - what a fruit loop. There's an entire 3-ring circus going on up in that funky-do head of his, and I don't mean that in a good way...

Kobe is AWESOME!!! What a shooting performance! That off the backboard pass to himself was spectacular! We are blessed as Laker fans to have this guy in the P&G. Can you imagine the state of the blog if he was on the Rockets?? Yikes - there would be chaos! Anarchy! Thank god he's a Laker for Life lol !!!

Can't wait for Friday - GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!

I like to see the Lakers pushing back. The Rockets are a physical team, and I like that the Lakers are throwing their weight around. A suspension for Fish would be ridiculous. This isn't patty-cakes they're playing. Let 'em be physical. The Rockets are a jersey-grabbing, pushing-under-the-basket, hard-fouling team. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Go Lake Show!

Fisher's foul, whether he gets suspended or not, was the right thing to do. I'm so sick and tired of hearing how soft the Lakers are. You want tough, you got it! Now live with the consequences. If he plays in game 3 great, if not, that's fine, too. You all think he's too slow to guard a qiuck 1 anyway...Brooks was a huge factor in this game, huh? SB & JF will just have to stand up like men and get the job done if DF gets suspended. The message is sent...

Scola's a big puss. He layed there like a little girl after the foul. If he were as tough as Barkley thinks he is (pitbull comment after the game), he would have gotten up and done something about it. Do you think the Celtics would have just lived with that? I think Fisher's pre-game comments about some players portraying a tougher image than they actually are, was proven to be a fact!

Luke had a great game. Needs to spend mucho time on making shots, but I'll take it. I love the fact that he got in Scola's face after Scola, in a very cowardly manner, tried to pull LO to the floor after fouling him. Now if he could have gotten Scola to take a swing at him, he'd really have been a man.

I remember during the Celtics series last year suggesting we go after Artest and dangle LO as bait. I still think it would have been a good move. He is a man and would instantly make a team tougher.

Morning Fambam,

On to some real talk.

I'm glad we won. That was a game that was won with head smarts and physicality.

The two guys with faux hawks was thrown out the game.

Fisher tried to send a message and I like it. It's an old school method. With that said he deserves to be suspended. Same message, sly-errr or less blatant delivery.

Ron Artest was thrown out because he was Ron Artest. He needs to understand his label and brand. With the way he approached Kobe, you can never under estimate the intentions; beer cup or not.

If you give, prepare to take. You can't be rough and expect a fierce competitor not to battle you down low for a rebound in a critical game.

Why was Bynum playing better the first few games upon his return when he closed the regular season, and now floundering. 85-90% now to his knee bothering him. Did we play premature in the recovery stage? I want him to stick to rebounding and defense. That's all we will need from him.

Ariza is passing up way too many shots. Be confident. You were killing it during the Utah series. You are Trevor Ariza, not Devean George.

Farmar I hope will get his groove back. I saw a glimpse of improvement.

More Shannon Brown. His effort is amazing. I saw a brilliant cut under the basket that Kobe missed. More Shannon Brown.

Ming Yao speaks with an accent of Chinese-Home Boy.

A satisfying game.

The Lakers took the motto "No More Mister Nice Guy" to heart.

If the crowd was as energized in Game One as they were in Game Two, we would have won Game One. Something we should keep in mind for Game Five.

I loved the intensity. Loved the the aggression.

I didn't love blowing the 16 point lead, but we won by 13 with tacos and that's most important.

The lucky barstool is now 40-3.

I had to endure two quarters of ridiculing by a drunked LeBroniac. Stuff like: "Who's the best player in the world? LEBRON JAMES! It's an objective fact! You can't argue that! He won the MVP!"

Stuff like that, swear words and "Let's go Rockets!" until the idiots got too drunk and staggered home. Urgh. I'm so tired of this place.

However, the people who were not complete mouthbreathing fools generally expressed a feeling of being impressed by the Lakers, including several times the bar collectively gasped in amazement at Kobe's shots while Jon K. screamed in joy.

A female bartender summarized the mood at the closure of the game with "Wow. I can't wait to watch the Lakers for the rest of the playoffs."

Don't worry, girl. You will.

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

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

GO LAKERS!

Where is the justice? LAT ranks #2 among papers with the most popular blogs, but this one isn't in the Top 50. (Fabulous Forum ranks #44).

http://tinyurl.com/c5pul2

Where is the justice? Is David Stern suppressing our numbers? AK & BK, you've been robbed.

Though I was highly impressed with the game, there were some points of concern for me...

1. If Derek Fisher is suspended does Jordan Farmar/Shannon Brown have the fortitude to lead the show for the entire game? They will be tested.

2. Andrew Bynum is not playing well. It's just that simple. DJ Mbenga would probably make better use of his minutes. I don't know what's going on.

3. It was good to have Luke Walton back; however, he was too hesitant on offense. I know he doesn't have the best shot, but when he gets the ball six feet from the net and he's wide open, he should take the shot. He didn't he deferred too much. Normally it's good for Luke to defer, it improves ball movement, but when he has the shot he needs the confidence to take AND MAKE it.

That's it. We'll win from this point out if we play with this intensity. It's that simple. Room for improvement? Yes. But we are the superior team, we just need to play with heart and spirit to prove it.

Luis Scola has proven that he deserves to be scourged by the Bio-Chrono Weapon. Expect that to be unleashed today.

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

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

GO LAKERS!

Am I the only one out there laughing maniacally when Ron Artest was thrown out of the game?

I doubt it.

Kobe's already in his head and he's not going to step out of there until this series is over and we've moved on to the next round.

Well done, Kobe. Be brave. Ron Artest's head is a scary place to be.

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

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

GO LAKERS!

Headline "Andrew Bynum Says Slump Is in his Head"

Funny, it's in mine too!

Now this is a Series, and I must say that I think that most have it wrong. The officiating between Utah and now has favored a highly physical manhandling of the Lakers, which if you play it to its logical end, means that the Lakers would be fighting an uphill battle. Do you think that the Nuggets of Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen, Nene, Chauncey Billups, et al would not play the physicality game on the Ls? So the Lakers answered hard, both to their opponents, and the league. Check out Laker Thoughts: Playoff Edition, my analysis of Game 2 vs. Houston Rockets (http://bit.ly/mnxUC)

I accept Derek Fisher's explanation.

Why?

Because I do, okay?

Okay?

Next question.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!

Rick F,
"the Beast will become the Goat."
No way that will happen, unless he has a crappy attitude. The problem is clearly related to his injury.

BUTLER,

The reason the Suns have never won a title is because your little guy doesn't have the sack that Derek Fisher does to do something like that.

Enjoy the offseason.

Lakerfan,

NEW YORK  In NBA shorthand, it is known as the elbow rule: Strike an opposing player above the shoulders with an elbow foul, and it's an automatic ejection.

What say u?

I absolutely despise ESPN. Really. I'm thinking about removing it from my daily life with a quickness.

I am very grateful to Derek Fisher. I now have a new line:

Don't make me drop you like a Sciola!

A few numbers for anybody (Butler) who thinks the Lakers are getting sweet treatment from the officials:

The Lakers have been called for seven more fouls and shot 13 fewer free throws just in the two games so far in this series. This despite the fact that they have 27 more shot attempts, not to mention seven fewer attempts from long range. Looking at the averages, the Lakers as a team are shooting one free throw for every four shot attempts. The Rockets are shooting one free throw for every 2.5 shot attempts.

Kobe ain't getting any sweet treatment, either. In both games, he's taken a total of 58 shots but only attempted 12 free throws. That's one free throw for every five shot attempts. During the regular season, he averaged one free throw per three shot attempts.

These numbers are all the more amazing when you consider that the first two games were on the Lakers home court.

So much for home cooking.

Before Kobe elbowed Artest, Ron pushed Kobe's back neck. Kobe just matched RA physical play with one of his own. RA could dish it out but he did not like it when Kobe pushed back; instead of playing on he cried to the ref, and confronted Kobe. What a jerk!!!
On a different note, the Lakers need to concentrate at the foul line. LO especially, nonchalantly threw up 2 bricks, does it make you feel sick to your stomach when a player making 14 mils a year and could not make free throws in playoffs no less?

If artest wouldn't have went looney toon on the court, noone would be talking about kobe's elbow and didn't wafer get hit with an offensive foul for elbowing Sasha in the chin?

I hope the Lakers continue to play tough. Fish was sending a message to all playoff teams who get chippy and try to take you out of your game with non-basketball garbage (Boston) that we will not be punked this year. Still concerned with the inability to hold leads, though. Why can't they play a full game?

There is a difference between being physical and being dirty...the Lakers last night were the latter. It's hilarious that people can even pretend that the Lakers are a "tough" team...they are nothing more than a soft "euro" team with a coddled superstar leading the way. The real difference between the Rockets and Lakers other than the Rockets being "for real" with respect to playing tough is that the Rockets are a "team" not a hodge-podge of floppers and pretenders...Sure the Lakers won the game in the end last night but I don't think either them or their fans can walk away feeing particularly good of how they did it...Let's see, Rockets withstand Lakers run in 1st qtr to end up tying the game by the half - without Yao being in foul trouble the whole game and without Artest being ejected for basically "scaring" little Kobe the Rockets would have won this game...Yes the Lakers won but look what it took...let's be honest here, the Rockets did not come out playing that hard as they already had home court advantage coming in - they got the split they wanted and still almost won a game where the Lakers had went into desperation mode...the Rockets have set the tone and thinking that the Lakers are all of a sudden are "tough" is quite comical...Seriously - Derek Fisher acting like he's tough??? Reminds me of a chiuahuah with a snippy little bark - sure the chiuahuah can bite but it's not the same as being bit by a pit bull which basically is what the Rockets (Artest) are...In dog terms it's the Chiuahuah's led by a Poodle (Kobe) versus the Rottweillers led by a Pit Bull (Artest)...I'm no Michael Vick but I think the Rott's and Pit's are in for a feast. The Rockets will hammer the Lakers in GM3..and will take this series in 6...Lakers + Toughness = Only In The Movies (Hollywood).

the Fisher foul was a good hard foul, that i would've hated if the other team had done it. it's still just a foul, a body check. you can eject for it, although i've seen worse already this year, but it wasn't deadly, no need for suspension, especially since Fish is a "good citizen".

the Kobe foul was non-existant. a player has the right to his space. when you crowd and foul a man to that extent, you're going to catch an elbow or two. when Kobe plays that sort of D, he catches 'em too. this is just a ploy by Houston and a couple of Houston lovers(errr, ex players) to even the series, by eliminating the Laker's best player, kinda like trying to poison him with a cheeseburger, because you just KNOW you're going to lose. the sad thing is that if ESPN keeps reporting it that way, everyone will just ignore what their own eyes can see, that it was just regular basketball, a proper response to an opponent trying to win through violence and intimidation and nothing dirty. this is just like punching the bully that beat you up the other day when no one was looking right in the nose. you might get suspended for that, but you shouldn't. EVERYBODY knows that the bully had it coming.

the Lakers prefer to play BASKETBALL, and that makes them a "finesse" team and "soft" and "offensive minded". I prefer the Lakers to play that game too. the trouble is that the other teams in the league can't beat the Lakers in a clean game of BASKETBALL, a non-contact sport, lol, so they play and are allowed to play a "physical", a "tough-nosed" game, one in which grabbing holding, shoving, pulling, leaning on and other FOULS are committed so often, that these things become normal play.

i agree with Kobe on this one for sure, if you want to play physical, then don't complain when i do too. all we want is for the refs to call it consistently for both teams. last nights game, as all of these wwe tainted games have been(was Donaghy the ONLY corrupt official?), a product of in consistent calls and dereliction of duty from the league's on the floor officials.

I love skipping troll posts. LOL.

Tye,

D. Fish is one guy you DON'T want to mess with. over the years, he's been in a lot of collisions and the other guy almost ALWAYS comes out the worse for it. Fish is about a tough as it gets, but he's not vicious, if that's what you mean.....

I woke up feeling optimistic after last night's tough win and then BAM! Manny Ramirez gets suspended. The Lakers HAVE To play into June to minimize the gap between now and July when he gets reinstated.

Bynum did play decent defense out there last night. GO LAKERS. keep improving.

Pig Miller sez:

"BUTLER,

The reason the Suns have never won a title is because your little guy doesn't have the sack that Derek Fisher does to do something like that."

You mean like Raja clotheslining koby?

So, you equate a blind-side body check with toughness? That's more cowardly than tough.

Rick F,
"the Beast will become the Goat."

He has had 3 knee surgeries in 5 years. (People forget about his knee injury in High School.) Monster player or not, you have to be concerned about work on his knees.
I feel like the Beast moniker is the blog version of Kobe's big balls dance. Too early too soon.

"NEW YORK  In NBA shorthand, it is known as the elbow rule: Strike an opposing player above the shoulders with an elbow foul, and it's an automatic ejection."

Kobe had his body head turned and looking up to grab a rebound. The other player was being very physical and throwing elbows to the chest rib area. Maybe the NBA should have a Fish-hook bleeding mouth method rule.

Jon K,

There are things that Lakers have to hone skills before going for Game 3:

1. Free throws. Too many missed F/Ts from LO, Gasol, Ariza that's beyond me why good players missed those free throws. This is their bread and butter as a professional, they should make those F/T's blindfolded!

2. Walton missed shot after shot after shot and Kobe lost a ton of assists. Now that Fisher might miss Game 3, we cannot afford a ton of brick shots from Luke. It is discouraging, discomforting to everyone and a real killer after a hard work effort from Shannon. Not only that many Laker fans will die heart attack just watching Luke missed those shots. A man who could not find the ocean while staying in Bora Bora.

3. Ariza's jump shooting on the perimeters, although he was doing great in the Utah series, I missed Trevor the slasher except for that one good R and follow up beating Scola. He has to go inside and take away Yao's effectiveness in the mid game like what happened in Game 2 and Ariza has to help Kobe. A missed shot is a wasted effort without any recourse if Lakers fail to get rebounds. With Yao out there with hoodlums Artest and Scola on the side, getting rebound is remote wish. Don't be afraid of being blocked by Yao, only Ariza, Kobe and Shannon can soar in the air, use that talent.

4. Andrew Bynum should help and do the little things that fans will remember him in these playoffs. He is no-show for the last two games, right now he worst that Mbenga. Forget those 31 games missed games forget that leg brace discomfort, Bynum is a dream of the Lakers in this year, so far dream never turn into a reality yet. Bynum when you are on the floor, remember the beautiful words of LakerTom in describing you and stop imagining the beautiful face of Rihanna. lol!

5. Sasha has to fill up the voic that Fisher will leave behind. He has to make those shots and be not afraid of the consequences. Right now, his testosterone are just abundant and under use, he's jerking shots, getting too excited out there and becomes an out of control geek ready to control the world without an army behind him. Sasha, stay relax and operate the machine methodically and effectively.

6. Powell has not shown any good efforts for the little minutes he played. He's the rebounder, he's the sacrificial pawn that will protect Kobe from Artest in Game 3.

7 Lamar and Gasol, if Kobe is the heart and brain of the Lakers, L & G are the liver and the kidneys of this team, without their consistent presence on both offense and defense, the team fails. The liver and kidneys are both important organs of the body, please, please rise up to the occasion and increase one more notch of decibel than the previous games.

8 Lastly, Phil Jackson - the live chat bloggers live and die in analyzing the complicated mind of Phil. He makes experiment within an experiment then leaves the chemistry room with all the tubes on an extreme cold and expect the test tubes to turn the heat by themselves. Please Phil, coach the Lakers to a championship team, not a team that is always too dependent on Kobe.

Scola should definitely try out to be an offensive lineman with the Texans. He gets run over just as easily as any of their current offensive linemen.

undeniably, people were expecting too much too soon from Bynum.

I do believe he'll be a major asset by the time the playoffs are over. no doubt.

But we gotta chill if we think he's going back to 20/20 level. (the factors against him are overwhelming and shortsighted people get some fax and have a heart)

out of fairness, not simple kindness

Tye, you're a frustrated Rocket fan, envious of the Hollywood persona. Beat it, move on you lost the game last night and got schooled too. As I said in the previous posts, you are just one of those wolves crying in the wilderness.

Derek Fisher = Kermit Washington.

Tye,

You are wrong. We are proud of how our team played. They were not dirty, they weren't trying to hurt the Rockets. They were just giving as good as they got.

If you were being fair, you would acknowledge that your team holds, pushes, elbows and shoves with the best of them, except maybe Yao. So don't come on our blog trying to act all sanctimonious about how the Rockets are "for real" and how our superstar is coddled. If Kobe was so coddled he would be at the free throw line much more than 6 times a game, he gets hacked, pushed, slapped, elbowed, scratched, cut and held but he's not complaining, Ron Artest is. He didn't hurt Artest, they were going for a rebound and Artest is nuts. His elbow hit Kobe in the head was laying on his throat and Kobe ain't complaining.

Please! Get outta here with that whiny crap!

You got to come better than that!

lakersMR and Greg Gray......

I totally agree with your assessment of what happened immediately before Kobe hit Ron with the elbow! Ron was boxed out and tried to come THROUGH Kobe, first with both elbows on top of KB's shoulders and then with a forearm AND ELBOW to Kobe's head and neck. Where is the talk of an Artest suspension? He hit Kobe with an elbow above the neck on that play BEFORE Kobe responded with a much deserved elbow to the chest!

I blame the league and its referees. The League allowed the Celtics to bully, foul and set illegal screens all the way to the title last year. If nothing else, the NBA is a copy cat league. More and more teams are crawling out of the woodwork with thuggish play as a result. The Rockets and Nuggets know that being physical and pushing the limits is the only possible way they can win the West. Pretty soon, the game will be back into the low scoring, brutish play of the early 90's.

It's appalling that supposedly "objective" telecasters such as Doug Collins and two former Rockets such as Kenny Smith and the Chuckwagon didn't even raise the point that Atest fouled Kobe first, TWICE, on that play.

As far as the Scola foul by Fish, I'm GLAD that Fisher laid his azz out! If Fish gets suspended, so be it! Scola is as dirty as they come and he got a taste of his own crap! Deep down, I know Fish was wrong, but I don't care. My team, right or wrong!!! GO LAKERS!!!!!!


THis is FUN. My ears are still ringing.
Can't believe ROn made 7 mil per and we weren't interested.

Could be better than the Chicago / Boston series since they aren't goin' anywhere in the playoffs.
Or, if we take game 3, it's over.

I love that Kobe's lookin' forward to goin' to Houston. That's why he makes the big bucks.

Rick Friedman,

There is no way in hell more people are visiting "The Fabulous Forum" than the Kamenetsky Brothers L.A. Times Lakers blog.

No way. No how. Not happening.

"The Fabulous Forum" absolutely sucks.

And visit another Lakers blog and there is no sense of community and very few responses. This blog is the heart of Laker Nation. That simple.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!

131-92,

I just have a few points about your comments. First of all, Artest is a walking time bomb..The dude is crazy..Would you push him in that situation? Dude, nobody in their right mind would! Artest is not Rondo! I dont even thing Shaq is crazy enough to push that time bomb!

Kobe was playing it smart..And your boy pierce would have done the same thing!

bravo to our MEN for their performance last nite.

anyone that wants 2 front like Kobe's elbow to Artest was dirty needs to go back & watch that play again to notice the elbow Artest gave Kobe a nano-second before Kobe's elbow landed. no malice on that one, just 2 guys going hard & jostling for position. Ron Ron clearly let his frustration and hair trigger temper get the best of him.

regarding D-Fish's hockey check on Scola, if K-Mart wasn't suspended for his baseline check on Dirk in Game 1 of the Denver-Dallas series, Fish should not be suspended either. Scola is a thug who continuously sets illegal screens, tugs on arms/jerseys and hacks all day. he definitely had that coming. kudos 2 Fish for handling his business.

love the fire our guys played w/last nite. i have a feeling the Rickets just made our Lakers angry & guess wut? u won't like us when we're angry!

-Fowl Out


Also Kobe did not hit Artest in the throat..Artest was trying to "sell" it, even wanting to get ejected to try and get Kobe suspended..Hopefully it doesn't work.

Tye, the Lakers are getting tougher by the game. wait until Game 3. you might see an even tougher Lakers squad. and if Fish is suspended, that will rally the Lakers even more. they'll all be saying, "Lets win it for Derek!" as for calling Kobe a poodle, man, you got your animals confused. he's the Black Mamba, and he loves to stick daggers/his fangs into opponents on their home floor, especially in the playoffs.

for the people that don't think Kobe can keep up this scoring for the rest of the series, think again. he's only one year removed from his MVP year, and still in his prime.

Jon K., i applaud you yet again for toughing it out with all the drunks in Cleveland. i live in NJ, where there's not as much animosity towards the Lakers, but there is some. but i decided to just watch the game at home.

as for Fisher, i'm glad he did what he did. even if you call it being a "thug" or whatever. if it was truly a thug play, why won't Scola call the police and press charges? they can take Fish away in hand-cuffs. no, didn't happen, did it? it's because Scola knew it was simple retribution, and an ejection was good enough. WAY good enough. suspension? i hope not. but with Brown, Farmar (and don't forget Kobe, the best guard in the NBA, bar none), i still like our chances in Game 3.

fisher has no room to complaint, just show him the rerun. i actually prefer brown to start rather than fisher anyhow, the two your points should be given more playing time. fisher is old and can't keep up with those two hyper guards from houston. fisher deserve the susension for not doing his defensive assignment.

I am dissapointed at Bynum's effort out there. 2 things he needs to do is rebounding and defense, scoring will come later. Phil J is right, he needs to do these two things and the rest will follow but i don't see it from him so far. It is not a good sign. I hope i am wrong for the sake of the team. We need him as we go along. C'mon Andrew, show some heart out there, make most of your time and show some fire! Kinda like Sasha, he is struggling with his shot but when he's out there, i see him with so much emotion and effort it's kinda contagious! Andrew needs to be more active with the time he's got out there! Go Lakers!

Posted by: hyacinth | May 07, 2009 at 05:43 AM

==================
I disagree with this view. Common sense will tell you that when a big runs the floor he should be rewarded.

Further to leave AB out of the offense the Rockets know he will not get the ball and not defend against him so other Lakers can be doubled.

Yes AB needs to focus on defense and rebounding but the ticky tack fouls called on him are absurd.

The bottom line is AB needs to play with all his weapons both offensively and defensively.

Again PJ Pajamas is a moron coach. 47 seconds left in the game and 14 point lead and Pau still on the floor playing extended minutes and risking injury. Why not let DJ play?

LAKERS PUNCH BACK…

* Great game by the Lakers. Just as in Game 1, we grabbed more rebounds, dished out more assists, forced more turnovers, made more steals, blocked more shots, and had more shot attempts than the Rockets. Just as in Game 1, the refs gifted the Rockets by calling more fouls on the Lakers and awarding the Rockets with more free throws. The difference last night was the Lakers shot a much higher percentage, led by Kobe and Pau. And they punched back when attacked by the rough-and-tumble Rockets.

* What can you say about Kobe Bryant. The MVP showed last night that he still can ball with the very best. That pass of the backboard on the up-and-under move was sweet as any move any player has made this year. I wonder if he got credit for a rebound or assist on the play. In reality, he should have received one or the other. It was great to see Kobe decisive on his moves rather than allowing Battier or Artest to hover while he throws out a series of predictable head fakes. Quick and decisive moves neutralizes defenders.

* I also was thrilled to see Pau bounce back from his horrible game on Monday to play with heart and fire last night. I especially loved his making quick and decisive moves on Yao and taking the ball to the basket. In fact, I loved that the Lakers finally understood that Yao is actually very easy to get in foul trouble and proceeded to put the 7-6 giant on the bench for a good portion of the game. Pau did a better job on defense last night and actually blocked 4 shots but there were still too many Rocket layups and dunks.

* It really pisses me off that the refs allow Battier and Artest to physically body up and hassle Kobe on the perimeter without calling fouls. If the refs would give Kobe the love that they give LeBron and Wade, there would be NO way in the world teams could stop Kobe. This is all part of the NBA’s continued prejudice and bias against Kobe. And the comments about how Artest was elbowing and pushing Kobe from behind before Kobe finally got so mad that he used his elbow to clear some space. Who can blame him for taking the situation in his own hands since the refs obviously were derelict.

* It has been documented many times that the Houston defense, like that of the Celtics, is predicated on Tom Thibodeau’s theory that certain types of fouls that get called less than others and is designed to specifically take advantage of that situation by teaching their players when and where to foul and not to foul. It’s about time that the refs wised up to what the Rockets and Celtics are doing and start controlling the game. Otherwise, we are going to see events escalated to an outright war before this series is over.

* Count me as one who was happy to see Fish level Scola, although it appeared to me as if Scola knew the hit was coming and pulled the typical Euro soccer flop move. At any rate, you could see everybody on the Lakers team come out on fire after Fish’s punch back. While we will miss Fish for at least Friday’s game, it was worth it in my opinion. The Lakers need to stand up to the physicality that the Rockets use to try to intimidate them. Had they done the same thing Monday night, the series would be 2-0 right now.

* As for Drew, I was disappointed that he only got 9 minutes playing time. I thought he played excellent defense on Yao in the second half who only got the garbage dunk off the shot that Drew blocked in the corner. He was active and physical. Yes, he did foul Yao twice that resulted in free throws but it was not his fouls that put the Lakers into early penalty time. It was more stupid perimeter fouls by Sasha and Trevor. The Lakers will need Drew before we are done if they are to win the championship this year.

* As for Ron Artest, no way he continues to shoot or play as well as he has. I predict that he will revert to the out-of-control unpredictable maniac he really is in Game 3 and basically shoot the Rockets out of the series. Talk about another fourth quarter meltdown for Ron Ron and the Rockets. Throw in Von Wafer’s weird confrontation with Adelman and you can see why the fourth quarter will continue to be Houston’s Achilles heel.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

LAKERS IN 5!

Tom

Wes,

Do you know what bothers me about the Manny situation? That if it was just a "mistake" in a doctor prescription, why didn't he fight in reduction of the suspension? They say he was "advised" not to fight it..He is just a little innocent, I dont understand that logic..$8 million dollars he's losing! He's obviously more guilty then he is letting on.

Andrew Bynum says his problem is mental. Well, that would make sense because Bio-Chrono-speaking, Bynum is mental on three of four levels.

He needs to sort his head out to function on a healthy, coordinated level.

How can Bynum get his head back on straight?

Well, his mental process is focused on understanding. He has to have this NEED satiated for him to obtain mental focus. (And make no mistake, Andrew Bynum has an instinctual need to understand his situation. He craves that.)

How can other people help Andrew Bynum with this?

Communication. Lots of communication.

Understanding-orientated people are detail orientated and they have an instinctual need to UNDERSTAND their social role and to feel IMPORTANT in their social group IN DETAIL.

Phil Jackson--it seems--has not been doing that.

1. He needs to clearly, specifically, and at length explain to Andrew Bynum what is expected of him and what his role is within the group--now, short-term, mid-term, and long-term. Saying something like, "Get rebounds and play defense" won't work. It's not enough information. In fact, it will make the situation worse because it will intensify Andrew Bynum's lack of understanding because he simply has not been given enough information, especially in terms of specifics. This whole movement to the bench without length explanation isn't helping either.

2. After #1 is thoroughly satisfied, the coaching staff and his teammates need to communicate to Andrew Bynum WHY AND HOW his social role is important to the success of the team. Asking Andrew to figure it out on his own is FOOLHARDY AND COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. Yes, Andrew is smart enough to figure it out on his own. That's not the point! The point is that Andrew's particular mental type requires outside input to establish personal value within the group he belongs to. It's just the way it is! Particularly so if he is out of balance in terms of mental focus. He needs external input and the best way to do that is to explain it to him in detail so he acheives better understanding.

You know what pisses me off about this? Phil Jackson has a degree in Psychology. He should be able to figure most of this out on his own. Instead of having some blogger explain it using an odd form of Russian scientific analysis.

I mean, I could literally explain all this to Andrew in a way he would understand in 15 minutes and everything would be taken care of.

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant need to sit down with Andrew Bynum for 30 minutes and explain in detail his role and its importance to the group... IN DETAIL! Be positive, express condience, and be forward thinking and everything will work its way out. We'll have The Beast back.

Get it done, Phil. No more passive-aggressive communication. Andrew Bynum requires direct communication for clarity.

It's just how he is. It is immature to expect otherwise.

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

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

GO LAKERS!

BUTLER,

"So, you equate a blind-side body check with toughness? That's more cowardly than tough."

If that's what gets them a title, then good. How many Suns fans would trade a few fouls like that from a hard-nosed player for their year-in-year-out act of futility known as the NBA season? Those KJ/Barkley/Majerle teams had some tough players who were less than admirable on many occasions. Especially Barkley. You were still rooting for them. Would you be sad or angry if the Suns made it to the Finals by having someone stick their neck out and say enough is enough? Nope. You'd be cheering the same as us.

If that foul means that Derek Fisher is a coward, then I want a team of Derek Fishers and I'll watch them win a championship and cheer every single hard foul.

BUTLER,

Also,

How can you call it blind side? He was looking directly at Fish when the hit came, as is evidenced in the picture above. It was actually delivering his blind side to Scola.

"On the Bryant-Artest play, the two were battling for rebounding position when Bryant struck Artest with his elbow. Artest immediately began gesturing and arguing that he had been elbowed in the neck, but replays appeared to show Bryant's elbow striking Artest on his upper chest, just above the "R" on Artest's Rockets jersey."

"On the Fisher foul, the replays appeared to show clear premeditation -- which usually is enough for the league to tack on an accompanying one-game suspension. But replays also showed the actual foul against Scola happened when Fisher lowered his shoulder and knocked Scola over, with Fisher only swinging his elbow on the follow-through."

Good column on the game:

http://tinyurl.com/c483w4

 
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