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Magic 108, Lakers 104: Los Angeles broom stores seriously bummed out

Anyhoo, BK talks about the night.


And I write about it, in the breakdown below.

AK


Two Good (short and sweet, since I didn't think much great took place):

  • Pau Gasol (offensively): To some degree, three rebounds can be written off as the Pau dunks product of Orlando's hot shooting.  Ain't many boards to grab when your opponent never misses.  But if you think El Spaniard still should have doubled that tally, fair enough.  But either way, hard to gripe much about nine shots falling and only a pair astray.  To say the least, not much success on Orlando's part slowing him down.  As is often the case in a Laker loss, dude needed to touch the ball more.  Like, way the hell more. 
  • Jordan Farmar: A very lazy pass was snagged and converted into a high arching layup by Mickael Pietrus.  But that aside, I thought Derek Fisher's backup mostly enjoyed a nice showing.  Eleven points on 4-6 shooting, highlighted by a double clutched bank shot dropped as the shot clock approached nil.  And in general, Farmar's activity and hustle were solid, most notably on a sequence where he snagged a Pietrus miss in heavy traffic.  That effort was rewarded with a pair of trips to the stripe, both successful.  For the first time in a while, Lamar Odom wasn't the most impressive member of the bench unit.  Along with Gasol, Farmar was the only Laker on the positive side of the +/- measurement. 

Three Bad:

  • Ball movement, balance and Kobe Bryant: Yes, I jammed three items into Kobe unhappy one category.  But I also felt the aforementioned aspects combined to create one central issue, so I "cheated."  Sue me.  It's my blog.

    At the half, I noticed that the Lakers' twenty-two buckets came by way of just eight assists, a notably low tally for a team this good at swinging the rock.  Moreover, eight of those twenty-one baskets belonged to Kobe, along with four of the dimes.  What did that suggest, in my mind?  The ball didn't change hands much, which felt like a bad tone set for the second half, particularly because 24 had already demonstrated signs of slowing down.  As it turned out, my instincts were correct.  The game wrapped on a damn near identical pace (16 dimes for forty total baskets), crafting what I felt was a misleading 51% clip from the field.  I say "misleading" because without the benefit of a few miracle-a-riffic/Mambariffic shots (7-10 for 17 points during the opening frame, 4-15 from there), the Lakers would have connected at a percentage more reflective of what their offense felt like.

    Mind you, it wasn't entirely Kobe's fault that the Spalding resided so often in his mitts.  On at least a few possessions, Bryant was forced to hoist with the clock running down after a busted play required scrambling, often the result of iso'ed play from his teammates.  Those guys are responsible for their own actions, so along that line of logic, bad on them.  But I do think Kobe's Kobe splits double lead is often imitated by his supporting cast, and his night did feature an abundance of iso work, excessive dribbles and seriously challenged shots.  The end result was the mirror opposite of the Lakers at their best.  Frankly, it reminded me of the Cleveland O easily shut down by the Magic during the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Which takes us back to Kobe's night.  Yes, it was more likely "exception" than "rule."  And yes, some success was found suckering Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus with pump fakes- and if it's not already in the scouting report, note to Orlando defenders, Mamba crushes folks with this stuff- and canning shots 99% of his peers couldn't make playing NBA Live.  As Jeff Van Gundy described them during the ABC broadcast, these were of the "impossible" variety.  But taking that degree of difficulty into account, you had to figure this prowess came with a shelf life. 

    I felt Kobe's luck officially hit "pushed" late in the second quarter.   Having just watched a layup attempt get swatted from the weakside by Dwight Howard- credit Lee for some quality shading in pursuit- Kobe concluded the possession by attempting a standstill trey with Lee right in his mug.  Neither was a particularly great decision, and I hoped Kobe recognized that, if "The Zone" hadn't been vacated, he was living at best "Zone Adjacent."  Didn't happen.  I also agree with Phil Jackson that Kobe seemed gassed as the game wore on, which may account for some bad results, whether you're talking late game turnovers or charity stripe gaffes.

    All in all, tonight also demonstrated why, by and large, I've always felt the Lakers are much better off in "equal opportunity" mode to kick things off, with Kobe playing fourth quarter Mariano Rivera.  Teammates are involved, a flow is discovered, defenders remain on their heels and all the while, Hedo scores Kobe remains fresh as possible.  Hopefully, everyone got this out of their system, and we can return to the crisp passing and off-ball movement that usually transforms the Lakers into a borderline unbeatable force.

  • Free Throw shooting:  Ten misses at the stripe (16-26), including a very uncharacteristic quintet misses for the Mamba.  According to my math, that comes out to precisely ten blown points.  The Lakers lost the game by four.  I trust folks can pick up what I'm laying down without further gab, but for the benefit of the thick, such carelessness won't cut the mustard while battling for an O'Brien against a quality foe.
  • Defense:  The Magic ended the night at 63%, and that number actually merited the Lakers some props.  After all, they clamped down enough to chip away at Orlando's NBA Finals record 75% mark notched before halftime Gatorade and orange slices.  Similar to the free throw critique, I imagine it's reasonably obvious why this is a problem.  Three Magicians (including a seriously rejuvenated Rafer Alston) hitting 20 or more, with another pair on 18.  In particular, the pick and roll D was often quite sloppy.  

One "Lame":

  • Me, for not sticking to my guns: I (and my fiancee) originally felt that Pau made a mistake upon retrieving Kobe's turnover in the final seconds (the ill-fated double team split).  Hitting the hardwood to snag the loose ball was great, but he proceeded to shuttle the ball to Kobe amongst a slew of Magicians, resulting in a bobble and Pietrus at the line.  Yes, the onus is on Bryant to protect the ball, but the scene was chaotic and I felt Gasol would have been better served calling time out and starting the Lakers from scratch.  So did my lady.  Unfortunately, when I expressed that opinion during the live blog, I was met with a flood of contrasting takes from the participants (including BK).  Instead of standing my ground, I quickly conceded that perhaps we made too hasty a call without the benefit of a DVR rewind.  Well, once I gave the sequence a second look, I became certain I was right the first time.  Thus, I come off looking spineless and unwilling to stand up for my better half.   Guess the Lakers weren't the only party guilty of botched execution. 

    Well played, AK.  Well played.

AK

 
Comments () | Archives (15)

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This loss doesn't hurt, much.

I actually feel the need to tip my hat to the Magic for shooting so well.

Should we have won? Probably.

Still, I predicted this series would initially go 4-2 Lakers. I amended that prediction for it to be 4-1 Lakers.

In any case, I respect the Magic too much to immaturely DEMAND a sweep.

They're a good team. We're a better team. We made mistakes. Mistakes can be corrected.

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

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

In last years Finals, if the other team had shot like this we would have been blown out...in fact, we were...and they didn't shoot as well as the Magic did tonight.

This year, with the Magic playing a must win at home...with their crowd behind them...when they just couldn't seem to miss...

Our boys hung in there.

Was I dissapointed ? Of course.

Did I cuss and swear? Yeah...especially at Elmer Fudd. The guy is terrible.

A loss like this last year might have been the death knell for our team.

Not this year. They'll bounce back. You could see it in their faces.

In their eyes.

This wasn't Houston or Denver when they mailed it in. They kept coming after Orlando...and coming, and coming...

They proved tonight that they want it, no matter what.

They'll win the series.

GO LAKERS!!

Rafer Alston gets his game going at last.

Tinkering with Jameer appears to be over for now. Perhaps the Magic are at their strongest with Alston leading the way. If he plays more like he did tonight, it'll be tough to beat the Magic two more games.

So is it me, or is koby looking his age lately? He has slipped and tripped himself up in these playoffs more than I can ever remember. We all knew he was past his prime...but his skills are failing him. The more athletic playas, as they age, lose the most game in the shortest time...unlike someone such as the great Nash who simply improves with age.

No surprise tonight. Next game is more important.

Well it was the Magic who dodged a bullet tonight. I think that's what was so frustrating about the loss. One or two possessions and a few missed free throws and we could have pretty much ended the series tonight.

They didn't have that same poise tonight and there were way too many turnovers and botched plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor. Now the Magic have the momentum.

I hope to god that Kobe doesn't come out in Game 4 and try and "win the game" to somehow try and make up for his mistakes in Game 3. As part of that mentality is what cost us the game tonight. Too much Kobe and not enough Gasol and Odom tonight. Let's go back to team basketball please.

Surely I'm not the only spectator growing exceedingly tired of watching Howard throw his elbows and arms, pushing and shoving on nearly every post-up, on nearly every screen.

He's not the only one doing it, but perhaps the most egregious example of daring officials to puff the whistle; for some reason this sort of lazy, finesseless physicality has become acceptable to officials now that O'Neal isn't as dominant.

It does not make for good basketball and wouldn't be tolerated in the NCAA except during wrestling matches, which NBA basketball, more and more, has started to resemble.

Dwight's critical defensive steal on koby in the final minute was the play of the game.

Superman left gasal crushed on the court, and koby shaking his head in embarassment at getting stripped by a younger, stronger olympic gold medalist.

Let's tip our hats to the DPOY. Well played!

you know what we are playing like a good team but when kobe gets hot or closing time we become not so good. I think they should just run the triangle to perfection. And another thing i was right about kobe he chokes in the finals. This is two games now in a row that he could and did cause us to loose the game. LO and Gasol were making better move than he was and he tried to close the game and he sucked at it. The layup to that he missed all because he was scared of howard, face it guys kobe does not know what hes doing and if he keeps playing the way he is and shooting the % that he is shooting we can kiss the finals good by. How many times did he get blocked turn the ball over get locked up by the majic. THE THRUTH IS THAT KOBE CANT LEAD THE TEAM TO A FINAL. Game 4 if is close like game 3 and kobe has the ball every single time for the last 5 minutes we will loose. It is becoming very easy to understand. We should have lost game 2 too but we got lucky no thanks to KOBE.

is it just me to be surprised that the trolls suddenly showed up after a loss?

Where's AK in the post-game videos?

Hey Brian! I thought this was a partnership! What would Mom say?

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

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K

Only BK is in Orlando. Budgets.

AK

Butler & omega - what planet are you haters from?

Orlando shot 62.5% from the field to our 51.3%.
They shot 35.7% from 3-range to our 34.8%
They shot 76.7% from the line to our 61.5%

And we still only lost by 4 points.

Stick a fork in Orlando...they're done!

>>>Dwight's critical defensive steal on koby in the final
>>>minute was the play of the game.

Despite your disrespect for the best player in the league in
refusing to spell his name correctly, you are correct about this.

The pick by Dwight was super super clutch. If Kobe gets by
him,
it's either a dunk, a foul, or both, and the Lakers either tie the
game or take the lead. Dwight got his hand right down near
the floor and picked Kobe clean.

I wish Pau would have called time out, but I can't really blame
him. Hindsight is 20-20. Looking at the play when you're sitting
on the floor with the fans all screaming at you and the clock
winding down and Kobe standing in front of you, I could see
where passing to him might seem like a good idea.

If Kobe doesn't get picked or if Pau calls timeout, then the
Lakers probably get a shot off and tie the game.

Am I right that 2 x MVP Steve Nash make this ORL team the best team in the NBA since the 2006-2007 SUNS?

Longtime sez:

"Despite your disrespect for the best player in the league in refusing to spell his name correctly, you are correct about this."

Hey Longtime. It was a great play indeed, outwitting the lakers' two best playas in the clutch. FInally the DPOY lives up to his billing.

What burns me is that, also in the 4th, Dwight made a very clean block of koby that Joey Crawford called a foul. It's embarassing how the refs treat koby with too many generous phantom foul calls. It's almost to the point where you can count on it, which is detrimental to the spirit of the game.

Still, a fun game to watch. The Magic have to come thru tomorrow or this game means zip.

Chris sez:

"Butler & omega - what planet are you haters from?
Orlando shot 62.5% from the field to our 51.3%.
They shot 35.7% from 3-range to our 34.8%
They shot 76.7% from the line to our 61.5%
And we still only lost by 4 points.
Stick a fork in Orlando...they're done!"

What you seem to smooth over, Chris, is that the laker D allowed a Finals-record shooting %. I don't know about you, but I saw some downright horrible perimeter D performed by LA last night.

I don't see it as an anomaly that Rafer would shoot well at home, nor that Pietrus would have a good game.

If ORL can pull it off tomorrow night, it's a series. Til then, this was only one game.


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