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Lakers-Magic practice report: The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

For those unfamiliar with this 2004 movie, first and foremost, run to the nearest Blockbuster or prioritize better your Netflix, because it's a must-see, a wonderfully funny and original movie.   So the uninformed are in the loop, the plot centers around a couple (Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet) with a serious tendency for combustion.  Carrey's character is so traumatized after a breakup that he undergoes a surgical procedure that wipes out bad memories.  Unfortunately, as he learns, incidents so painful tend to persist no matter what measures are taken.  Thus, the key is how they're eventually handled. 

What does this flick have to do with the Lakers and Magic after a 100-75 Game 1 blow out?  Well, victors and losers alike expressed a desire to let yesterday go.  For the Lakers, that means not allowing a ferocious start to spark bravado chest swelling.  Kobe Bryant certainly wasn't uncorking champagne and  "It's one game.  No big deal."  The message wasn't lost on Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, or Sasha Vujacic, but it also may not have required required sharing to begin with. 

"We didn't collectively talk about it," explained Bynum.  "But we know Game 2 is important.  It could really change the series."

"Change" being exactly what the Magic are hoping for, of course.  But the onus for straightened heads after a 25-point loss falls squarely on their shoulders.  According to veteran center Adonal Foyle, however, it's actually easier to move forward after a beatdown than falling short by a point, and on several useful levels.  "I think sometimes it's better to get whupped and get it out of the way, because there's no ambiguity about the fact that you got whupped.  If we had lost by one point, I think we'd be under the misguided illusion that somehow we played well.  This way, it makes it quite clear that we did not play well and the level that we need to get to is extremely high.  We need to get better."  From there, as Foyle noted, it becomes easier for the coaches to coach and the leaders to lead.

By the way, this wasn't the first time the veteran center and I have spoken, but I'm still amazed by how a five minute chat with Foyle makes me feel like a total moron.  As one might expect from a guy who not only received his college basketball scholarship from Colgate, but earned his degree while in the NBA to the tune of Magna Cum Laude, the man's not lacking for smarts.  The politically active big man writes poetry and a legit, non-NBA.com blog (which is probably better than mine).  Once the series chat was over, the topic turned to the books he's either reading or desiring to read.   Let's just say, nothing by Spellings Tori or Candi.   BK and I have joked about avoiding conversation Foyle, because it crushes one's self esteem.

But Sunday won't serve as an entirely a blank slate.  Certainly, the useful information and specifics will be tucked away for a rainy day.  For example, Drew has a better idea of how to defend Dwight Howard while hopefully picking up a whistle or two fewer, plus the adjustments that Orlando might attempt.  Even more interesting was Foyle's perspective on why Howard was unable to get it going.  Among other factors, it was a matter of patience.  Not enough displayed by Howard, plus an exceptional amount on the Laker defenders' parts. They waited until just the right moment before moving to double Howard, and allowed Howard to rush himself into trouble.

Even more of an eye opener was rookie Courtney Lee's night guarding Kobe. Safe to say, that didn't quite work out as hoped (unless Orlando was specifically hoping for a 40/8/8 explosion, and if that's the case, adjustments truly are in order). Having said that, and to his credit, the young 'un is treating this just like any other assignment, albeit a very tough one.

Lee also praised the job by the Lakers creating a recognizing mismatches.  Kid oughta know, having offered suffered the brunt end, whether giving up size to Kobe Bryant or Luke Walton.

I also enjoyed Lee's explanation in regards to Howard's remarks about a lack of energy.  Lee didn't think the problem centered around mailing it in, so to speak, but rather not enough energy being devoted towards proper execution on either end.  Some might consider that a matter of semantics, but I tend to think the rookie's explanation is accurate.   Maybe I'm naive, but it's hard to believe a team underdogging its way to the Finals will all of a sudden stop trying upon arrival.  

It reminds me a lot of how Laker losses are often treated, with an explanation typically along the line of killer instinct lacking.  Putting aside that the opponent actually gets a vote, activity means jack if it comes without purpose.  There were stretches of Game 6 against Denver and the Finals opener where the Lakers barely seemed to break a sweat, but busted the doors off the hinge.  A game plan followed to a tee will create that scenario.

AK

 
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No mercy, and must respect. Magic are going to play better in Game 2, we should as well. Maintain focus on D, and attacking D-12 at the basket putting him in jeopardy. Masterful game last night, we can do better though.

On another blog today (sorry, forget which one) there was a quote from an interview with an NBA assistant coach, who said that Fisher and Bryant are two of the best guards in the league at knowing when to double on bigs in the paint.

The Magic will get better than Game 1. They'll shoot better in Orlando.
But there's still a huge room for improvement for the Lakers too. In Game 1, Ariza, Sasha, Farmar and Shannon had sub-par games. Not really surprising with Ariza because he's shown the jitters in every Game 1 of every series so far but he's a veritable playoff rookie, and has gotten better from Games 2 onward. Sasha and Farmar are more experienced and its disappointing that they are still in shooting slumps. Farmar got burned badly on defense by Nelson too and Jameer is just coming back from injury. Shannon is the most inexperienced at this level so he gets a bye for Game 1 jitters.
Fisher is back at his best and I think the one week rest did better for his game than for any other player. Anyway, its more important for the Lakers that Fish got his game back than Sasha or Farmar.
When Kobe is playing like Kobe, and Odom is playing like sugar high Lamar not sugar low Lamar the Lakers are unbeatable. Add Bynum's improvement and it c/d be a 4-0 series although I think there will be at least one game, at most two games in Orlando when the Magic shoot the lights out from 3 pt land so its going to be a 4-1 or 4-2.

Huh. Not sure why, but I'd never pegged Foyle as being an articulate, bright speaker. I very much enjoyed that interview and have bookmarked his blog.

I loved our win, but of course I know that the Magic will be coming out having made the necessary adjustments on the Lakers. It's too soon to celebrate, IMHO. Of course, I believe that we'll take the series, but I'm not discounting this very talented team. I'm especially impressed with how they move the ball and get the open shot. They might not have done a good job with that this game (except for a bit in the second) but they will next game, make no mistake.

I re-watched the game again and wow - they got a ton of open shots. I do not think they'll be as cold next game.

On another note, this makes me laugh. I've seen multiple Magic fans talking about how Gortat gave Pau fits. What? Ummmm, not so much. I know he blocked a shot, but seemed to me Pau pretty much got what he wanted against Gortat. Magic fans are calling for Gortat to play C and Howard at the 4. This makes me scratch my head, but whatever. I doubt SVG will do it.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!
I LOVE LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe if we swept thru the first three rounds with nothing to learn besides we are a good team,I would worry about Sunday.But we've been thru fire and brimstones so we have the fight in us and that killer mentality now. We are ready for victories,the past laker team would blow a team out and become complacent on the next game. But I believe we are past that,I mean 3 or 4 straight wins past that.

My main concern is the major attention they're putting on us and kobe himself to win this year to prove folks wrong,get phil his 10th ring,etc. What about next year? Is this just a one time thing to prove we're superior. I haven't heard any plans for next year so I wonder.

Greetings Lakeshow Fans,

Game #2 late afternoon Sunday. I'm curious to see Orlando's "response" and the Lakers "determination" to win.

With KB24's obvious hunger and desire, the rest of the Lakers need to recognize and embrace that winning attitude by smartly "pounding" the ball in the interior and "rotating" on defense in the perimeter as well as play Howard straight up (as they did very well on Thursday night).

More importantly, play with a sense of purpose and consistency on top of everything else. With KB24 as the ultimate closer as well, the Lakers are in a great position to capture the golden ball.

Hmmm...I just saw ESPN coverage concerning the playing time between Alston and Nelson in Game #1. The last thing SVG needs is a distraction at this point. In my opinion, it's too big of a stage to "change" things if you know what I mean. It is what it is!

It's all about playing smart with a "focus." After all, isn't that what makes champions?

I expect the Lakers to continue their "winning" ways.

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY with a "scowl"!

Not concerning this series but it gave me and my girl a laugh. For those who are greys anatomy fans,in season 3 Dr.Sloan aka (mcsteamy) recalled a injury in new york where a man had a chair leg threw through his chest. Just an humorous observation!

I predicted Lakers in 4 and I'm standing by that prediction. It's really pretty simple when you think about it. The underdog Magic just won a huge series against the heavily favored Cav's and before that against the favored Celtics. That's 2 series most people didn't think they'd win, but the one against the Cav's was huge for them. It was like climbing a huge mountain peak. When they got there, they looked down the slope and saw the Hawks, the Celtics and the Cav's, all lying along the path they had just ascended. They were so happy, they had made it to the top, to the NBA finals. Then they turned around and looked up the next mountain peak. It was much higher, much steeper and very dangerous. They just don't have the energy to climb that next peak. They expended it all just getting to the finals.

I don't think they have the energy to win even 1 game. We shall see. Expect another one sided game on Sunday.

Exhelo;

Nice close-up on the guards as a single agent. They are smart - rare these days in the NBA. Who said "start Shannon Brown?" Best play of the post-season was DFish's takedown of that big palooka in the Houston series.
Farmar would've known to do that - yeah, right. Be the game, Grasshopper.

AK - nice way into the topic. I have to say though, that as much as the movie's about a desire to let the past go, it's also much about reliving it, over and over with subtle twists and new understandings, trying to find a path back to the same result. And so, we could also look to the next games as variations on the same, frustration and inertia on the part of Orlando and a continued systematic dismantling by our Lakers, over and over until it's done. It would be nice at any rate. I love Gondry although the stop-motion can get bit jarring. The scene on the frozen Charles River was great. Thanks for the link to Foyle's blog. Good stuff.

Lets hope they go with Gortat and Howard in the same line up. Talk about going against what got you there. Not gonna happen. Stan Van is already wishing like hell he didn't activate Nelson because it shot the hell out of Rafer's confidence, and threw off their rhythm big time. Rookie mistake by Stan if you ask me.

It's really all about Kobe maturing into a team player, taking what the D gives him, and realizing he can't do it all by himself. He'll take control of a game like game 1 and then the next game not have a problem distributing to his teammates if that's what the D gives them. I know it really doesn't matter to him, but I'm really proud to see Kobe turn into this kind of teammate, and it will take them to the promised land.

Now, granted, the Magic can play better. But it sounds like they desperately want to believe that it was they who lost the game, not the Lakers who won it. I'm thinking the length of the Lakers really is bothering them. Maybe the Magic will have a better game plan on Sunday. But isn't it just possible that right now the Lakers are just a way better team?

Adonal Foyle does remind me of a college language professor. Linguistics maybe.

Wes

Great movie, tenuous connection bros.

I second the fact it should be the next movie everyone on the blogs sees if they haven't already. It's a solid exploration of what it's like to feel human emotions and have human memories.

Machine-->> Watch and you will understand our species better!

I'm going to have to disagree with you guys about the painful feelings lingering. If they had, wouldn't the couple have decided to do things differently at the end? (rhetorical)

It seems to me that when pain dominates a situation, people become very risk averse and not likely to emotionally extend themselves. This situation seems particularly true in the emotional realm.


Speaking of pain, let's keep bringing it to these guys and break their spirit. So far, very good!

I also really want to give everyone here props for noting there's no way in hell the Magic continue to miss so many open looks and shoot around 30%. I've been thinking about that since shortly after the euphoria from the huge win wore off the next day. It strikes me as critical.

I can only hope that the Lakers do as good of a job keeping that in mind.

Benjamin,

"I'm going to have to disagree with you guys about the painful feelings lingering. If they had, wouldn't the couple have decided to do things differently at the end? (rhetorical)"

Can you rephrase the question. I'm not quite sure what you're asking me.

Thanks

AK


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