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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.

LT,

Fair enough and I appreciate the response, but honestly, it feels like you're taking this a little too personally on Drew's behalf.

Where I place Drew in the breakdown's layout shouldn't matter nearly as much as what I actually break down his play. I made it pretty clear that he did a good job. If anything, my only criticisms stemmed from wanting to see him play more. If you don't agree with my take on the fouls, that's fine and I welcome your opinion. Taking exception with how I organize the recaps or title the captions because of a Drew-centric perspective is a little much. This isn't AB17.com and it's not my job to craft articles with him in mind. Unless you think my assessment of his performance was way off base, I don't think it's necessary to make this such a sticking point.

AK

Cavs going after Shaq, Wallace, Kidd? Why don't they try for Moses while they are at it? These guys are on their last legs. The Kidd trade killed Dallas, PHX went in the tank after getting Shaq, and Sheed really showed up this year getting swept by LeCrab. That strategy is a one year wonder at best and then you are shot... no dynasty in the making. It didn't work for us bringing in desperate for a ring Malone and Payton and won't work for them either. Bynum will be a dominant NBA center next season, Pau an all star, and Kobe is the man. If any team is likely to add an aging star to get a ring for the minimum it'll be the Lakers. We need to tie up LO & Ariza and we are set for the next 5 years. Hello Dynasty!

Yes, the Mamba was the MVP last night. He simply ripped the will out of the Magic. If the Magic continue to guard Kobe one on one in the perimeter (like what they did against Lebron), he will destroy this team with his offense. If the Magic decide to double Kobe on the perimeter (like Denver), he will destroy this team with his playmaking. The Magic are in DEEP DEEP trouble folks.

But I have to hand it to Phil, who I think had the biggest impact on the game.

To abandon the triangle and go exclusively with the pick and roll for almost the entire game was GENIUS, and obviously caught the Magic off guard. Stan Van Gundy has NO IDEA what Phil is gonna do for game 2 now. Again, the Magic are in DEEP trouble.

He also called a timeout at the perfect time in the second quarter as soon as he saw the bench struggling.

To my surprise, Phil's unwavering confidence in Fish and Luke through their struggles is finally paying off.

I thought Phil was going to cover Dwight one on one for three quarters and start doubling him in the fourth, similar to his strategy against Duncan, but Dwight was doubled from the start. The double teaming occurred after Dwight made his move to the rim, giving him little time to react and find the open man. There were also plenty of fake doubles, where Fish would act like he was going to double, but never committed. Bynum's HARD manly fouls on Dwight also prevented Dwight from getting into a groove. Basically, Phil's game plan confused the ^%*&^ out of Dwight.

I completely agree with Laker Tom, LTLF, Fatty and others. Bynum played near FLAWLESS basketball. He did EXACTLY what Phil wanted him to do. NO DUNKS, NO LAYUPS equals NO CONFIDENCE, NO MOMENTUM for the Magic. I was cheering hysterically at every hard foul by Bynum. He makes the front court TOUGH, something we were lacking last year. Sure, it leads to Bynum being off the floor, but Pau can jump right in and play solid D on Dwight as well with his length, positioning, and flops.

We witnessed history last night folks. The next Laker Dynasty has officially begun.

GO LAKERS!!

Thoughts on last night's game...

-I hope last night was Kobe's attempt at putting a stamp on the series and not an indication that he plans to fly solo for these finals. Just wouldn't work. You know that Orlando is going to shoot better. This will be a series, trust me.

-Luke Walton looked relaxed. This makes me feel relaxed.

-I absolutely loved the way Andrew chose to give those hard fouls on Dwight. Totally set the tone. Honestly, I don't mind if Andrew fouls out playing that way. The Lakers really don't lose much (they actually probably get better in a lot of ways) when he goes to the bench.

-I love Lamar & Pau!

-I get sad watching Jordan play these days.

-I like listening to Jeff Van Gundy call games. I find him extremely entertaining; especially when the Lakers are winning.

-Seriously, what better lineup do the Lakers have at the defensive end than: Kobe, Brown, Ariza, Odom, Pau/Bynum. Sick I say.

-I also feel bad for Sasha. He wants this so badly and he just hasn't been able to contribute. Hopefully he hits some big three at some point for validation.

-Kobe totally effed up his shootiong percentage in the fourth. Serves him right, I guess. He shouldn't have been in there AND he was being guarded by JJ Reddick. Uh...

AK/BK

I love that after most repsonses you provide to bloggers after having some issue with your analysis, they respond back with the, "I was just teasing/joking" line. You can't tell me that's not annoying.

Jon K

I understand the "intent" of your post, but again, c'mon dude. Pretty low brow for someone I hold up in really high regard on this blog. Anyway, just wanted to burp my opinion your way. I still think you're great.

Go Lakers!!!


LAKER TRUTH,

>>> I completely agree with Laker Tom, LTLF, Fatty and others. Bynum played
>>> near FLAWLESS basketball. He did EXACTLY what Phil wanted him to do.
>>> NO DUNKS, NO LAYUPS equals NO CONFIDENCE, NO MOMENTUM
>>> for the Magic. I was cheering hysterically at every hard foul by Bynum.
>>> He makes the front court TOUGH, something we were lacking last year.
>>> Sure, it leads to Bynum being off the floor, but Pau can jump right in and
>>> play solid D on Dwight as well with his length, positioning, and flops.

Great post, LT too. Drew bodied Dwight and played behind him with physicality. Then Pau came in and did a great job fronting him and holding position to draw the fouls. Both Lakers centers actually out-played Dwight Howard in Game 1.

Games 2, 3, and 4 are going to be variations of Game 1. The Lakers are not going to look back even for 1 quarter. They are in Kobe-Drive straight to the Championship.

Tom

utzworld,

I will personally refrain from bringing up LeBron James, but I may mention him if, and only if, LeBroniacs throw it into my experience when recording field reports from my lucky barstool.

I don't really tend to go there, but it does tend to come to me considering where I live now.

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

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

LongTimeLakerFan,

No problem, brother. Always there for the team when they need me.

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

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

 
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