Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Lakers 100, Magic 75: An outcome that would make Doug Henning cry

Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers used the Orlando Magic as their prop.  We used "Matt."



The breakdown is below the jump.

Three Good

  • Kobe Bryant:  Oddly enough, this forty point juggernaut- setting a new Finals best for Kobe- Kobe and Pau slap five appeared anything but a given from the outset.  The Mamba's first quarter was spent mostly on ice, 3-9 shooting producing just eight labored points.  But once the follow up frame concluded with the same amount of shots and twice the makes, I got the very distinct feeling that something wicked this ways comes.  That vibe proved entirely on point. 

    Once Bryant found his flow, he was quite literally unstoppable.  Posting up victims (often Courtney Lee) before spinning to the rack.  Rising to can 15-20 foot jumpers as a hapless perimeter defender (often Mickael Pietrus) was reduced to "deflated spectator" status.  Knifing through the lane and a sea of Orlando bodies (Basically, if you play for the Magic, you're co-owner of this title) to either draw the foul, lay the ball in, or both.  Plus, hella post-bucket snarling. 

    Kobe supporter But lest anyone mistake this prowess as being dead set on merely padding points, Bryant's excellence was better rounded than Eddy Curry's physique.   He masterfully moved the rock, carving up Orlando's D like a Thanksgiving bird for eight assists.  His eight rebounds matched the rebound tally for Orlando's entire guard crew.  Toss in a pair of blocks and steals to offset just one turnover- impressive in and of itself, considering how often the ball resided in Kobe's palm- and this night emphatically set a tone for a campaign that hopefully marks his first Finals MVP award. 

    Ever wonder what an all-time great looks like while refusing to allow even the slightest chance of a dropped series opener?  Well, kinda like Kobe this evening.
  • Supporting cast contributions: Make no mistake, naming this particular show's star wouldn't require a panel of talking heads debating.  The argument begins and ends with Kobe.  But unlike past occurrences, grabbing that spotlight didn't leave Kobe gobbling Doans to nurse a sore back.  Help was offered by the bushel.  Some guys notched more complete efforts than others, but with virtually no exceptions, everybody logging notable minutes found notable ways to contribute.

    The most complete efforts were provided by a pair of reserves.  The talk surrounding Lamar Odom of late has centered mostly around a proclivity for sugar rushes, a topic he's grown visibly weary of discussing.  And what better way to change the subject than notching eleven points, a team-high fourteen boards and a redunkulous +21 Lenovo rating from off the pine.  More performances like  that, and people won't give a crap if Odom announces that he kicks off every day by mainlining Pixie Stix.  And I must confess, even as someone often maintaining that Luke Walton's defense takes a blog beating largely the effect of a mob mentality gone haywire, I had my doubts as to whether he could check Hedo Turkoglu, given the Turkish sharpshooter's size, speed and, frankly, skill advantages.  Well, not only did the ex-King's production drop dramatically with Walton shadowing him, Luke's contributions on the other end were equally strong.  Nine points on 4-5 shooting, plus Lakers supporting cast a pair of assists and rebounds.  Perhaps a sign that a strong Game 6 against Denver marks an upward trend in the works.
     
    From there, less non-stop success, but plenty to smile about.  Nine first half points from Derek Fisher.  Jordan Farmar skying to save a bad pass from Odom, then recognizing LO on a cut and feeding him for the "and one" basket.  Trevor Ariza's opening half was a total struggle, bageled in the scoring column and often victimized by Hedo Turkoglu.  Rather than losing focus, Ariza maintained his energy, returned a third quarter scoreless favor to Turkoglu and fired up the crowd with a block from behind on Rashard Lewis.  Pau Gasol was nearly as unimpressive during the opening 24 (6 points on 3-7 shooting, just three boards, two turnovers and some visible disjointedness), but like Ariza, El Spaniard left Staples on a high note, his success especially marked while running pick and rolls with Bryant. 
  • Orlando's numbers (and to clarify, these only qualify as "good" if you're rooting Lakers): If that praise heaped upon various Lakers doesn't make perfectly clear how Game 1 was secured, take a look at the figures littering the Magic's half of the box score.  30% from the field.  35% from behind the arc (not horrendous, but when you launch 23 of them, more success is needed).  A third quarter limiting the Magic to 21% shooting and just fifteen points.  A paltry ten dimes against eight turnovers.  42 rebounds to L.A.'s 55.

    And as for the number "3" (as in "Big"), Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis combined for just 33 points on a pitiful 6-27 clip.  In particular, Howard was a wash out, putting up just six shots and saddled with whistles.

    Basically, total deconstruction, no matter which angle chosen to view it.

The "Not BAD, but in need of tweaking"

  • Andrew Bynum: Before anybody accuses me of going negative on Socks, let me say right off theAndrew Bynum dunks bat that Drew's overall effect was a net positive.   Nine points and nine rebounds (three on the offensive glass), plus one shot blocked and countless others altered.  His activity was also non-stop in what was arguably the best he's looked this entire postseason.  Certainly, a building block for Game 2.  But the only way Bynum can take the next step is to remain on the floor, and that remains an issue.  

    He sucked down halftime Gatorade with three fouls by his name, creating a precarious second half scenario.  And wouldn't you know it, barely two minutes passed after the break before the fourth whistle, which pinned Drew to the bench for the frame's remainder.  How bad did it get for Drew?  Later, a fifth foul was briefly added to AB17's jumbotron total before the infraction drawn by Howard under the bucket was switched to Fisher.  An unfortunate pulse racer for Drew, but the way his night was going, can you really blame the scoreboard operator for "making an ass out of you and me?" 

    In the case of a couple fouls, I think judgment was the issue.  While I loved seeing Bynum clearly out to ensure Howard never found life easy, sometimes you gotta know when to say when.  A couple of Superman's buckets needed to be conceded with the goal of fighting another day.  Hopefully, Drew can learn to distinguish these situations.  But bear in mind, this observation comes against the backdrop of how well Bynum performed. 

AK

VIDEO

Luke Walton, on forcing Orlando into difficult shots

Luke Walton, on maintaining Game 1's energy

Andrew Bynum, on his Game 1 performance

POSTGAME QUOTES... From Kobe and Phil... then Pau and LO.

 
Comments () | Archives (107)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Woke up early this morning sick. Had a long day at work with unpleasant clients. Car battery died, leaving me stranded at work for 2 hours and preventing me from watching the game. Lakers won.

All in all, a very good day.

Great game Lakers!!!

Stay humble & hungry. The Magic will shoot much better and play better in general next game. But we can get that one too if we stay agressive.

Go Lakers!!!

I haven't even read this post yet but I had to quickly weigh in my thoughts on tonight's game. Not too surprised by the blow out and seemingly dominant Laker win. It was already discussed here by BK? that the Magic would lose at least one game due to their virgin status as a Finals team. I think we got that one out of the way. I expect a more competitive opponent the next game but that in no way diminished the importance of winning in this fashion tonight. A statement was made by The Lake Show and a win on Sunday will go a long way towards wrapping up this series earlier than most people expect. I think it's likely to go 6 but I've yet to envision a scenario where LA does not have the best chance at controlling this series.

AB looked active and up to the challenge of playing Dwight to a draw. He looked better most of the night up until the 3rd foul, which essentially ended his minutes on the court. Solid 1st quarter. Only hope he continue to be as active has he played tonight. This could go a long way to restoring some of that missing confidence.

Fish played pretty damn well for as much abuse as he's taken this postseason. LO gave us the effort that was needed on a night like this. Might not be enough on other nights. Trevor was pretty distant tonight outside of a nice 3 pointer and some decent defensive sequences. The Usual Suspects (Sasha, JFarm, and Shannon) were not too much of a factor either.

The night belonged to Kobe and too a much lesser extent Pau. Our two All-Stars lived up to their reputations and carried this team to a dominant performance on both ends. Kobe once again blows the roof off of Staples with a career high Finals game. Some of those shots were nothing short of beautiful. If he continues to play at this level, dude is going to seriously make some people start the MVP recall efforts.

We got this!!!!!

The Lakers indeed played a great all-around game. The next thing they should do is to double the effort they put in today for the next game as we can be sure the Magic will lay everything on the floor to try to steal one.

Kudos to the whole team and kudos to all the Lakers faithful worldwide for the steadfast support and trust.

The Philippines loves Lakers!

I think Bynum had the "you won't dunk on me" mentality. So when he got beat he made egregious touch fouls. Not the best way to rack em up but still I thought he played not so bad. Next time he needs to have that same mentality but play for the block without body fouls. Torq himself so he can get angles.

He certainly brought the energy from the get go and I thought that turned the game to our favor. Of course the real tide came with the Kobe explosion 6 points after being down 5 and the lead. From then on we never looked back.

I'm surprised you didn't focus on the defense more. It wasn't so much stifling in my opinion as it was smart. We made sure we left the right guys open and we made sure we doubled those that needed it. Pick and roll was pretty good, could have been better...they still got into the paint more than I'd like but it was still a good effort. Certainly good enough to hold them to 58 points in 3 quarters and certainly good enough to win the game with a blowout victory.

But tonight all that falls to the wayside to the greatness of Kobe. They say one offensive player cannot change the complexity of the game. There is no championship without defense (I agree to a point) but Kobe took their hearts and their confidence with his relentless pursuit. The defense we locked in was icing on the cake.

GO Lakers!

*** NOT FOR MAMBA24 TO TOOT HIS OWN HORN BUT I BELIEVE MORE
THAN 2 MONTHS AGO I SAID THE LAKERS WERE SAVING THEIR NEW
DEFENSE FOR THE PLAYOFFS AND IT WOULD BE REVEALED IN FULL INT THE FINAL ROUND. WELL FOLKS DID YOU LIKE REVELATION. SO NOW LETS ALL SAY A BIG THANK YOU TO KURT RAMBIS. THANK YOU KURT.
THIS IS MAMBA24 SAYING GOOD NIGHT TO MY LAKER NATION FAMILY ON
THE LAST HALF HOUR OF MY BIRTHDAY. THANK YOU EVERYBODY FOR BEARING
WITH ME YESTERDAY:
LAKER TOM, THE OUTLAW, utzworld THE BANNER HOLDER, EASTCOASTJESSIE
JUST ANOTHER MAMBA, JON K, MR NANO, LEONARD BAST, #4, BD, OTIS,
WESJOE NIXON, CHARLES, RICK FRIEDMAN, CHICnSTU, HOUSTONLAKER,
VENICE, LAKER ANGEL, GREG, EDWIN GUECO, JESTER GURU, PYSCHED LAKER GIRL DAVE M. & THE WHOLE LAKER BLOG
THANKS AND GOODNIGHT

Man, I've never seen Kobe this focused, the guy looked like he was angry at the entire room during the postgame conference... dude came very close to mistreating some people.

Well, as long as he keeps dropping 40-8-8 every game for the rest of the series, he can punch Adande in the face, I'm sure he can take it like a man.

AHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA


GOODNIGHT, LAKERVILLE and happy birthday Mamba 24 wherever you are!!

Magic cannot match our size and again the key to winning chip is attacking rim.

Keep it going Lakers!!!

Happy irthday Mamba24!

OOOps s/b Happy Birthday Mamba 24!

NOT BAD???????

Great analysis, AK, but I think you got lost in the trees and lost sight of the forest. With all due respect, Andrew Bynum was the second most important Laker tonight even though he was limited to just 22 minutes due to foul difficulties. He set the tone from the opening tip that there was going to be no 40 point game tonight from Dwight Howard. He out-boarded Pau Gasol in just half the minutes. And he outplayed Dwight Howard in the first half.

With Kobe and Pau both off to a slow start, Drew’s play against Dwight in the first quarter gave the Lakers all-important confidence a huge boost and it was Phil’s timely move to put Drew and Kobe back into the game in the 2nd quarter trailing by 5 that ingited the Lakers to take charge of the game. Great pick and roll offense by Kobe and Drew and great defense and rebounding by Drew powered the Lakers to their 10 point half-time lead.

I also disagree with respect to Drew wasting fouls. No way should he have allowed Howard to dunk the ball. His job was to prevent that even if he had to use up his fouls. That is the luxury we have with our depth. Put him on the line where he is embarrassed. Don’t let him energize his team with a dunk. Drew did exactly what he should have. And the result was that he played Dwight even while he was in the game. And that was the anchor on which tonight’s victory was built. That was the key to our great defense.

This game was won at half-time. The Lakers knew it and so did the Magic. The Lakers knew they had the personnel and scheme to stop Dwight and the Magic knew they did not have anybody to slow down Kobe. Game ball to the MVP, of course, but 1st honorable mention should go to AB17. Not taking anything away from great performances from Pau, Lamar, and Luke, but Andrew Bynum was a hell of a lot better than “Not Bad.” He was the second most important reason after Kobe Bryant why the Lakers crushed the Magic.

Anyway, that’s my take on Drew’s role and importance in tonight’s win. Drew was a beast.

Tom

Happy birthday Mamba24!

Greetings from Serbia.

Woke up this morning and YES, Great News. LA WON !

On the other hand I hope everyone realizes that Orlando will NOT play and shoot like this again in this series.

it was nice watching Pau sprint so hard in transition every make or miss. that really helped keep the Magic from an easy time taking advantage of their strengths...

anyone knows a good orlando magic blog? wondering what they are reading...the ones i went to had almost ZERO comments and fans

GOOOOooOOOOO LAKERS!!!

HOW SWEET IT IS !!!!

Happy Belated Mr. Mamba (Larry) 24

Now recall our tendency to trade blow-outs with folks. One game is only one game. They played poorly. But, we are peaking. We are bringing lots of weapons to the fore. When we play team ball we have a very good chance on any given night. And, we're one game closer!

GOOooooOOO LAKERS!!!

Dwight has ZERO dunks.

It is so scary how we played last night,I mean seriously. When we play like that,we're unbeatable and I do mean that. Shave some kobe points and give em too shannon,sasha and trevor. Man,I bet the world is mad!

I'll go ahead and argue that Bynum's performance was dynamic and quietly spectacular and the best he's looked all postseason.

The way he refused to let Howard get to his favorite spots was amazing and uplifting. The first quarter Bynum basically carried the Lakers psychologically by playing Howard to a draw.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Bynum was doing exactly what I had been praying he's do. He beat Howard down the court, he knew Howard's favorite spots and wouldn't let him get to them, his length and strength discombobulated Howard and took the spirit right out of the whole Magic team.

I mean, if Bynum can handle Howard one on one, what hope do they have?

They have a lot of hope, I'm just saying, Bynum stepped up HUGE last night.

Wes

KB outscored the entire ORL team in the 3Q 18-15. Whew!!

4;49 of the Third Quarter. In a post season full of some of the worse officiating I have ever seen, I think that was perhaps the worse call of the playoffs.

Forgot who Fish was guarding but Dwight Howard CLEARLY in real time set about as much of a moving screen as is possible. He was running out and Fish did nothing wrong and was whistled. In a close game this could have been huge.

Need refs to step up their game like the Lakers. The team is foucsed playing great team defense. If they do that, No. 15 is ours.

i didn't anticipate this.

reminded me of the train scene in Tombstone.

"you tell em i'm comin and hell's comin with me..."

no sense in talking about the Crab Puppet...

Mamba's got it and he shoved it down Orlando's throat.

I called 6 but i'm not so sure anymore.

Everybody else in the squad showed up.

Bring the title back to where it belongs, fellas!

GO LAKES!!!!

Nice gift for Mamba and all of the Nation !!! I like the way the bigs collapsed on howard, because he's not a good passer by any means. I a;lso see that whomever is matched against lewis, lee, and nelson should have a field day. Good recognition to realize Fish should be agressive against nelson and see how much he wants to run into off ball screens with that tender shoulder. Aso whomever guards Kobe will lose something on the offensive end in order to focus on holding him under 50 !!

This article is to bias towards the lakers, especially Kobe! Obviously a laker fan. It's very easy for Kobe, the whole Laker team, to produce, not his first picnic. The fact that Kobe has to carry the team should scare laker fans, Kobe solo has yet to produce...

Thanks, PJ. Peaking at the right time.

Too much talk of Lakers sweeping in the media. That makes me nervous. The Magic shooters had wide open shots that they WILL start to make, particularly in Orlando, and those shots would have certainly put them in pace, if not well ahead, of the Lakers.

This Orlando team is too good, and the Lakers are too prone to mental lapses to start talking sweep, or even championships right now. To me, this thing is still a toss up.

Great win for the Lake show.......I expect Kobe to knock down some of the easy 15footers he missed in game 1...he'll have an even bigger game 2. However, Orlando will also play much better and I anticipate a tight game 2 win for the Lakers.

Kobe will have 50Pts/5/4+ , Pau 18/10/2, LO/Bynum 22/18/4, Laker supporting cast 20

Howard 25/15/4, Lewis/Turk 40/15/8, Orlando supporting cast 41pts

Lakers will win 110 -106


2009 The Kobe/Pau/Bynum dynasty begins

LOL w EJK
This year has been like that!

Is the jello jiggling yet?

Lil wayne's new song.. on Kobe
http://tinyurl.com/osk7aj

I agree with you, AK. This is clearly the best Drew's looked for the entire playoffs -- while he was on the floor. When he was out there the game was completely different. He consistently beat Howard down the floor and kept hip up towards the elbow every time down the floor.

When Howard did manage to beat him down the floor, Drew would catch up and push him back out the paint. Which is what he should do, but on a couple of occasions, as you pointed out, he was just a little too obvious about it. Those were fouls that were just too easy to call. Sometimes when you get beat, you were beat. Take your posterization like a man and move on so you can stay on the floor, know what I mean?

It seemed like every time Drew got the ball, the Magic got all desperate and antsy and worried. Like he was about to take over the game. They seemed to be putting a LOT of effort into making sure he didn't get into too much of a groove himself.

He was scary.

But, unfortunately for those who like competitive games, the two dominant big men in this series are BOTH foul magnets. Howard and Drew really know how to pile them up, don't they?

Difference is, when Howard gets into foul trouble, the Magic are basically done for the night. When Drew gets into foul trouble, he gets replaced by Gasol, and LO replaces Gasol.

So, you go from a dominating presence Center to a dominating skill center, and from a dominating skill Power Forward to a dominating all-around Power Forward whenever Drew sits down.

That is the ultimate pick your poison situation for the other team.

I often wonder what would happen if a team resolved to let Bynum stay on the floor, to minimize LO's impact on a game by keeping him on the bench?

Naaaaaaa, forget it. No one would do that, would they?

--Fearless

" A couple of Superman's buckets needed to be conceded with the goal of fighting another day. "

And let Howard dunk??!!!

This is the Playoffs. AB was doing exactly what Boston did to Howard. Not only make him earn from the line, but keep him out of rythym, and it worked beautifully.

Howard lives off his dunks, it fires him up to play better and more focused defense. Midway through the 3rd, Howard was just going through the motions, he had given up.

It was a masterful job on Howard, maybe one of the best of all time, and should be recognized as such. (one fg, playoff low)

Bynum started strong and set the tone, knocked Howard back a bit. Then he continued to contest and hit DwH hard, (a message foul?) across the arms. He even was warned by Crawford. (I loved it, a Lakers being warned for playing too rough)

One foul was uncalled for. Howard lowered HIS shoulder into AB and AB got whistled in the 3rd, definately not Bynum's lack of smartness. More like Howard's loss of control mentally and being rewarded by the Refs.

Bynum grew up a little tonight and outplayed the best center in the NBA. Should be praised for that, not belittled, no?

We have played 3 good games in a row. Not since the all-stars.

That makes me feel good about the outcome

Baywood

A lovely Friday morning in Boston...raining and a dark overcast sky, a balmy 50 degrees, wing gusts of 40mph blowing my new $20 umbrella into the Boston Harbor, and the train broke down 8 blocks from my office so I'm walking.

YET...I haven't been this happy in a long time. I have a certain pep in my step that can only come from the dominating win of my Lakers team last night. Screw everything else, we're on our way to a championship.

I have to give props to the entire team for bringing it last night. Regardless of the size of the contribution, it made a huge difference. Here are my thoughts on that:

D.E.F.E.N.S.E.....Wow, what can I say? The defense was consistent throughout the game. Orlando shot 29% and it wasn't all because their offense was off. They hadn't tried shooting with a 7 footer running at them. I also loved the way we forced Dwight out of the paint a foot or two. The man has no outside shot whatsoever.

Kobe...What can we really say about the greatest player in basketball. This man is focused and lethal. I'm loving the new "kill 'em" look with the teeth. Makes him look fierce.

LO...Another double double and he looked active out there when we needed him to be. Best part to me, the rebounds. 14 of them to be exact. Lifetime candy supply for Lamar.

Pau...Mr. Quietly Consistent was at it again. I couldn't believe Orlando gave him so much space for his favorite face up shots. He also altered some of Dwight's attempts.

Luke...OMG, yes I said Luke. He was great last night. Nice spark off the bench. No crazy turnovers or stupid fouls. Just a good overall game. No complaints from me today.

Bynum...Not as impressive as I'd like him to be but he really got us going in the 1st quarter with his energy and his shots. He's coming along nicely and will most likely see many more minutes against Dwight.

All in all, it's lovely in Lakerland. If they Lakers can continue to play stifling defense, I may have to change my prediction to 5 games or less.

I better enjoy while I'm at work. Someone approached my husband yesterday and told him he looks A LOT like Kobe. Now I have to go home and explain that I really did marry him for him. ;-) hehehe

GO LAKERS! 3 more wins baby!

I thought the Lakers came out prepared and ready for the Magic, so kudos to Phil and the coaching staff. I also found some of the rotations very interesting and reflected a willingness by Phil to change things up, at least more than I have seen this playoffs (and season). I saw Bynum and Odom on the floor together, particularly when Pau struggled in the first half, then Brown and Farmar on the floor at the same time and it wasn't garbage time. He also gave Luke extended playing time and I thought Luke did a good job of playing to his strengths.

I'm also glad to see that Phil exploited the biggest mismatch of the series with Kobe and Courtney Lee. In all the pre-game hoopla, not many national media folks talked about this. Seems like the Magic need to go back and re-think their defensive approach.

Game 2 won't be easier (I hope I'm wrong), but I think we see that the Lakers can exploit some very key advantages, while mostly minimizing what the Magic are good at.

Promised land on the horizon, coming into focus!

Getting up this morning with my normal routine, but with one difference

When I looked in the mirror while brushing my teeth, I noticed I was cleanning vigoursly, with a scowl on my face. Just like Kobe. I even scared myself.

I like it. Kobe is even influencing us commenters

48 minutes of killer, never let up effort. Keep this up and this series is ours.

Go Lakers! The Lakers freight train is rolling!

All due respect to Kobe, the Bigs won this game. Drew, Pau, and LO, deservet the credit on the they did on Howard.

Kobe had a great game but he shot WAY too much, even Jackson called him out on it at the end of the 3rd quarter.

I agree Drew has to let some of the fouls go on Howard. That last foul he picked up before the half was just a horrible decision. Let Howard dunk that one.

Good Morning, Laker Nation!

It's time for...

Jon K.'s Early Thoughts That He Has Not Put Too Much Thought Into Yet:

1. Great win last night. If I hear too many complaints, LakerTom, Mamba24 and I are going to start tracking bloggers down and kicking them in the shins.

2. I give Laker Nation a 5.75 (on a 10 point scale) last night. They were present throughout the game, which was good. It was clearly better than last year, but it wasn't like there was a wall of sound raging across the court throughout the entire game.

3. When I saw Kobe Bryant's face right before tip-off, I broke out into a dark hysterical laughter. A laughter that said, "Holy crap! The Magic don't know what's about to hit him!" I've kind of grown up with Kobe, so I can read him. I concur with THI, I've never seen him this ready. The Magic don't stand a chance.

4. Luke Walton, unstoppable offensive machine! I say that a little tongue in cheek, but who can deny that they guy was aggressive when he came on the court. This whole team is ready.

5. The refs play Andrew way too tight. I saw several incidents where Andrew was mauled and there was no foul, and then other times when be breathed on Howard and got a foul. It's not really fair, but I'm hoping Andrew (and the refs) will be able to better manage the game as the series unfolds.

6. 43-0. [Far more impressive than the lucky barstool's 48-6.] The Magic is aware of this number and psychologically it is going to affect their game in a negative sense.

7. I was listening to Stan Van Gundy's pre-game speech to his team. He was going on and on about respect and how the media and the world don't give the Magic enough of it. (Van Gundy is respect-orientated Bio-Chronologically-speaking.) Wrong speech to give. After getting beat up like they did, they're going to NOW question whether or not they deserve respect. I don't see a huge bounce back in Game Two.

8. I don't see this as a six game series anymore. I'm readjusting my prediction to five games now.

9. To quote a LeBroniac last night, crying mournfully, "Why couldn't the Magic shoot 30% against US?" Dude, because you're not the Lakers.

10. A female LeBroniac was seething with anger last night and hissed to me, "Kobe is gay! I know it. I'm a girl and I've gaydar. You wouldn't understand because you're a guy, but Kobe is gay." I said to her, "But he's married and he's got two kids." She responded spitefully, "SO? Lots of gay men have kids. He's secretly gay! I know it." {Whince and shrug.}

11. I've got some VERY interesting information about LeBron James and Cav Nation that I'm going to have to put in a separate thread. Real insider stuff.

12. If the Lakers play as they did last night for the rest of the series, they will sweep the Magic, no matter how much better the Magic play. The team I saw play last night is unbeatable.

13. Despite how impressed I am with our team, we can play better. Sasha can play significantly better. If Andrew Bynum can stay out of foul trouble and IMPROVE with each game he plays against Howard (which I believe he will, actually), then we are looking at a true historic team of redemption. Haters beware.

14. I'm very proud of this team. It's just one game and the Magic are a VERY good team, but we came out to play for Game One. We knew how important the game was and we were ready.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Great clips but I think you guys should post a pic of the creature from Alien - I definitely thought Kobe was chaneling him last night.

At the game......one man's perspective....

I arrived in LA about 2 hours before game time with a good buddy of mine. First stop is always the second-story bar at the Holiday Inn, across the street from Staples Center. Having a cold beer surrounded by nothing but Lakers fans in all their Laker gear is a great time, and a nice way to get amped up for the game!

About an hour before tip-off I get in line to enter Staples. There is an incredible ruckus there, as there is approximately 30 Orlando fans all dressed in their Magic blues, many of them wearing red Superman capes. They started chanting "Lakers suck!", so of course all of the Lakers fans turned it around to "Magic sucks!". I asked one of them why they had to name their team after one of our best players. What's next, the Pittsburgh Abdul-Jabbars? It was crazy fun...

Finally made it inside and to my seat... all the players get introduced, national anthem gets sung incredibly well, and all the Lakers look hungry. I ended up sitting right next to 2 Magic fans (wouldn't you know, haha). I think they thought they had it in the bag just because Howard stole the tip. I let them know that they still sucked, and that they were going down (all in good fun, of course).

I loved Bynum's start. I don't know if it translated to tv, but he absolutely electrified the crowd by being so aggressive at the basket. I think people realize his importance to this team, especially in this series, and he was rewarded with applause and wild cheering when he finally went to the bench for the first time.

A couple of other thoughts..... those that hate Luke Walton need to get over it. He KILLED last night and took the Lakers up a level. If he continues to play D and score like that off the bench, the Magic are in big, big trouble.

When Kobe finally started getting hot, a group of us Laker fans had to yell down to the court, "you may be able to stop LeBrick James, but you ain't gonna stop the Black Mamba BAAAAABBY!!!!!!"

Van Jeremy putting Jameer Nelson in the game. What an idiotic, desperate move. I loved it!

Lakers fans, 3 more to go and then it's time for OUR PARADE! Go Lakers!!!

Jigglin out....

Good morning,

Kobe Bryant gave new meaning to the word "unstoppable" on Thursday night. The Mamba looked like he would kill his grandmother for a basket. What a competitor! What a leader! His team mates did everything they could to follow his example.

I hope they also heeded his words after the game. "We haven't won anything yet." They haven't. The Magic didn't get this far without talent and the ability to compete. The Magic are still worthy competitors and now they have even more to prove. Teams suffering a beat-down like the Lakers gave the Magic traditionally play their next game with a vengeance. Sunday will be a new day and a new game.

Game 1 may turn out to be the easiest game of the series. The Magic were getting looks. They just weren't getting points. Any team that makes the NBA Finals is not likely to shoot below 30%, no matter how good the Defense.

The good news is what we saw from Andrew Bynum (when he could stay on the floor) and from Lamar Odom. Their blocks and rebounds made a huge difference. Andrew should gain confidence from his Game 1 performance. Lamar should come away from Game 1 understanding how important it is to give his best effort. For all the bashing Luke Walton has suffered all season long, he showed us all that he can make a valuable contribution.

I caution everyone saying "sweep" that the Lakers will need three efforts even better than we saw saw in Game 1to achieve the Championship everyone covets. No letup. No mercy. Take nothing for granted. The Magic will make adjustments. It is a best of seven series. That said, the Lakers are off to a strong start. Go Lakers!

Listening to ESPN radio this morning and I couldn't believe my ears. Two themes with the Mike and Mike show and the stand in for Colin Cowherd--mild criticism of Kobe.

Weird. After such a monumental finals bust out performance there's still this desire to find something negative to write or say about Kobe.

So, apparently, Kobe we acting "odd" or "disingenuous" with his gritty performance last night. Apparently the idea with these radio guys is that if the emotion and grumpiness from Kobe that we all saw last night and last week is real, then why haven't we seen it more often?

Doesn't make sense. Kobe sees a direct path to the finals, wants it bad and is dead serious about getting this championship.

Would they rather have Van Exel chanting "Cancun" in the locker room? I personally am glad Kobe is taking a do or die attitude toward these finals. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I just think it's telling that there was such gloom and doom by these radio guys this morning. And I guess it's Kobe's fault again.

The callers are defending Kobe but these radio guys wont get off this wacked "Kobe did bad again kick."

Are you kidding me?

Holy smokes.

Wes

Why is the Colorado incident being talked about on ESPN this morning by Ryan Racillo?

Let the man go, haters.

Wes

{Lakers Secret Agent Jon K. Reporting From DEEP Behind Enemy Lines In The Shattered Psychic Wasteland That Is The Defeated Region Of Northeast Ohio}

[LeBron James Update: Insider Info]

Okay, I got this information from two psycho-LeBroniacs who actually went to high school with LeBron James, one of whom played basketball with LeBron James in high school.

This information actually made me hate LeLoser less. Some of this information (I was told) has been actively surpressed by LeBron James whom (I was told) threatened local media if it was released:

1. LeBron James really loves his mother.

2. LeBron James' mother has a MAJOR on-going drug problem and very poorly developed social skills.

3. LeBron James really wasn't raised by his mother. He pretty much raised himself, relatively speaking. The most significant person who was there for him was actually his uncle until he was arrested for money laundering. Throughout most of his childhood, his mother either wasn't there or she was, but was overcome by drug addiction.

4. LeBron James wants to play for the Nets and leave Cleveland.

5. However, LeBron is seriously worried that if he leaves his mother alone in Cleveland that she will spiral downhill in a very negative way.

6. He is also worried that if he takes his mother with him to New York that local media (it being New York after all) will seize upon his mother's bizarre actions like jackals to a wounded rabbit. THIS is the number one reason why he will probably stay in Cleveland.

7. His mother was this year arrested for a DUI. When she was put in the back of the police car, she had a freakout and kicked out the back window of the police car screaming, "I'm the Queen of Cleveland, you [obsenities]!" The event never made the news because LeBron called up all the local television stations and threatened them if they revealed the story. All the stations backed down.

8. At a recent Saint Vincent game playing Western Reserve (high schools), LeBron's mom was screaming obsenities at Saint Vincent's coach that he was awful because he couldn't beat a team of white players while throwing green "Witness" shirts to people in the crowd. She was also seen in the lobby talking to herself and showing signs of what appeared to be drug withdrawl.

9. The Cavs are going to make a run for Rasheed Wallace, Shaquille O'Neal, and Jason Kidd next year. I, personally, don't know how they're supposed to pull that off, but it is a stop-gap measure to keep LeBron James from jumping ship.

{Lakers Secret Agent Jon K. Signing Out}

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Happy Birthday Larry, you old bustard.

Wes

Oh my!!!!!! Now let's crank it up a notch in every game until the deed is done.

Hello! I missed the game due to my final last night. Just watched the high;ights for an hour and the 1 st quarter.

Man am I smiling at work!

hat's off to kobe and the lakers ... but we've still got 6 more games and this series is far from over ...

on another note ... I never blasted lebron james for skipping the press conference but now imma put david stern on blast for deciding to fine him like a week later and offering an apology on behalf of lebron ... i can only imagine how the convo went down ...

Stern: Hey king james, calling to let you know what you did was wrong
James: wtf, you know i hate losing
Stern: Will you pls apologise, you're the face of the league?
James: Umm bite me, I'm a competitor
Stern: What if I offer the apology on your behalf
James: Whatever makes your day yo
Stern: And is a 25k fine ok, just to get the press of my back
James: Dude I make it rain, 25k ain't even a drizzle
Stern: I knew you'd understand
James: w/e yo ... u lucky u my dawg

Urgh!! Stern is so tacky!! It's like the league constantly 2nd guesses itself. Stick with your decisions and just move on. No need for reverted techs/flags/fines etc ... it just makes it seem like they're clueless up there and constantly worried about being judged in the court of public opinion ... we don't watch the games to see lebron shake howards hands at the end of the game or to feel that the league is fair in upgrading d jones trip to a flagrant ... we watch to see ballers ball ... to see derric rose and ben gordon give the hated celtics a run for their money and to see lamar odom step up big in game 6

Worry about the game yo and stop trying to control grown men!!!! This ain't high school and mr commisioner, you ain't a teacher.

David Stern = Control Freak!!!

Wes,

>>> I'll go ahead and argue that Bynum's performance was dynamic and
>>> quietly spectacular and the best he's looked all postseason.

>>> The way he refused to let Howard get to his favorite spots was amazing
>>> and uplifting. The first quarter Bynum basically carried the Lakers
>>> psychologically by playing Howard to a draw.

Excellent post, Wes. Glad SOMEBODY was watching the same game I was. I told you not to worry. Andrew Bynum was the second most important Laker last night. I expect Dwight to come loaded for bear on Sunday night but look for Drew to be loaded for beast.

Tom

John K,

Why'd you have to go and do that? Now, you've got me hatin' LBJ less. A LOT less. I was just gettin' used to hatin' on him real hard.

Dang! Are there no more villains in sports?

We'll, there's always the Celtics...

*sigh*
--Fearless

AK/Fatty,

" A couple of Superman's buckets needed to be conceded with the goal of fighting another day. "

I think I'm with Fatty on this one.

According to his Bio-Chrono reading, Howard plays worst when he:

1. Is not given the space to play his game.
2. When he is made to work ("WORK" being the key operative word) for eveything he does. Ev-er-y-th-ing. Everything.

Yes, I'd rather see Andrew Bynum not get into foul trouble, but this strategy of contesting EVERYTHING that Howard does did and will work.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Taliq,

David Stern has to go. His time has passed.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Fearless,

I'm just passing along what I was told and what SEEMED to be sincerely passed on along to me.

If you want to hate on LeBron James, I can tell you plenty of stories I've been told of personal interactions where he acted like a complete scumbag.

I can also tell you stories of people who knew him as a kid and said that he was really nice, when he was a kid.

So... it seems to me that the guy's an overall jerk, but he loves his mother and had a VERY tough childhood. That seems to be the most accurate picture of the REAL LeBron James.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Today is a good day.

Keep it up Lakers!

Jon K,

Very interesting info there. When I was watching Lebron accept his MVP, they showed his mom and I couldn't help but to think she looks like a crackhead. Well, your post clarifies that.

You have to give Lebron props. I've lived through a similar situation and it's not easy seeing your mom go through that stuff. He's got a very good head on his shoulders considering the circumstances.

Go Lakers!

Fatty,

>>> " A couple of Superman's buckets needed to be conceded with the goal of
>>> fighting another day. " -AK

>>> And let Howard dunk??!!! –Fatty

I made the exact same point, Fatty. Dwight Howard’s dunk total last night? ZERO. Both Drew and Pau outplayed Superman. AK’s evaluation of Drew’s performance as “NOT BAD” was ridiculously NOT GOOD.

Drew did exactly what he should have done. Stop Dwight. And one of those foul calls was definitely an offensive foul by Howard as he gave Drew the same elbow treatment he got caught doing to Pau. Andrew Bynum was the second most important Laker last night. That’s a hell of a lot better than “NOT BAD.”

Tom

7. His mother was this year arrested for a DUI. When she was put in the back of the police car, she had a freakout and kicked out the back window of the police car screaming, "I'm the Queen of Cleveland, you [obsenities]!" The event never made the news because LeBron called up all the local television stations and threatened them if they revealed the story. All the stations backed down.Posted by: Jon K. | June 05, 2009 at 08:08 AM

Dude, seriously? I'm all for bashing Lebron James, but, c'mon. Whether true or not (I don't believe one word) this is just garbage. I totally love your posts and get psyched when I scroll down and see your handle, but I expect better from you man. Doesn't sit well, bro.

Go Lakers!!!

Maybe I am the Prince of Pessimism, but even after a good night's sleep, I am still left with the question, "Am I the only one scared senseless by the apparent ease of the Lakers' victory?" I credit as much of the blow out on Orlando not hitting several open looks as the Lakers "great play". Orlando hits just 40% (lousy shooting instead of a wretched night), and they are in this baby to the very end. When a few more Magic shots were dropping during the first 1.5 quarters, Orlando was leading and in control.

As an earlier poster cheered, the Lakers need to crank it up another notch. Orlando understands that game two is as close to "must win" as a non-close out game can be. Magic will show up and leave it all on the floor. Will the Lakers? They better.


HOLD ON – to the tune of Hold On , by the Brighter shades of darkness

Yesterday a man said to me, how can you smile,
when the Lakers might lose everything
I said, here’s my secret, when I start to get doubts
I look around and see 15 title rings

Chorus)
Hold on, Rings are coming,
Hold on, We got this
Hold on, You gone get one,
Hold on, WE can’t miss

Some posters like to worry, Some posters like to deny,
Some posters are very happy, Some posters like to lie
Now that’s their business, They can post whatever they want to
But when the Lakers win the title, We’ll be one big Happy Crue

Chorus)
Hold on, Rings are coming,
Hold on, We got this
Hold on, You gone get one,
Hold on, WE can’t miss

(When the Lakers look like, they might go down
Just get on your feet , fill the Staples with Sound
When it looks like, Dynasty #4 might not appear
Just get on your feet , and cheer cheer cheer

(Chorus)
Hold on, Rings are coming,
Hold on, We got this
Hold on, You gone get one,
Hold on, WE can’t miss

WesJoe,

Do you remember that 70's song: "To everything, turn/turn/turn; there is a season, turn, turn, turn". Well, trying to reflect to the dynamic game of Bynum, here is an appropriate song for him: "To everything foul, foul, foul, there is Dwight coming, foul/foul/foul" Hahaha! In the final minutes, he was tested by PJ left him there to see if he gets fouled out. He did not.

Before I forget, Happy Birthday to a great guy in the blog, Larry (Mamba24) may you have a hundred birthdays more celebrating with Lakers 50th Championship.

a new name for Kobe: Kobe "THE PIRANA" Bryant...ate these guppy's alive..........

Fern B. -South Central LA

I knew it was going to be a good game for Drew. Tell me y'all weren't jacked up after seeing his expession during the player introductions.

Go Lakers!!!

JellosJigglin,

>>> I loved Bynum's start. I don't know if it translated to TV, but he absolutely
>>> electrified the crowd by being so aggressive at the basket. I think people realize
>>> his importance to this team, especially in this series, and he was rewarded with
>>> applause and wild cheering when he finally went to the bench for the first time.

No worry, Jellos. It came across exactly like that to everybody who watched the game on the tube. Glad that the Staples fans saw the game I saw and not the one AK watched.

Tom

I guess the Orlando Magic really are like the Suns.

....wait. They're in the Finals.

Wasn't it cool not having to deal with the Birdman and Chauncy and Carmelo?

We'll see if Denver proves to be better than Orlando.

Wes

Laker Tom,

I saw the Lakers future in Bynum last night and it looked long, athletic, strong, fast and playing to a draw with the leagues premier center.

Great.

Wes

-Pau did a great job on Dwight. The fact is, Dwight can't shoot with consistency over Pau or Bynum. Height messes with athleticism, at least when the height players are sufficiently skilled or fundamentally sound.

-What I'm hearing now is that "the Orlando Magic just didn't make their 3s." Realize that those people that were shooting 3s were supposed to shoot 3s. They were rushed into those shots. Alot of them were bodied up before the shots or chased into those shots. What I saw was an Orlando team that was way off rhythm, only the way a defense can do.

-As good as the Magic can play, or the opposing viewpoints say how much more upside they have, let it not be mistaken: The Lakers can play much better than that. IMO, Kobe and Phil are playing the entire series already. Kobe has just set the table. Everyone is going to be open next game, so I hope they are ready to run the Triangle to the next logical adjustment.

Edwin,

Sure I know the song. Great lyric. I have another song that uses a similar lyric that I think of often. You've probably heard this great Dylan song before:

http://tinyurl.com/4k8c84

Wes

http://tinyurl.com/4k8c84

Wes,

>>> Listening to ESPN radio this morning and I couldn't believe my ears.
>>> Two themes with the Mike and Mike show and the stand in for Colin
>>> Cowherd--mild criticism of Kobe.

I was so pissed at ESPN listening to the Herd I screamed obscenities all the way to work. The subject was whether Kobe was faking seriousness in his post-game conference with an open invite for every Laker hater in the country to call and dump on Kobe.

Screw ESPN! Those media-whores would literally do anything for ratings and hits. The guy was also claiming that this might be Kobe’s only chance to win a fourth ring. Wait until after Sunday’s game. The media will suddenly wake up and realize that this Finals may have been the best chance in the next five years for a team not called the Lakers to win a championship.

Next year, Drew will grow up and the Lakers will be UNSTOPPABLE. Watch for the dynasty stories to start beginning Sunday.

Tom

Before the game started, Howard was interviewed by the lady reporter and asked what does he feel now that he is playing in the Finals? He replied: "I just want to have fun out there." Now that they lost 25 points on Game 1, hmmn, in this morning practice, it's not fun to be in the shoes of Dwight Howard. I'm sure he heard the whole population of Orlando casting doubts and expletive on him. Seemingly, it is not fun at all to lose game during the Finals because the eyes of the Basketball world are riveted on you. On Game 2, it will be a different story, I think Orlando will be physical and those perimeter shooters will be at their best. Well, Lakers are prepared for this challenge, I just hope they won't have that overconfidence of going back light switch mode.

IMO, Coach Van Gundy made a tactical error in playing Jameer Nelson for too long on the floor. It altered the good game of Rafer Alston and stalled the Magic offense. Secondly, Nelson is still not in NBA timing and probably protecting also his injured shoulders therefore his game is semi tentative. As the saying goes, don't change horses on the midstream. Well, when Alston came back in the 3rd, he was bricking shots, not necessarily mad but his rhythm was psychologically affected as well. Lewis and Hedo are still adjusting in the Finals, they are missing a ton of shots which is good for Laker fans, I think they can't believe that they are still playing in June. Normally, Hedo is now in Istanbul spending his earned dollars while Rashard is having fun with his family in Louisiana with that rich contract of 118M two years ago. Well, today both of them have to earn their bread and in middle of a frenzied media grabbing their hands, putting the microphone on their mouth and being asked how did they dethroned the King Crab or Puppet King who was leftl crying in Orlando for missing his prom date with Kobe. On Game 2, they will play their game, Lakers watch out for those shots.

>>>In the case of a couple fouls, I think judgment was the
>>>issue. While I loved seeing Bynum clearly out to
>>>ensure Howard never found life easy, sometimes you
>>>gotta know when to say when. A couple of Superman's
>>>buckets needed to be conceded with the goal of fighting
>>>another day.

I completely disagree.

Howard is like LeBron. He GETS a lot of his energy from big monster
dunks. If you stop him from getting his monster dunks, that's
like stopping him from getting his wheaties. It makes him just
a tiny bit less aggressive on defense, a little bit more self-doubting
on offense, and a little bit less effective overall.

Second benefit is that it tires him. Getting hit hard by Bynum
and Gasol and Odom that much, it's like Howard is playing
a basketball game AND a boxing match at the same time.
BODY BLOW. BODY BLOW. BODY BLOW. Takes a bit of
zip out of his step.

And of course, there's the fact that he's a poor free throw shooter.
Last night he shot 62% on his free throws. If they just give him
dunks all those times, then he scores 18 instead of 12 and goes
9 for 14 instead of 1 for 6. That gets into his head two ways.
First it puts more pressure on his free throw shooting, and second
it makes him rush some shots and miss them.

I say try to defend Dwight, but if it looks like you're beat and
if you can keep him from getting the shot off with a hard foul,
then do it. The Lakers have 12 fouls from quality people who
can defend Dwight (Bynum & Gasol), and I think Lamar, Ariza,
and Kobe are also strong enough to foul Dwight hard enough
that he won't get off a shot.

They got a similar effect from chasing Rashard Lewis off of
the 3-point line. If you are lazy and don't close out, then he
takes the open 3, and it's money (in fact he was 2 for 2 on 3's).
But if you aggressively close on the 3-point shot, he'll try to
drive past you and take a shorter (2 point jumper) or drive to
the basket where our bigs are waiting. In either case, he's less
likely to make the shot and even if he does make it, it's only
worth 2 points.

And as Howard draws his energy from making dunks, Lewis
gets his from making 3 pointers. Reduce his 3's, you reduce
his overall level of play.

BUT... (see next post if you're not already bored)

lakalova,

Sorry, man, but this is what I was told by LeBroniacs, not haters on LeBron. The emphasis was two key points:

1. LeBron's Mom is fricken CRAZY and she is prone to extreme, unpredictable behavior.

2. LeBron really cares for his mother.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Wes,

The national media truly searches for any scrap to further their preconceived storylines. Thus, Kobe is a bad guy and all of this stuff is an act. Garnett acts like this and he is a "fierce warrior" but Kobe is a fake? Sigh.

And it goes like this everywhere, with all columnists and "analysts" and talking heads. I used to be able to ignore this stuff, but the past year has gotten considerably worse with regards to the Lakers.

On the bright side, that's why I spend so much time on this blog. Between the generally great work from AK/BK and the intelligent comments from most posters (trolls excluded), I think I get a much better understanding of what's really going on with the team.

What a great win

I can now eat for the next few days

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMBA!!!!

Great first win!! Thanks PJ, Kobe, Drew, Pau, Lamar...!!
Now, let's concentrate on the next game. I bet Orlando will try to come back stronger. We need another win in LA to get definitively under their skin. Once again, keeping a sharp knife at their jugular would get the job done.
Go Lakers !
GO

Jon K/Blog Patriarchs: Can we agree to not discuss LeBron James anymore for the rest of the series. Yeah, his personal/professional issues are beginning to unravel his "kingdom" a bit, but he is irrelevant. It's all about Dwight/Hedo/Rashard & the gang right now. If we gotta diss anybody, diss them.

We are better & classier than trading gossip rag stories & word on the street hearsay. Our journey to The Fifteenth Banner is 25% complete. Let's not wait till the series is over to carry ourselves with the pride and dignity of CHAMPIONS. Let's do it RIGHT NOW!

Hollinger Speaks on espn about the LakerBlog...

AK/BK you are becoming wooooorllld famous! (and yet another example of how people dont stay on topic throughout threads! haha)

"It's not just my inbox that's getting these messages, either. Go to the L.A. Times Laker blog, click on any random story, and do a search on "LeBron" in the comments section. (Or better yet, do a search on "LeBronz" or "Queen James.")

You're guaranteed to find several choice insults thrown his way, even in stories that have nothing to do with LeBron or Kobe. For instance, this story is about Pau Gasol ... and the first comment is a non sequitur insult of LeBron. Or take this innocuous story from Lakers practice the other day; the comments section almost exclusively features James insults, including two different fans' poems about the Lakers ... both of which conclude not with praise for L.A., but with potshots at LeBron."

I think the key factor in this game was not the Lakers defense
(which was very good), but an overall case of "First Finals Shock."

There's not a single player on the Magic who's played in an NBA
finals game. And the Lakers take it very seriously. They aren't
out at the start of the game doing pantomime team photos, they're
like horses in a horse race straining at the gates to go out and run.

And for the whole 48 minutes, the Lakers attacked, attacked,
attacked. There was no "getting a big lead and then relaxing"
as the Lakers were guilty of much of the season and the Cavs
were guilty of in the last series. Kobe wouldn't allow it. He
put the Lakers collective foot on Orlando's throat by halftime,
and just stepped down harder and harder in the second half.

So most of the Magic players got a little shell shocked. At times
they looked like deer in headlights. Rashard and Dwight were
the obvious examples, but pretty much everyone on their team
had some dicey moments.

And a fewl Lakers were in the same situation. I felt Ariza
and Shannon Brown were feeling a bit of the First Finals
jitters as well, though Ariza got to play enough minutes to
settle his game down a little in the second half.

I don't think you'll see another game this weak from the Magic.
I still think the Lakers will win game 2, but it'll be a lot more
competitive. And back in Orlando, their shooting and composure
will be back in force. The Lakers will have to play at the level
they played last night to be in the games in Orlando.

I'll stick with my original prediction: Lakers in 6, but it wouldn't
surprise me if the Lakers were celebrating title #15 in sunny
Florida.

Taliq,

>>> hat's off to kobe and the lakers ... but we've still got 6 more games and this
>>> series is far from over ...

I only count 3 more games, Sheriff. Loved the recap of Stern’s conversation with the Crab King. LeBron needed to have Stern say publicly that he agreed he was wrong rather than admitting it himself. Pretty weak.

Tom

>>>Well, as long as he keeps dropping 40-8-8 every game
>>>for the rest of the series, he can punch Adande in the >>>face, I'm sure he can take it like a man.

LOL.

Thank you Kobe. May I have another?

Well, I would like to give props to PJ for that splendid preparation of the Lakers. On a normal post, the day after PJ always get the consternation of the blog but today he should be mentioned in every post for a job well done. As I commented earlier on Stan VG, if it were PJ he will not put JN back to camp fire after missing 4 months. He would do it gradually just like he's exposing Shannon Brown. PJ is a slow believer and methodically move slow until you get pissed. Once he tapped on you like Walton or Fisher, he is also slow in removing you from the lineup just because the fans say so again until you get pissed an get back your confidence again. His Zen philosophy works for him and how he dealt with players. He could make them believe of what they are not, presumably he could make a Bull believe in himself that he will beat all the Matadors in every Toreo.

Laker Tom,

With the same respect accorded, I think you've lost sight of the forest for the semantics of a caption title.

The "Not Bad" a reference to our typical "Three good/Three bad" format, and I used the play on words as a way to discuss Bynum's foul trouble. Thus, "Not bad" phrasing was clarification that Drew's play was in no way bad, as opposed to me being unimpressed or attempting to criticize him. I figured that would be clear to our blog regulars, much less the blog regulars that focused on how I actually praised Bynum's performance.

I also think you lost sight of the forest in an effort to pump up Drew as "the second most important player," and that led you to miss my basic point. If you think Drew played well (and he did) and enjoyed his impact (as we both did), then you'd obviously prefer he be on the floor as much as possible. That becomes difficult when he's saddled with fouls. For all intents and purposes when it comes to meaningful minutes, the guy didn't play in the second half. Looking at the series from a bigger picture perspective, that could be problematic.

I'm not willing to write off this series as a complete teamwide struggle in the making for the Magic. They're simply too good for that, and in particular, so is Howard. In more cases than not, I'm expecting both parties to play better, and with that in mind, Drew can't keep piling up whistles. If for no other reason, he shouldn't do it because it puts the Lakers in the bonus against a typically prolific opponent. Thus, I think he needs to occasionally rethink his approach. Or at the very least, just challenge Howard a little differently at times. Noting this hardly strikes me as harsh or attempting to downplay Drew's impact.

Also, your contention that Drew can't concede "energizing dunks" for the Magic doesn't really apply, because that's not why the whistles came. One foul (the fourth) was a bad call. Otherwise, Drew reached after getting beat off the dribble and Howard was going for a layup. Another time, Drew was very aggressive reaching in to tie up Howard in a trap. Another may or may not have prevented a potential dunk in the works, but even then, it was a reach after getting beat. You make it sound like Drew was challenging Howard nose to nose at the rim on a thunder dunk, screaming "Not in my house!!!" I would personally have rather concede a basket (especially if you're just sending him to the line anyway) for the sake of the greater gain, which is more time for Drew. Again, that's just me.

AK

lakalova,

>>> Tell me y'all weren't jacked up after seeing his expression during the
>>> player introductions.

Blog-sync-think for sure, lakalova. That was exactly what I thought when I saw that serious look on Drew’s face. Following their leader Kobe. I knew Drew was going to shine when I saw that determination on his face. Great observation. Thanks.

Tom

Can u say start the dynasty?

Is it too early for back to back?

This is the only thing I haven't liked about Kobe the last few days. Did anyone else feel embarrased about how he responded to Magic's question about Lebron after game 6?

I understand that you need to acknowledge that he is competitative and smarting but you SHAKE HANDS. You show the other team the respect that they beat you. If there is a torch being passed from Kobe to James than Kobe needs to tell James there are right ways to act and wrong. Kobe shakes hands after loses.

From what I have heard on the web everyone is deferential in Cleveland to the point no one ever criticizes him no matter what he does. That is now how a person grows it is how a person spirals down to being nothing more than a punk. Kobe blew it by not calling James out.

Hi Edwin;

"Turn Turn Turn" - 60's song, Edwin, 60's song. Deep 60's.
Your perfect rep is hereby ruined.

When the Lakers bring that energy and focus fuhgetaboutit...best team in the league. There is room for improvement but that was a thing of beauty. Props to Drew. I think the Zen Miester said no dunks or layups, foul if you must and play physical. A little mind game so that Howard would push back and get into foul trouble himself, which he did. Advantage Lakers if Howard and Bynum are on the bench. Then Pau & LO dominate the Magics front line. Kobe was sick, an assassin. No mercy. Will the media finally stop hating 24 and admit that LBJ isn't at Kobe's level yet? I like PJ shortening up the rotation & letting the big dogs run. Look at the difference in defensive pressure compared to the Cavs when the Magic shooters had wide open looks anytime they wanted. Not so easy to rain 3's when a guys in your grill. If They bring that same intensity and take care of business Sunday, no way the Magic come back to win 4 of 5...eggs are chillin, butters gettin hard...in the fridge baby!

LTLF,

>>> In the case of a couple fouls, I think judgment was the
>>> issue. While I loved seeing Bynum clearly out to
>>> ensure Howard never found life easy, sometimes you
>>> gotta know when to say when. A couple of Superman's
>>> buckets needed to be conceded with the goal of fighting
>>> another day. – AK

>>> I completely disagree. – LTLF

An excellent analysis of why Drew keeping Howard to 1 basket and no dunks was the smart move. Drew’s aggressive play set the tone for the game and ultimately intimidated Dwight Howard. His play was a hell of a lot better than “Not Bad” as AK claimed.

Tom

Yes, LTLF - I'll have another, and another, and then another.

UTZ - The Yard or ESPN Zone it is on championship day. I'll wear my name tag.

Mamba24 - Bring your puppets.

Jon K. - You can watch us on the postgame.

Thanks for that Dylan song Wes, I put it in my favorites to remind me those younger years. Dylan looks like American Idol, Chris Allen or it's the other way around.

Utz, it's hard to remove King James in the Finals for as long as the media is using him as a centerpiece in every discussion when he is already in the back burner. I heard he was finally fined $ 25,000 by the NBA honchos for no show on those interviews. I'm wondering where do all these fines go? Does it go to charity or to the stock options of David Stern? 25 grand is nothing to LBJ tho' for missing the Finals he may cost him a lot of money too in the endorsements. I think there is no need of public apology from James from what happened last week. Maybe, it can be used as one of those theme on those puppet show with lil lez. There is always a next time to this incident and James will do the right thing and move on from there, that's just part of growing up.

Otis, thanks for the correction, I have always an excuse, typos. lol!

AK,

Who is to say those bad fouls didn't keep Howard out of sync?

After a 25 point win, I'd instruct Bynum to keep playing him hard and not contest any dunks even if it means he fouls out early. Now if issues crop up such as orlando getting into the penalty early and taking advantage of it ... then I'd adjust. i.e. if it ain't broke why fix it. Let us allow the magic to adjust to our game first before we start tinkering with a very winning formula.

LakerTom ... I disagree on the 2nd most important laker on the floor ... but hey to each his own

Speaking of winning formulas ... I'm not sure kobe can keep being this mad at the world without burning out but I'd wait for him to have a terrible half or quater first before changing that either

Bottom line lakers make adjustments within game 2 if the magic step their game up ... but for now the message should be ... nuke em again and see if they respond differently

Wes,

>>> I saw the Lakers future in Bynum last night and it looked long, athletic,
>>> strong, fast and playing to a draw with the leagues premier center.

Wait until next year after Drew has thrown away the brace and built his knee back up. He still is only 80% as far as his hops and explosiveness go. In a couple of years, Drew will be the center that everybody wishes they have. A guy who has the size and athleticism of Dwight Howard but also a great back-to-the-basket post up game and will shoot 80% from the free throw line. Quadruple threat – score, rebound, assist, and defend!

The dynasty stories will start appearing as soon as the Laker throttle Orlando again on Sunday.

Tom

Jon K,

>>>The Cavs are going to make a run for Rasheed Wallace,
>>>Shaquille O'Neal, and Jason Kidd next year.

I fully believe this is possible.

Unfortunately for them, I don't think they can get Shaq.
His contract only runs one more season, so "expiring
contract" is meaningless. They would have to give Phoenix
something they want - probably either Mo Williams or
Delonte West and also take back more salary than they
send out. It's remotely possible, but if they really wanted
Shaq, they should have given up Wally's expiring contract
and Pavlovic for him, and then they'd have lost by 25 to the
Lakers last night instead of Orlando.

Jason Kidd & Rasheed are much more plausible. Both are
unrestricted free agents. It just comes down to whether JKidd
is willing to jump ship and take a veteran's minimum (a-la
Gary Payton) to try to get a ring.

Believe it or not, I think it's also conceivable they could try to
trade for Kwame Brown. Their team is built to beat Boston,
but they really need a "big calves" guy to actually put a body
on Dwight Howard. Putting Varejao and aging Z on Dwight
was like rolling out the welcome mat.

LakerTom,

"I only count 3 more games, Sheriff. "

You've been predicting sweep all playoffs and it's yet to happen ... maybe you'll finaly hit the jackpot

Frankly I dont think the magic deserve to get swept ... now if it were the celtics different story ... I'd say sweep them then invite them for an exhibition game and whoop them again

Still I won't attempt to tempt the basketball gods ... I meant potentially six more games ... I'll take that championship anyway we can get it ... so 3 more games is music to my ears too

What do we play for .... RINGS!!!

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

Edwin:

"Utz, it's hard to remove King James in the Finals for as long as the media is using him as a centerpiece in every discussion when he is already in the back burner..."

But who says we have to demean ourselves as CHAMPIONS by taking the media's bait? If THEY wanna talk about him, let 'em talk till their tongues dry up. We have bigger fish to fry to focus on dudes gone fishing (cough-BOSTON-cough).

Taliq,

Maybe Drew's fouls took Howard out of rhythm. Maybe they didn't, and Howard just had a bad game.

Either way, I don't think that matters too much, because I'm not counting on such a lopsided series. You always have to make adjustments moving forward, and one I'd personally like to see is Drew being able to stay on the floor more, even if that means occasionally conceding a basket or simply not picking up an obvious foul on the challenge. I appreciated his aggressive play, but I also think the greater impact comes from him being on the floor. In a tighter game (and I expect more of those down the line, and I think you do as well), that absence could hurt the Lakers.

AK

So Otis/LTLF, are we officially planning to get together at LA Live to watch The Crowning? I've been wanting us to get together for years. With our numbers, we should be able to reserve & rent a booth at one of the LA Live spots with ease.

I can't supervise the booking'securing of the facility. Maybe one of you can. And...you'll need to make sure those of us who will arriving after 6:00 PM get in (I may be one of those people!).

LTLF,

I think those body blows you were referring at will affect Dwight Howard muscular build, it's not a "Pacquiao punch" but just a slap on the wrist or slight bump. I believe it is Bynum who is hurting every time he gets in contact with Dwight. Secondly, fouling in the early quarters in not a good defense. Bynum and Pau should remain in the last quarter, it makes a defensive nightmare on the part of Magic how to defend those twin towers and at same time double Kobe. That's unsolvable, seemingly it will free up Fisher or Shannon or Ariza to do their own slashing through the post uncontested. However, if Bynum gets into foul trouble he is there just watching his team at the time when he is needed most. Maybe instead of Bynum, we'll see Mbenga do the fouling, that is a strategy when they go to Orlando.

I, for one, would like to thank Jon K for diligently seating himself
on the lucky barstool when the Lakers need him to do so.

Nice job, Jon K

AK,

Thanks for your response. And if you didn’t realize it, I was mostly just teasing you as we rarely disagree except by degree but I did think the Lakers effort of holding Howard to just one basket and no dunks was a big psychological factor in the game as well as the Lakers’ confidence and Magic’s lack of confidence. I also think Drew may have been instructed by Phil not to let Dwight get any dunks. Anyway, we will just have to agree to disagree because I thought Drew set the tone for the entire game and maybe the series.

If you go back and look at the second quarter of this game, there are some very strong parallels to Friday night’s close out game versus Denver. With Pau struggling and the Lakers falling behind by 5, Phil called a time out and put Drew and Kobe back in the game. Kobe immediately nailed two quick mid-range jumpers behind great screens from Drew and the Lakers turned on the switch defensively and shut down the Magic and proceeded to turn the 5-point deficit into a 10-point half-time lead. Game over.

While Kobe was MVP, a very strong argument could be made that it was Drew’s playing Dwight Howard to a standstill in the first half that set the stage for the Lakers big win. At any rate, I understand where you were coming from but I thought the end result was not recognizing how important Drew was to the Lakers winning this game. Still hindered by his injured knee and limited by the brace, Drew went out there and out-played the best center in the league. That is a hell of lot better than “Not Bad.” To me, it bordered on insulting Drew to not include him in the Good. I think you have said many times that there should be no BAD section in games like this. Just wish you’d done that last night.

Otherwise, great job in the playoffs. You guys are generating so much great stuff that I can hardly keep up. I feel like a rotary dial phone trying to keep up with the Internet. The podcasts and videos are terrific. Much appreciated all the work to get those threads up last night. This will be the 15th Lakers championship but the big #1 for the blog.

Tom

 
1 2 | »

Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...