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Caught in the Web: Plenty to digest in Lakers' 101-96 Game 3 loss to Oklahoma City

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Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes Kobe Bryant's poor fourth-quarter performance in the Lakers' 101-96 Game 3 loss to Oklahoma City. But Lakers Coach Phil Jackson didn't blame the loss on Bryant.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notes that the Lakers disagreed on what led to the loss.

--The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry argues Kevin Durant's fourth-quarter dominance served as a steppingstone toward his overall development.

--NBA.com's Randy Renner focuses on Durant's defense.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford explains how the Lakers folded in the final minutes of the game.

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan details the consequences NBA Commissioner David Stern outlined for coaches who criticize the league's officiating.

--The Times' Broderick Turner dissects Durant's impressive defensive performance on Bryant.

--The Oklahoman's Mike Baldwin compares OKC's speed to the Lakers' size and reports Jackson plans to visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame on Friday.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky has a comprehensive rundown of Thunder notes, including Durant's sharp defense, James Harden's play off the bench, the atmosphere at Ford Center and Brooks winning Coach of the Year honors.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reports that Lakers center Andrew Bynum acknowledged that he's regressed from recovering from his strained left Achilles' tendon.

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Gregg Patton explains why Jackson isn't surprised he didn't receive a single vote for Coach of the Year.

--The Daily News' Teaford has more on Stern's view on officiating.

Columns

--The Times' Bill Plaschke pins the Lakers' loss on No. 24.

--The Times' T.J. Simers believes Stern ruined a perfectly good night.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande chalks up the Thunder victory as a feel-good moment for Oklahoma City, considering the game served as the franchise's first postseason win since it moved in 2008 from Seattle.

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper believes the Thunder has already proven itself in the postseason.

--Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has your complete nuts-and-bolts rundown of the Lakers-Thunder game.

--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen explains how the Lakers have played much better defense lately. Keep in mind the embedded video below was recorded before Game 3.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin argues the Lakers' inability to defend Durant and Westbrook in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller argues the biggest consequence of the Lakers' loss entails the failed opportunity to gain some rest.

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Patton believes the outcome had more to do with how the Thunder played.

--The Oklahoman's John Rohde details how the Thunder overcame the odds to beat the Lakers.

--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen argues Oklahoma City's Game 3 victory served as a statement game.

--The Oklahoman's Barry Tramel credits the fan support as being instrumental to OKC's Game 3 victory.

Blogs

--The Daily Thunder highlights all the momentum shifts that eventually led to an OKC victory.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky details the Lakers' third-quarter meltdown as well as Durant's defense on Bryant.

--Forum Blue and Gold credits Oklahoma City for refusing to give up.

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore credits OKC's resurgent offense.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell details why the Lakers collapsed late in the game.

Tweet of the Day: "David Stern crossed paths with Phil in hall and extended hand. Phil smiled but withheld his: "I'm not so happy with you." -- KevinDing (Orange County Register's Lakers reporter Kevin Ding).

Photo Caption of the Day (Chick Hearn photo caption): ""Chick, just one more time, tell me it's 'in the refrigerator!'" -- Rick Friedman

Photo Caption of the Day (Chick Hearn favorite memory): "In this generation of Lakers media, nobody is closer than Chick Hearn. Many have attempted to duplicate his feat, his professionalism and knowledge but it is not apt for comparison. Fans first, before commercials. When the ball is in play, he won't interview any Hollywood star or politician out there until the game is halftime or over. Today, we see Myers and TNT enamored with celebrities. He is an inspiration to the players, organization and to all fans. He is quintessential NBA to all of us because he acts as the player, referee, coach, NBA official, producer, TV cameraman and sometimes the Lakers' opponent as well. One person did perform all the roles for the sake of fans' entertainment." -- Edwin Gueco

Reader Comment of the Day: "Ron Artest, SF 42 5-10; Pau Gasol, PF 43 7-12; Andrew Bynum, C 32 6-9; Kobe Bryant, SG 41 10-29; Derek Fisher, PG 36 5-8; "So could someone explain to me why Kobe was pounding the ball into the ground to take contested fadeaways and turnaround jumpers in the fourth quarter?" -- LA Guy

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant steals the ball from Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant but was called for a foul in Game 3 on Thursday night. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

 
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I'm still so mad I could spit.

Thank god for Rick having the defibrillator handy - thanks.

Does anyone know where Darth Stern's lair is? I sure would like to send a missile in that direction. Him and his minions pretty much guaranteed that Lakers weren't going to win last night. All it took was a few phantom fouls and voila: 2-1 series. Band of punk azzzzz thugs. I swear if I ever see Stern or Uncle Fester in real life, there's going to be a magic loogey moment (a la Jerry Seinfeld).

My remote is still intact - but it was a close one.

We did say Lakers in 5 so.....next.

The Show needs to BRING IT. I don't want them having to go back to OKC. We need to finish this up and get rested. It's only going to get more intense as the playoffs go on.

And STOP blaming Kobe for everything. If he had made a couple more shots y'all would be singing his praises. So you might as well zip it now - you lose more and more credibility every time you open your mouth.

GO LAKERS!!!

Nothing but another title will suffice - Kobe Bryant

Congrats Rick & Edwin!! Well deserved.

And Zaira - Smurfs getting some cake - CLASSIC! LMAO!!

MM:

.....so.......many.........threads........can't.........keep..........up............keyboard.........keys............wearing..........out..............help..........me...........

HEY!!! LOL!!!! It's the JUSTA SHOW up in here!!!!

"Look out, look out.. the Candyman.
Here he comes..
then he's gone again."
--Grateful Dead

Watched Lamar receive pass after pass on the perimeter
and he couldn't get rid of the ball fast enough.. only saw him drive once.
I see no desire to engage. He's hiding in the corners.

We know what he can do. He could change the game.
It's no fun without him.

"Pretty lady ain't got no friend
till the Candyman comes round again."

longtimelakerlover,

Thanks for the positive comment, much appreciated!

I hate to get into the "blame game" aspect, as it focuses too much on personalities and not basketball. NBA playoffs are all about matchups -- the Lakers must exploit their favorable matchups. To me, that means they must emphasize their size advantage. And if, as others have pointed out, that is hard to do with Gasol and Bynum standing around, then I think that means the guards must penetrate and dish. Now, is that possible with Kobe being hurt? Not sure, but this is where I worry about not having Ariza. I'm just not sure Artest can do that. I know Fish really can't, so perhaps we need to see more of Farmar and Brown. While I enjoy the idea of the "big lineup" perhaps in this series we need a Brown/Farmar/Kobe/Gasol/Bynum lineup that can penetrate, dish for easy baskets and/or draw fouls?

And someone pointed out that there comes a time where Phil must adjust -- run screens so Kobe has a smaller man guarding him, then post him up. Or, heaven forbid, go to the pick and roll!

Look, it is one game (don't forget Cleveland lost as well) and the Lakers can recover. But it was there for the taking...

justa - sorry about the multiple threads on the game updates. i've told management and i plan to reiterate it today that you guys don't like that format and would prefer that game updates just be lumped in one blog post

MM

KOBE SELF DESTRUCTS RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES:

He was playing great team ball until his ego got the better of him, throw momma from the train.

It is not about Kobe being a ball hog but more about his shot selection, time after time taking difficult shots, listen to Phil’s video from game 2.

In one sequence I saw Kobe fighting two opposing players, huff and puff while Farmar was right next to him open, his hands sheepishly raised “requesting” Kobe for the ball and yet he did not pass the ball, consequently, he took an extremely difficult shot with two defenders all over him and missed.

I say this again, after 13 years Kobe still has not grasped the concept of a team play, most likely the only reason he has ONE MVP award. This is Kobe’s Achilles heel.

Is watching Kobe’s ego play fun or boring?

After last night's game, several LeBroniacs repeatedly tried to calm me down because I was so angry.

A couple kept saying to me, "It's ONE GAME! Calm down. You're going to win the series!"

To which I responded, " I know, but it's the PRINCIPLE of things!"

Another thing, I watched the interview with Darth Stern in the first half; however, I watched the interview with the sound off as the bar was blasting tired Classic Rock at the time.

I recently finished "Telling Lies" by Paul Ekman (a great read), the guy that the Fox Series "Lie To Me" was based upon. As such, with the sound off, I paid focused attention upon to his microexpressions and eye movement and I asked myself, "Would I buy a used car from this guy or have him represent me in a real estate transaction?"

I answered myself with a firm, "NO. This guy can't be trusted."

Then I asked myself, "What the heck is David Stern doing in Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs? That doesn't make a lot of sense."

Answer: "Oh. Right. He's staring at the refs like Mr. Burns staring Homer Simpson when he asks for a raise. Great."

That brings me to my next subject: FREE THROW DISPARITY!!!!

Okay. I'm not angry at my Lakers.

I'm not angry at the Thunder. They played particularly well and honorably in the fourth quarter.

Am I upset with Kobe's decision-making in the fourth quarter? Yes, but I understand it. As we let the lead fall away, I think Kobe's "It's my job to bail them out!" reflex kicked in too early and he should have instead slowed things down and moved the ball inside. If that didn't work he could have kicked that reflex back in, BUT REALIZING THAT HE WASN'T GOING TO GET THE CALLS, he probably should have taken that in consideration in his shot selection.

And then there's the freethrow disparity.

Simply ridiculous.

It allowed the Thunder to be aggressive without restraint in the second half and tied us up like little calves at a Montana rodeo.

THAT was the problem.

Period.

And that's why I'm so angry about this game.

Something really has to be done about Darth Stern. I invite anyone out there to watch multiple interviews with Darth Stern with the sound off. It will send a shiver down your spine.

Darth Stern, this one's for you....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2dBtrLYsOo

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

justanothermambafan,

"Does anyone know where Darth Stern's lair is?"

I think this is it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQb2m6VJ-eo

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

This is what Darth Stern rocks out to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDgS6qLsVM4&feature=related

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Durant`s block on Kobe was a thing of beauty...although not nearly as impressive as the "facial" Bryant received from the great Paul Pierce in Game 4 back in 2008!

Give credit where credit is due. Congrats to the Thunder on their first ever playoff win.

Perspective: We lost the first road game in the first round last year to Utah as well. It was a 2 point differential.

Thought a couple of Kobe's attempts were ill-advised, but I thought it was even more terrible that there was not enough movement to get the ball on the inside or at least the high post to Pau. Lamar looked pretty lethargic.

And regarding the refs, particularly Joey Crawford: both teams played hard....

I would really like the Thunders to be as stupid to put Durant on Kobe again. The move by the coach caught Kobe off guard, and Kobe did not realize until later that he was beating Durant quite easily, and there were alot of help coming from Durant''s teammate, hence Kobe had like three assist in a stretch of one minute.

If the game had continued for five more minutes and Durant was on Kobe we will have a different tone today.

The game reminded me of when Paul Pierce faked that stupid injury against us in the Finals, and his whole antic changed the complexity of the game (the lakers were starting to control the game) and the series eventually.

Durant did not do anything special on Kobe, Kobe just did not make the right adjustment and he will next time.

So people need to chill on Kobe. I do blame him for the loss, because he did not do his scouting report on Durant's defense.

From Kevin Ding: "The Lakers were within reasonable striking distance, down by a 96-94 score, before referee Marc Davis called Artest for holding Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant in a non-shooting situation with 58.7 seconds left."

I remember the play distinctly. It was a clear non-foul.

Surrouned by LeBroniacs I shouted at the screen, "How is that an [explitive] foul?!?!?"

To which the LeBroniacs next to me said, "I don't know."

{Growl}

Now, I missed a key stretch of the fourth quarter in the Cavs/Bulls game, but I was told that there was another series of VERY ODD officiating where at crucial moments fouls were called on the Cavs that could have given them the game that were clearly not fouls or should have been fouls on the Bulls. Now, I did not see these fouls, but the entire bar was grumbling about these calls well into the fourth quarter of the Lakers/Thunder game.

If one throws water on Darth Stern, will he melt?

He might.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7GJcKuVGm8

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Thunder is a good team, very resilient athletic young men. I respect them because they're not dirty players, they're hard workers with such heart and passion. The Lakers can learn a thing or two from them. Our boys worked hard last night, some shots just didnt fall, some foul calls weren't called, they wanted to win in a building of smurfs. But sometimes you gotta lose and be scarred to win the battle. It teaches you perseverance. You stay humble yet strong willed. This was a good lose for the guys. Because we all have noticed the "cocky" attitude they've had during regular season. They know they can beat the Thunder but not without resiliency, heart and togetherness. They can't rely on just their talent to win the battles ahead.

I'm not going to blame any of the Lakers for this lost. It was enough for me to see that they really wanted to win, I saw it in their eyes. Bad decisions happen, they learned from it. PJ knows it too.

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.

You've got to love David Stern's "My referees are beyond reproach!" approach to criticism!

Criticism them and you will be harshly fined!

You know what, whenever a person or government has responded to criticism with a strong autocratic and punitive approach to things, it is because of insecurity and the knowledge that something is wrong, but the governing body simply does not want to be challenged on it, either due to an inability to manage the situation or simply due to corruption.

I think both are true with officiating and Darth Stern.

He may be a grimey trogdolyte, but he's no idiot. He works with these refs. He knows that they have biases. He personally chooses them for games. He knows which ones are swayed by the crowd. He knows what an influence inconsistent calling will have on key players, especially players who excel by being aggressive.

HE KNOWS THESE THINGS!!!!

And he is too much a scumbag not to take advantage of it for what he perceives will be the financial betterment of the league. The league thrives on drama, close games, upsets, and superstars who get sold as having "nigh-superhuman abilities" and Darth Stern works to make this a consistent reality.

Coaches can't say this. Players can't say this. But we all know it's true.

Darth Stern! You can't fine me, okay?!?!?!

"The Emperor Wears No Clothes!"

David Stern, you're no Jack Nicholson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2F4VcBmeo

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

MM,

you wrote: Same applies to Game 3, except the opposite happened. He took over, but it was on a night where the bigs were playing effective and it had a deterimental affect. Instead of it lifting the team like it did in Game 2, it hurt the team in Game 3

my response: Can you explain this? You said the bigs were playing effective.

Bynum had 13 pts & 7 rebounds of which 2 were offensive. He also played
for 32 mins. The least of any of the starters. If he is actually playing "effective",
why did PJ limit his minutes? Why does he have so few offensive rebounds?
Why does he have so few defensive rebounds?

LO had 8 pts & 6 rebounds & 0 assists. So, in what way are you saying that
he was effective? You can't argue that he didn't have the ball because he
shot the ball 7 times, took 4 3ptrs & played for 21 minutes. For comparison
take a look at Serge Ibaka. 6 pts, 6 rebounds, & a higher +/- rating.

Ouch/pfunk36 talked about our bigs (pau/bynum) being fronted. Did any of
our bigs fight for position in the low post in the late 3rd or 4th quarter?

You have previously listed articles where ScreenAndRoll.com have broken
down the games where Kobe shoots a high # of shots and 99% of the time it
is when the Lakers are losing and he shoots a lot in the 3rd/4th quarter.
Last night is a perfect example. Kobe goes out when we're up 6 pts. he comes
in when our lead had been erased. So at what pt during the 4th quarter were
any of our bigs established in the low post?

LakerFan( aka troll),

you wrote: He was playing great team ball until his ego got the better of him, throw momma from the train.

It is not about Kobe being a ball hog but more about his shot selection, time after time taking difficult shots, listen to Phil’s video from game 2.

In one sequence I saw Kobe fighting two opposing players, huff and puff while Farmar was right next to him open, his hands sheepishly raised “requesting” Kobe for the ball and yet he did not pass the ball, consequently, he took an extremely difficult shot with two defenders all over him and missed.

I say this again, after 13 years Kobe still has not grasped the concept of a team play, most likely the only reason he has ONE MVP award. This is Kobe’s Achilles heel.

my response:

Glad this isn't about Kobe being a ballhog. So you wanted Kobe to give the
ball to Farmar ( 1-3, 0-2 from the 3, with 1 assist in 12 mins.)? Why would
that have been a good decision?

re: Kobe not passing. You do realize that Kobe had a game high 8 assists
for the Lakers, right?

re: 1 MVP. The 2 years that Kobe won the scoring title he would have also
won the MVP if we had had a professional pg [ we had Smush ] & a consistent
#2 [ we had LO. ] & a reasonable center [ we had Mihm & a Bynum child ]

J24,

"Thunder is a good team, very resilient athletic young men. I respect them because they're not dirty players, they're hard workers with such heart and passion."

Agreed.

They are a much better team than the Chicago Bulls. Let's put it that way.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Dr Buss talked about how having a payroll like this years' can't be a long-term plan. But unfortunately, the only way this team makes another serious title run is by adding players. We need shooters, youth on the perimeter, a decent PG and a scoring SF. We're not going to fill these holes w/o drat picks or money spent, and we have only second round picks in this year's draft. The hand has been raised, and I have to think Dr Buss will chose to spend rather than settle for 2nd or 3rd best iin Kobe's prime. Right now we are no where near as athletic as these younger teams and we don't have the shooting to cover some of our mistakes. We have to improve this team and I'm thinking it's going to take Mitch's best job as a GM to get 'er done.


"The world Chico, and everything in it."


Wes

More than one poster has written something to the effect of...

>>>I do not understand why this team will not clearly use the advantage they
>>>have in the low post.

Did you actually watch the game? Or are you just looking at the stats and comparing the number of shots Kobe took to the number of shots Bynum and Gasol took?

If you had been watching the game, you would have seen that the Thunder have been focusing MOST of their attention to denying the pass in to Bynum or Gasol in the post. They either front them and have the weak side help cheat over to prevent the lop, or they play behind them and have the on-ball defender sag off to sandwich Gasol or Bynum.

Oklahoma City has done a very good job of preventing the Lakers from owning them in the post. Sometimes the Lakers were able to get it in the post by reversing the ball, or by going high post to low post, but for the most part, OKC is clogging the lane and daring the Lakers to shoot outside.

It was good to see Fish have a good shooting night, and Artest as well, but Odom shooting 3's is stoopid. He might as well just hand the ball over to his defender and let them waltz back for a layup.

And for two 7 footers to get outrebounded by a bunch of shorter guys shows that the shorter guys wanted it more and were playing harder. Pau was good on that front with 15 rebounds himself, but Bynum with 7 rebounds in 32 minutes is pretty weak.

And yes, Kobe shot very poorly in the 4th. But bear a couple of things in mind: When he went out for a break at the end of the 3rd, the Lakers went completely flat. Lots of people holding the ball, Dish charging trying to drive the lane, Shannon and DFish bricking 3's, Pau missing a free throw. Basically, with Kobe out, they let the Thunder back into the game. Up to that point, the Thunder would make a little run, then the Lakers would stretch it back out to 9 or 11. Without Kobe, they let them to within 1.

And the 4th wasn't just an endless stream of Kobe bricking shots. There was also a Lamar Odom charge, Serge Ibaka being left completely unguarded by Lamar and scoring 4 points. There was Kobe TRYING to pass on a drive and throwing it away. And there were Gasol and Bynum missing short shots in the post.

And I'll even give a tiny bit of blame to Phil.

When Scott Brooks put Durant on Kobe in the 4th, my response would have been to clear out the lane and post up Artest on James Harden every time down the floor. There's no way Harden could handle Artest's strength and size. After about 3 straight scores or fouls, they would force the switch back. In fact, if the Thunder try the Durant on Kobe thing again, I'll bet you see Artest in the post.

But you know what? So what. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showed that they are going to be monster players in the league for years. And their role players (especially James Harden but don't discount the 3 or 4 charges that Nick Collison took) produced just enough to get a win for them.

And I'd much rather be the Lakers, losing a playoff game to a 50 win team than the Cavs, losing to a 41-41 team. How sucky is that?

wesjoenixon,

"We have to improve this team and I'm thinking it's going to take Mitch's best job as a GM to get 'er done."

I agree with you if you are talking about NEXT YEAR.

Right now, we need Fisher and Artest to consistently be making their outside shots. It is that simple. Thankfully, Fisher showed some real improvement last night which was a welcome sight.

His next three-pointer will tie Michael Jordan for all-time playoff three-pointers made... which is nice.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

So about our bigs being effective:


http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/6066/thunder-101-lakers-96-one-moment

31: The number of three-pointers hoisted by the Lakers, a full 37% of their field goal attempts for the game. Could the Lakers have benefited from a call here or there? Sure. It was surreal to see the team still without a free throw until under two minutes remained in the first half. On the other hand, when the refs finally decided L.A. had been hacked in the act, it came not on a Kobe drive or post moves from Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, but a Fisher three.

It's hard to get a lot of love from the officials when treating the game like a jump shooting contest.

Every shot they took from there was one they didn't take from the paint. Give the Thunder credit for once again making it tough for the Lakers to get inside. They're athletic, front aggressively, and are quick enough to double in the post and still recover on shooters. But 31 threes? Really? Maybe there's an element of settling going on here?

7: After grabbing 12 offensive rebounds in Game 1 and a whopping 19 Tuesday night in Game 2, the Lakers were limited to a mere seven Thursday night, despite missing the mark 46 times. That's a 15-percent offensive rebound rate, compared to their season average of 27.6. It's also not enough, particularly for a team struggling to find offense in the half court, and for one night at least, not getting to the line.


so. Could someone define effective in the statement: our bigs were
effective?

oooh. One other thing. Dave McMenamin was right. The biggest factor in losing last night's game was that the Lakers couldn't stop Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook to save their lives for most of the 4th quarter. They need to keep that defense up for 4 quarters every game.

GIMMY THE BALL, GIMMY GIMMY GIMMY, I SAID GIMMY THE DANG BALL: hahahahahahahahaha!!

Quote from Phil: "We wanted the ball going inside," Jackson said. "We didn't get the ball inside and it ended up in Kobe's hands and he was like, ‘OK,' and he got into attack mode."

Phil: because you are too afraid to stir the pot and not confront Kobe. It would be mighty nice of you come down from your high perched thrown and put some sweat equity.


"If one throws water on Darth Stern, will he melt?"-Jon K.
LOL! OUTSTANDING!
I do agree with the large disparity between foul shots taken, but at the same time, the Lakers were settling for a lot of jump shots.
The one call that was extremely questionable was the in- bounds foul against Artest which sent Durant to the line at the end of the game.
Some of my friends don't watch the NBA anymore since the whole Donaghy fiasco and claim that the League has become nothing more than WWF wrestling with a ball. Sometimes I agree with them.

LongTimeLakerFan- You're right on the poor defense on Durant and Westbrook, but that's merely a symptom of the problem not the cause of it. OKC's offense thrives on transition baskets and they happened because the Lakers took poor shots from the outside.

MM

RED`S LOVE CHILD

>>>

LOL. One playoff loss and the idiotic Celtic trolls are back.

Good one Red. Hope to see the C's in the finals. There's nothing I'd love more than to see the Lakers give the Celtics a butt-whippin'.

LongTimeLakerFan,

I agree that the Thunder are doing a great job of denying the bigs the ball, but there are other ways to get to the basket and/or to use the bigs. You mention one yourself with Artest; I would have liked to see Phil find ways to use Kobe in the post as well and to cause Durant to switch.

I do completely agree though that getting outrebounded the way the Lakers did is unacceptable, for the bigs and the smalls! No excuse.

Another thank you for considering my Chick in the comment for the day.

On the way home last night after the game, I was listening on these young announcers from espn by the name of Brian Long and (forgot the name of the other) gosh, it just a travesty that in this generation they could not find a young guy as excited and passionate as Chick. These guys on mike were already reading the game results could not give any good analysis that will educate the listeners. They tell what people already know, answers questions from callers with the "I" and "me" attitude, my gosh why don't they just listen to questions and consider other point of views. Do we have anybody there as close to Chick, if none why don't they put Norm Nixon or someone like Mykal Thompson on the air, they are very knowledgeable with basketball situations they're not Chick, at least they played the game and know what they are talking on the air.

Lamar has a tough matchup with Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is one tough dude. I don't know Ibaka's story, but he has that look in his eyes like he's seen some crazy things in his life.

Lamar is going to have to play his best ball to be effective against him.

Go Lakers!

Edwin - You deserve the praise. I appreciate all your insight and presence you offer to the blog.

MM

LTLF,

"Our two 7 footers to get outrebounded by a bunch of shorter guys shows that the shorter guys wanted it more and were playing harder"

Very true. There is no excuse for Kobe in jacking up a lot of shots, although at a first glance his intention is to pass. These two bigs could not free themselves from the dwarfs and yet they're span that could occupy the shaded area. If they kept on moving or design a play to screen the other big, Kobe will not be shooting the ball at closing seconds of possible expired time of possession.

Another idea, if Bynum, Gasol and Artest will also pack the fringes of the post when Kobe or Fisher is holding the ball, don't you think they out rebound a shorter opponent. I think Drew is afraid to jump or move a lot endangering another injury. I think Gasol was born to be sloppy, a slight touch he buckle down like a thin tripod. However, once they get the ball, they can maneuver to hoop or fish a foul.

Coaches, are you reading the blog? During the time of Riley, there are no blogs or fans link to offer suggestion. Don't u think ideas being presented here makes sense, or at least can be developed to help the players?

Stern: "As you guys know, our referees go out there and knock themselves out and do the best job they can. But we've got coaches who will do whatever it takes to try to work them publicly. What that does is erode fan confidence."

No, what erodes fan confidence is seting up games, bad calls and bias. I see it happening inside my own house, as my son is tired to try to understand why some fauls are called while the same faul, on the other team, is not being called.

Cheater! I hope you don't succeed in your "BBall-to-the-rednecks" plan. You're destroying the game and even players. Notice how LeCrab is always using his arm against the defender when he penetrates? Even when there's no defender w/ him. He got used to.

Really? Lakers lost game 3? What? I (for one) am not, in the least bit, surprised. Honestly, it would have been much more shocking had the Lakers won game 3. Anybody who's followed the NBA this year should know how fully capable these Thunder are of not only winning 1 game in this series, but (GASP!) 2!! And anybody who claims to be a Laker fan should know that this group of Lakers needs to feel challenged in order to rise to the occasion.

Some promising signs from last night's game: 1) Fish & Artest look like they may be closer to finding their elusive "shooting touch." 2) The opposition had to play out of their minds in the 4th quarter to squeek out a win. 3) Kobe may have realised in that 4th quarter that he needs his teammates (who are fully capable of stepping up) more than ever before to get through the playoff grind.

Still not understanding why these guys fail to go to the post in the 2nd half of ball games. I thought they'd fix that in the playoffs, but it seems to have become a bad habit. The post is CLEARLY our advantage in this series - and, to win, we must play to our advantages. Coaching staff needs to rectify this.

Lakers should take this in 6. These Thunder wonder-kids are certainly game. Too bad we're gonna hafta break their hearts in OKC. Ok, not really. Hopefully we finish it in LA. Let's go Lakers!

-Fowl Out

To Jon K:

Can you calm down man and stop whinning at yourself, refree, and Sten! Is that all you think of that everbody is against Lakers. Have you thought about how silly you think? WAKE UP, other fans all over the US think that Lakers is protected by the Ref's for getting all the calls. What can you say about that? Who is right? Don't you think that just lies in your mentality?

SO STOP WHINNING AND LET US ENJOY THE GAMES WHILE WE CAN!!!!

Reader comment of the day!!!! Thank you MM!

Jon K - I saw most of the Cavs-Bulls game and I think I know what your friends were talking about. With 3 minutes left Delonte West got called for traveling for a step that he took after the ball had already left his hands, erasing an and-1 by Jamison. Then with 1:17 left, Lebron got called for an incredibly suspect offensive foul on what would have been another and-1. Finally, with Varejao shooting the 2nd free throw while down 2 with 8 seconds left, Joakim Noah held Lebron by the face for several seconds, allowing Brad Miller to get the crucial rebound.

Does that mean that Stern was fixing the game in favor of the Bulls? Of course not. I think that the ref who called the travel on Delonte thought he was trying to stop and missed the ball leaving his hands with the bounce pass, I think that they weren't looking at Lebron when Noah clotheslined him, and I think the offensive foul call was just a bad call. NBA referees make a lot of bad calls, and every once in a while you get a run of bad calls going against one team. And some referees have a strong tendency to favor the home team when they're making suspect calls. Does that mean that the "fix" is in? No, it just means that the NBA needs to do more work to force their refs to perform better.


p.s. - that late foul on Artest was iffy, but I think it was a makeup call for the play before. Exactly one play before the Thunder had set a similar screen and Artest had bear-hugged the screener to keep him from getting free. Just watch the play - it's an obvious call. The refs might have gotten berated for missing it and made a "make-up call" by calling a ticky-tack foul on Artest the next time down.


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