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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 95-92 victory over Oklahoma City

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Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes Kobe Bryant's late-game theatrics in the Lakers' 95-92 Game 2 victory Tuesday over Oklahoma City, but believes there are many serious issues the team needs to iron out.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues Oklahoma City has proved it belongs in the playoffs.

--It may not have been pretty, but the Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen says the Lakers have a comfortable 2-0 lead over the Thunder.

--The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry explains why OKC has a good shot to win the series even if it trails 2-0.

---The Daily News' Elliott Teaford details how Oklahoma City gave the Lakers a difficult time in Game 2.

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan details the unveiling of Chick Hearn's statue outside Staples Center.

--The Orange County Register has a photo gallery of all the sights and sounds regarding Hearn's dedication.

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains the dichotomy that is Ron Artest's impressive defense and deplorable offense. 

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Lassen explains what's up with D.J. Mbenga's hair.

--The Oklahoman's Mayberry and Barry Tramel note why asking Durant about Jackson doesn't exactly put him in the best mood.

--The Daily News' Teaford notes Jackson's analysis on Bryant's injuries.

Columns

--The Times' Bill Plaschke believes the Lakers are suffering an identity crisis.

--The Times' T.J. Simers expresses amusement over Bryant's and Phil Jackson's non-communicative relationship.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande highlights how Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant believes his son still has what it takes to stay on top of the game.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore argues Bryant's 39-point performance in Game 2 served as a response to Jackson's challenge for him to fix up his game.

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper argues the Thunder will have a tough time scraping out of a 2-0 series deficit.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding explains why the Lakers aren't shooting well.

--It never ceases to amaze Fox Sports' Mark Kriegal when he witnesses Bryant bailing out his team again.

--Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix gives a nuts-and-bolts rundown of the game.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi explains difficulty the Thunder had in stopping the Lakers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin chalks up Bryant's fourth-quarter resurgence to going back to the basics.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller is impressed with Bryant's fourth-quarter heroics, but not the rest of his game.

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Gregg Patton is impressed with how the Thunder is playing.

--The Oklahoman's Tramel believes the Thunder has become a much better team, despite these two losses to the Lakers.

Blogs

--The Times' Lisa Dillman recounts her conversation with Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant in the Fabulous Forum blog.

--The Daily Thunder details how Oklahoma City folded in the final minutes.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky break down the key parts of the game along with video interviews.

--Forum Blue and Gold gives credit to Lakers forward Pau Gasol for also being instrumental in the victory.

--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus has a detailed rundown of the game.

--Pro Basketball Talk's John Krolik explains how the Lakers managed a win even after scrapping their initial game plan.

--Silver Screen and Roll can't help but notice how the Lakers are aging.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell details Bryant's statement game.

Tweet of the Day: "Walked with Kid Rock after Lakers win turns to me and says "F***, Whooo, Whooo" -- DuranLA (710 ESPN's Beto Duran).

Reader Comment of the Day: "OK, it wasn't pretty but the thing I like about both games is that the Lakers might not play well for the whole 48, but they're playing hard for the whole 48. That's a big deal. OKC is probably the best lower seed in the playoffs, experience or not, and you have to give them credit for playing well. I don't remember seeing a game with that many blocks. That was a legit block party." -- Mark G

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to finish his shot after getting fouled on a drive against Oklahoma City's Jeff Green (22) and Nick Collison (lower right) in the fourth quarter Tuesday night. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 
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PERSPECTIVE...

--Lakers up 2-0 and facing doomsday-like negativity from their fans; OKC down 0-2 and return home to hero's welcome. Amazing how expectations can be a blessing or a curse.

--Mavs, Nuggets, Suns are the other favorites in the West. Mav's struggle to win game 1, while Nuggets & Suns series are 1-1. NOBODY (in the West) dominating the opposition this year.

--For you newbies... Lakers first championship of 2000's came on the heals of 1st round 3-2 games victory over #8 seed Sacramento AND conf. finals 4-3 games victory over Portland (including miracle, 4th Qrt, game 7 comeback from 15 down).

--For you mid-newbies... Lakers Showtime back-to-back championship in 1988 included THREE 4-3 games series wins.

--In 2000, Lakers lost EIGHT playoff games along the way to the championship. In 2001, Lakers lost ONE playoff game along the way to the championship.

You just can't judge the body of work until you have, well,,, the body of work to judge.

Mike

Fisher is a media darling. Game#2 articles prove it.

Who else could go 2-10 from the field, foul out, make bone head plays, get outscored by the opposing PG 19-5 and yet not get much media attention about his poor performance?

No LA Times writer has said the obvious, Fisher is hurting the team.

ESPN? Nothing. They are the NBA's and Lakers partner.

TNT? Barkley ignores the obvious too.

Can some one post a mainstream article where a columnist or writer holds Fisher accountable for his consistently terrible play and its negative impact on the Lakers team this season and in the playoffs?

KOBE’S BAAAAAACK!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
First of all, kudos to Kobe Bryant for a strong offensive game. The 15 points in the fourth quarter provided living proof that Mamba is still the best closer in the game. Looks like the haters and doubters will have to wait a few more years before the Mamba is too old to carry the load. Kobe's shot and legs looked much better. I was a little disappointed that he did not focus on facilitating more, especially keeping Drew into the mix.
~
I thought Pau Gasol had an excellent all around game. He was sharp on his midrange jumper and finished much stronger around the rim. I still am not happy with how Pau helps out on defense. Again, he seemed to not want to challenge penetrating Thunder players for fear of getting into foul difficulty. When Pau is in the game, especially playing center, he needs to provide better help defense to protect the rim.
~
I was not happy with Drew’s offensive performance as the Thunder double teams and fronting in the post took away much of the low post aggressiveness he displayed on Sunday. The Lakers need to adjust because they were never really able to get the ball to Drew down deep. Part of it was due to poor entry passing and part to Drew not being aggressive enough. Hopefully, we will see adjustments, better spacing and patience, and a commitment to play inside-out basketball. That is the key to winning, especially against the smaller Thunder.
~
Defensively, I thought Drew did an excellent job. He blocked and altered numerous shots. I especially loved how he met penetrating Thunder players trying to dunk head on. I thought he had a clean block on several occasions when the zebras called him for fouls. I was really surprised that Phil pulled him for Lamar in the middle of the fourth quarter. Maybe Phil felt Drew was gassed after missing two free throws but Lamar really has not played well in either playoff game so far. One thing that is still clear is the Thunder immediately look to attack the rim the second Drew leaves the game. He is really our only shot blocker in the paint.
~
And speaking of shot blocking, hats off to the Thunder. I was impressed with their unbelievable effort at the defensive end. These guys are a genuine Top Ten NBA defensive team. 17 blocked shots were something else. Bottom line, however, the Lakers shot 37% from the field and still won the game. It’s the playoffs and defense rules. I look for the Lakers to have a great game Thursday when they put their boots on the Thunders’ throats. Lakers still win the series in a 4-0 sweep but give the Thunder credit. Their bad luck was finishing as 8th seed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

A Chick Hearn bobble head sounds like a great idea.

I support Derek, I love the guy and will always, but as of right now, I'm disappointed in him as a leader (even more so than his performance).

The sky is not falling. I'm actually very pleased with the effort so far - sure, I wish PJ would have made a key adjustment earlier in the season, and yes, I'll cheer when the refs force this adjustment, but I still love me some Lakers.

Food for thought.

The mighty dominating Cadavaliers struggled in their most recent win vs the 41 and 41 Bulls. They were tied at the end of 3 quarters, and the game was between 3 and 6 points until the last 3 minutes of the game, when Cleveland finally managed to build a 10 point lead.

So if the Lakers struggled to beat a 50 win team that has the best scorer in the NBA, one of the top point guards, a good defense, and league leading shot blocking, then so what.

This is the playoffs people, not a November game vs the Nets. Oklahoma City is a 50 win team, with quality wins against most of the top teams in the league, including the Lakers. If they were in the Least, OkCity would be the 4 seed.

I had originally estimated Lakers in 6, but I think it's still possible they could win in 5. Some of the Thunder showed signs of resignation at the end of that game. If the Lakers win one of the first two games in Oklahoma City, you can bet that half the Thunder will be mentally done and the Lakers will blow them out in game 5. But this series will not go past 6.

I'm actually hoping for Utah in the next round. The Lakers just really seem to own them. Chauncey has had the Lakers number for the most part since the Piston days, Carmelo has more playoff experience now, and if JR Smith got hot for a couple of days, Denver would have a legitimate chance of beating the Lakers.

But first lets finish off the Thunder.

I do have to say that the Lakers' offense does have me a bit worried. People say that defense wins championships, and if that's the case, then holding the Thunder to arounf 40% for the first two games really bodes well for the Lakers.

But I'd like to see Odom and Bynum and Artest hit a higher percentage of their shots. I'm beginning to doubt that Fish will get his shooting over 40% during the playoffs, but if it's going to happen at all, I'd prefer him to get hot in the finals, when it will be the most needeed. Bynum and Walton have definitely been showing rust, but Luke has done okay and Bynum has been very good at times, if a bit inconsistent.

Phil has been really good about not using Powell, and Farmar and Brown have actually done okay in their limited minutes. They've kept the team in the game and sometimes helped build the lead, so you can't knock that. The much maligned Laker bench has outscored Oklahoma City's bench in BOTH games, & I think they can build up a little confidence & get up to a higher level of play each round.

DFish ,

Did you see my post about Fisher being a hypocrite on the last thread. Read it and see if you agree.

Ever seen a punch drunk boxer that can't hang up the gloves?

The governing bodies typically have to step in and revoke his right to fight.

Same situation here -

Someone with authority should have stepped in and thrown in the towel. Last night, the zebras helped us with this one.

Poor Dr Buss. He just gave $90 million to an aging superstar who's falling apart, who can no longer shoot a high percentage but still feels he has to hog the ball and ignore the two 7 footers in the post and as Charles Barkley said, make the game harder for himself.

Thunder in 6 !!


By the way, for your next blog post or a post in the future. Consider writing one about how Fisher is a hypocrite. He calls this team meeting to show that he is a leader and tells everyone to put their personal agendas down, free agency, etc, for the playoffs. It looks to me on the floor he hasn't put his free agency status down. He keeps mentioning to the media how he wants to play more years and his play on the court seems to indicate that he wants a nice contract. He consistently shoots bad shots to try to score and inflate his numbers.

Fisher is a hypocrite.

Until Lebron (High School Champion) James actually wins an NBA Title, lets stop with the "How great thou art" crap.
I chuckle every time Lebron "HSC" James is interviewed and he talks about being a champion and it's also funny how he talks in the third person.

Win one first HSC

*
DERICK FISHER I SUPPORT YOU - BANDWAGON
*
(01) PSYCHED LAKERGIRL -OWNER - And as many know, I will always love DFish. I am proud of my love and the haters can say what you will. He still owns 4 rings and comes up big. He knows what to do and when to do it. So, don't be hating, be celebrating we have Fish's leadership on our team.
Fish plays within the team and always has his mate's backs. Weren't we hearing the same things last year??? Too slow, getting crucified by faster guards, wah, wah. It may not be this first round where Fish brings it - maybe this is where Artest (get rid of Ariza's ghost) and AB (is he healthy...once again) are supposed to lay this championship's foundation. Know this - Fish will be there when we need him most. Let us not forget his timely suspension, got your back, taking one for the team moments last year. He still has it............the heart of a champion.
(02) MAMBA24 - DRIVER - I'D Drive Psyched anywhere. Amd If I had but 0.04 seconds I'd give the shot to DFish.
(03) JON K. – RIDING SHOTGUN - Derek Fisher is playing very good TEAM defense (his one-on-one is okay, not great), but the guy has to make his open shots and least half the time.
(04)
(05) J24(LADY-JEM24) - I've always been a supporter of Derek Fisher
(06) WALLACE – The blame should not be put on Fisher alone.
(07) RICK FRIEDMAN - In Game 1, Andrew, Thriller, and Fish all played outside their bodies to deliver a dominance the Thunder couldn't handle. I
(08) EDWIN GUECO - We still need the best game from odom, fisher, farmar, brown, walton and back again to LakerTom's beast, bynum. Without their presence, we will hop, limp and crawl to Western Finals.
(09) 4SANTINO - How soon we forget the big shots that fish made that got us the 4 titles. Yes he is slower, but do we dump on our employees who age, slow down, but still put out 100% effort every day at work? If we lose this year, it won't be because of Fish, it will be due to our team not being better than the other team. We did lose individual battles last year leading up the championship at the point guard spot, but were able to overcome that with excellent play at the other positions, a healthy team, and some good luck. I recall Fish hitting some big shots in a game 4 in Orlando that probably won us the title? God bless d fish.

Bryant heard the doubters entering Game 2 and said after his strong outing: “After 13 years, you’d think they’d know better."

--Kobe Bryant

THAT's what I'm talking about!

--FEARless

--In 2000, Lakers lost EIGHT playoff games along the way to the championship. In 2001, Lakers lost ONE playoff game along the way to the championship. You just can't judge the body of work until you have, well,,, the body of work to judge. Mike Posted by: LakerMIKE | April 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM

LakerMike I can judge this body of work and brother it is...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!!
Preach Brother, Preach!!

Playing OKC in the first round is the perfect preparation for Denver in the second round. Both OKC and Denver have great PG's and SF's, as well as athletic role players. The thing that sets Denver apart is Nene; OKC doesn't have that kind of a big man.

OKC is very fortunate to have two superstars in the making as their foundation. They could very well be the next San Antonio, provided that they add a quality big man like Bosh to their roster.

Hey Lakers

How about running some type of plays for Bynum? He is just getting his points on putbacks. The Thunder are packing in the paint though so the shooters better practice!

Hey Artest, when you get the ball in the lane why are you passing?

Hy LO..just bring it! Why do you have only 2 shots? 3 pointers or a drive to the rim. Where's the mid-range game?

About a dozen times Laker players looked scared or hesitant to shoot..even when they had open looks. I would rather see Shannon or Luke or Artest miss than see only 3 players shoot (kobe, pau and fish).

I say put Mbenga in for 3 minutes per game. He can lay some wood on the Thunder's player from the Congo..the one with all the blocked shots (Ibaka?). Maybe Mbenga can give him a verbal witch curse or pull a voodoo doll out of his uniform.

Also I attribute the poised nature of the Thunder and their swarming, fiesty defense to one of their assistant coaches...Maurice Cheeks!

Your move Phil, we can't just pass the ball to Kobe...

After reading LakerTom's excellent post.

I also saw the Thunder driving to the rim when Pau sat down. Hy if you need a momentum shift, put in Mbenga for 3 minutes, give Pau more minutes at power forward not center!

Mbenga can wreak havoc too!

"Jolly Rancher says that everybody gets that Fisher should not be in there."

No, I said that he shouldn't be starting and I think he would improve with less minutes on the floor, providing a settling influence from the bench. I also said that the other 4 starters being on the floor would force Farmar/Brown/Sasha to make better decisions. (OK, I just added the Brown and Shasa part). Heck, there may be games where Fish should start, but this full time gig is taking too much out of his old abused body and it's been showing more and more.

JR

I cannot bear to watch Fisher anymore. Yahoo Sports' Kelly Dwyer actually had an article on Fisher. Fairly written with unbiased view.

What's up with all those Dfish haters?

He's the one who got Westbrook in early foul trouble and basically took him out of the game. The only difference b/w Game 1 and Game 2 is that Westbrook stepped up in the first and not in the 2nd and Durant wasn't in Game 1, but stepped up in Game 2.

http://www.nba.com/games/20100420/OKCLAL/gameinfo.html?ls=gt2hp0040900142#nbaGllive

Mark G., congratulations for your day today.

That is absolutely true, the Thunder were having a tailgate party at the Laker post in blocking the big, small and medium shots. After wards, they put up their beers and hot dogs and handed it to the dizzy Lakers. On the 3rd game, PJ will have an answer for that. They were able to block those shots because Lakers offense was in slow motion and individually driven. If it was a team play like when fish passed it to Gasol for easy dunk, then no one can block those shots. You have to give credit to the coaching staff of the Thunder, they made some adjustments on Game 2, lakers were not too quick in providing a counter to these adjustments.

Derek Fisher One More Time.


It's obvious to all that Fisher isn't playing great.
We've heard all the points about his leadership and occasional big shots and all the criticism about his missed shots and weak D ad nauseum.
(Ad nauseam is a Latin term used to describe an argument which has been continuing "to [the point of] nausea".[1])

I am not sticking up for Fisher or criticizing him, just saying that I am so sick of reading the nearly exact same stuff about Fisher from the same few posters over and over, multiple times per blog.

C'mon people, is Fisher the only aspect of these games you can talk about over and over?
Are you that one dimensional?

Here are some helpful subjects to expand your ability to post something others may actually want to read:

Can you talk about Artest?
Kobe?
Bynum?
Gasol?
Odom?
Luke?
The rest of the bench?
The teams D?
The teams offensive strengths and weaknesses.
Chemistry? (the teams).
Ok, even the subject (chemistry).
The triangle and its usefulness or lack thereof?
Phils coaching decisions?
Will PJ be back for another year?
Would you like him to come back? Why or why not?
OKC and how well or not well they are handling the Lakers.
Westbrook/Durant, what a combo?
Who do you want the Lakers to meet in the next round if they can get there?
Can the Lakers adjust and win on the road?
Can Mark post even more threads?
What is the maximum he can get up to in a 24 hour period?
;-)
What color will Artests hair be by game 6?
Should they all color their hair?
Should the one's who have shaved heads paint their head?
What color?
Should the players get more tats?
Of what?
Would it make them scarier so other teams get scared?
Should they wear one purple and one gold sock together?
Why or why not?
Is Kobe disloyal because he doesn't wear a purple and gold bandage on his boo boo finger?
Should he be fined because of that?
Do some of us, many of us, most of us or all of us have too much time on our hands to be spending so much time reading and posting on a blog?
That one was multiple choice, please explain your answer.
Are we all crazy or just some of us?

Discuss anything, just not more of the same ole same ole same ole Fisher stuff.

This will be a 7 game series folks.


Last nights game brought back the memories of Utah and Mark Eaton. That year going for back to back Championships every game was a 7 game series and I see it again. This will not be easy Laker Fans and do not be surprised if they come back tied at 2.


Artest- GREAT DEFENSE!! AWESOME!!


Do me 1 favor though......PLEASE DON'T SHOOT!!


Kobe- Best game I have seen in a while. We Laker Fans know we live and die by Kobe. Keep it up Kobe!


Fish-Thanks for all the years representing the Lakers and the great shots of the past but you are now in the catagory of Smush and Kwame to where I am pulling out my hair while you are on the floor. The loyalty that Phil has shown Fish is really a story in itself. I really think the Point Guard position will be the down fall of the Lakers this year. Mgt should have addressed this but didn't and this worries me.
It is almost like Lakers playing 4 against 5 with the opposing PG always being a Superstar due to Fish.


BD

i'm happy with the win. 14 to go!


i'm not hating Fisher right now either.

Todd/Dfish
Dont forget Fisher killed JFK, came up with the formula for new coke and charged the pentagon $500.00 for a toilet seat. I think there are also rumors he doesnt like wearing socks with sandals either... Good God can you believe it??? Why isnt anyone reporting all the facts?? It IS a conspiracy isnt it? Too bad the rest of us (including the Lakers team itself) are not experts like you....The Lakers would have all ready won the championship by now if you were in charge, right?

Dang! Lay off Fish! Was it really just two days ago that Fish put down both of the big three point shots in the fourth quarter of game one to help put that game on ice? Was it just two days ago that Fish made one of the two huge defensive plays in the waning moments of game one (Artest making the other)? Was it not Fish who got the opposing player into foul trouble.

BTW, how does a guy shooting 2 for ten manage to get *anyone* into foul trouble? Must be some of that veteran savvy, because I can't see any other mechanism for manufacturing that result.

You really shouldn't be fouling a guy who's only hitting 20% of his shots. That is a classic youth v. experience argument right there.

I'll take Fish's experience, and the fact that his made shot attempts tend to be big shots. Necessary shots.

--FEARless

BTW, put me on the support Fish bandwagon.

Art - FL Lakers Fan,

With all due respect, there are other Lakers concerns. However, without question the biggest concern is poor play at the PG position. Fisher starts and plays the majority of the minutes and is therefore responsible for the productivity or lack thereof from the PG position.

The problem is after discussing Fishers inadequacies - ad nauseam, MM, the blog CZAR starts a thread saturday on Fishers intangibles triggering an posting frenzy. Compound this with Fisher having a mediocre game #1 and terrible game #2 and we are back to Fish must sit posts.

Fisher's play is the 900 pound gorilla in the room and therefore merits discussion above other topics.

For example .... a topic this season is Kobe's shot volume.

Last nite was a rare Lakers win this season when Kobe fga's > (Bynum + Gasol) fga's. Obviously, Lakers should play inside out but they didn't last nite and won anyway.

However, this issue PALES in comparison to Fisher's consistently porous defense and errant shooting in 30+ minutes of play.

With all due respect, there are other Lakers concerns. However, without question the biggest concern is poor play at the PG position.
Posted by: Todd | April 21, 2010 at 03:07 PM
___________

Todd,

Thanks for the well written and reasoned response.

You have a point but I disagree with you that the PG position is the biggest concern.

I have stated in numerous posts that if the open guy hits their shots the Lakers will win. I stand by this still. I think the lakers can win it all if they get consistent shooting from the open guys. If they don't get that I do not think they will win the finals and I question whether they will even make it that far.

Look at the shooting stats of the other guys taking open shots, not just during the playoffs, but for the last half of the season.
Look at game 2. Odom goes 2-9, Ron goes 2-10. If they each hit one more shot (it still would be a poor shooting nite for them) but the game is not a nail biter coming down to a last second OKC miss.

To me, the guys shooting so poorly is the biggest concern.
Lakers team D overall has been good these first 2 games.

Another concern perhaps bigger than Fisher, is some of the coaching decisions and substitutions of PJ. It's easy to armchair quarterback and most all sports fans seem to like to do it, but still, some of PJ's decisions are real head scratchers.

Another issue I would rank above Fishers play is the team not playing inside out very consistently. In game 1 they put on a clinic in the first quarter then got away from it. They start off inside out then get away with it. That has been a big problem all season and I am a bit surprised it is continuing to be a problem.

Now OKC has decided to just try and take away the inside game. I think that's a smart move on OKC's part. They are trying to force our outside shooters to beat them. This strategy just might work for them if they can shoot better. If the Lakers can't pull out a win in games 3-4 I think this becomes a 7 game battle.

If the Lakers do prevail, you can be sure every team they face is taking notes and will be packing the paint to force the outsiders shooters to beat them.
Their next opponent will be better than OKC.

Our outside shooters have got to step up and PJ needs to do some smart substitutions and game adjustments to keep this run going.
We can win with Fisher.
It's already been proven.


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