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Lakers' 95-94 close-out victory over Oklahoma City features various contributions

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With the clock winding down, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant brought the ball up the floor, and looked to fulfill a role many expect from him. The Lakers trailed by one in Game 6 against Oklahoma City with 14 seconds remaining, a game that may not bear season-ending consequences for the Lakers, but could end a series that featured many twists and turns along the way. And what better way to end it than having the Black Mamba orchestrate another game-winning shot.

As ESPN analyst Mark Jackson said as the game neared its final stages, "Put the ball in the best player on the floor's hands and live with the results." So with six seconds remaining, Bryant drove past Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook toward the near baseline. Bryant stopped short of the lane and squared up along the near post, pump faked and then pulled away for a fadeaway jumper. The shot rimmed out, but Lakers forward Pau Gasol grabbed the rebound and gave the Lakers a one-point lead with .5 seconds left. Following the timeout, Westbrook's missed three-pointer from the far corner made the Lakers' 95-94 series-clinching victory official, marking the third consecutive year the Lakers advanced past the first round of the playoffs, the team's seventh victory in the last eight close-out games and improving the team's record to 28-14 in close-out games during Bryant's 13-year career.

The last play perfectly served as a microcosm of the entire game. It featured plenty of heart-beating moments. The result proved unpredictable. And the Lakers managed to stave off a loud and blue Oklahoma City crowd because of various contributions. So it was only fitting that on a play that appeared to mark Bryant's seventh game-winner this season, Gasol helped recover from Bryant's missed shot. Gasol had only nine points on four of 11 shooting, but finished with 18 rebounds, including the last one that ultimately decided the game. 

Bryant's conversation with Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant and guard Westbrook dealt with the long-term future. "I told them they were incredible basketball players, for them to keep working and they're going to be a team we're going to have to deal with for years to come," Bryant told ESPN's Lisa Salters, which perfectly summed up the Lakers' highly competitive six-game series against the youthful and athletic Thunder.

Gasol's immediate reaction after his game-winning putback revealed the Lakers' short-term future as they meet the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals, with Game 1 beginning Sunday at Staples Center. As soon as the shot went in, Gasol roared, approached Lakers guard Derek Fisher (11 points on four of eight shooting) at the top of the key, chest bumped him and briefly locked arms. Though the Lakers' Game 6 performance didn't replicate their sheer Game 5 dominance and more appropriately demonstrated how they had to claw and survive their way through the first round, the late-game heroics and the various contributions are two entities that surely can bring the team closer together and play even sharper beginning in the semifinals.

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In a game that featured nine ties and 15 lead changes, the Lakers couldn't comfortably secure a 91-84 lead with 5:09 remaining. But various players made key plays in the final minutes to ensure the Lakers' victory. After Durant's layup gave the Thunder a 94-91 lead with 2:30 remaining -- Oklahoma City's largest lead of the night -- Gasol set a high screen on Durant, Bryant drove to the far corner and made a pull-up jumper, cutting the gap to 94-93 with with 2:11 left in the game. On the next possession, Lakers forward Lamar Odom blocked Nick Collison's putback, a play that marked Odom's third block of the game and stopped the Thunder from answering. Two possessions later, Odom grabbed the rebound off Westbrook's missed three-pointer, keeping the Lakers within striking distance, trailing 94-93 with just a minute remaining in the contest.

The Lakers' various contributions weren't just prevalent late in the game. Let's start with the third quarter where Bryant went into scoring mode, a rightful approach considering his hot hand. With the Lakers holding only a 53-52 lead at the 10:42 mark in the third quarter, Bryant scored six unanswered points, the team's next eight points and finished with 16 of his team-high 32 points in the third period. Coming off a timeout with 10:41 remaining, Bryant manned the point, while Fisher ran the wing and flashed outside the near perimeter. He briefly drew a double team from Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha, causing Fisher to kick the ball to Bryant at the top of the key. Money. On the next possession, Bryant drove past Durant and drew contact in the lane, converting on one of two free throws. After missing his second foul shot, Lakers forward Ron Artest grabbed the loose ball and gave it to Bryant. He drove the lane, squared up in the paint and then converted on a fadeaway jumper.

This game didn't just feature Bryant putting on a show. That became necessary, especially when he sat out for the final 2:46 of the third quarter after drawing his fourth foul. And Bryant didn't return until the 6:20 mark in the fourth quarter. But the Lakers' reserves maintained a 86-82 lead while he was gone, something the unit had also did in Game 1 when Bryant got in foul trouble.

With nine seconds remaining on the shot clock, Odom drove the lane before quickly meeting a double team, and then kicked the ball out to Lakers guard Shannon Brown. Brown, who had 11 points off the bench, nailed a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 76-73 lead with 11:36 remaining. Two minutes later, Lakers forward Luke Walton made two clutch baskets to keep the Lakers' lead intact. Lakers guard Jordan Farmar fired a pass to Walton on the far end, Walton posted up on Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green and made a turnaround jumper, increasing the Lakers' lead to 81-75. A minute later, Odom directed the offense from the left block and found Walton flash toward the near corner. After receiving the pass, Walton nailed the trey and widened the cushion to 84-77 with 8:36 remaining.

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The contributions didn't just come on offense. Artest lived up to his defensive billing once again, limiting Durant to 26 points on five of 23 shooting. That included Durant going zero of six in the first quarter partly because of Artest's defensive imprint. The sequence went like this: Durant posted up on the near block and settled for a fadeaway jumper, but Artest's refusal to give him space contributed to Durant's shot hitting off the rim. Durant drove past Artest and pulled up for a jumper, but Artest swiped the ball from behind. The ball went out of bounds, but Durant's following attempt yielded similar results. Durant curled off a down screen but Artest fought through it and Durant's jumper rimmed out. Durant flashed to the left block and pulled up for a jumper, but Artest contested the shot from behind.

Despite the numerous examples of the team's various contributions, the Lakers don't exactly enter the semifinals with the best cards. Lakers center Andrew Bynum reportedly hyperextended his right knee. Odom wore a brace on his right knee. And Artest has a bruised right shoulder.

But with the Lakers successfully coming off a complete Game 5 and an adversarial Game 6, it wouldn't be surprising if those two performances serve as a momentum boost in the Western Conference semifinal.

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol gets set to put back a miss by Kobe Bryant for the winning basket with less than a second to play Friday night in Oklahoma City. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17) gives a leaping bump to power forward Pau Gasol as they celebrate taking a 95-94 lead after Gasol's put back of a Kobe Bryant miss with less than a second to play Friday night in Oklahoma City. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest strips the ball from the grasp of Thunder center Nick Collison in Game 6 on Friday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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dear MM

maybe one of the best games by the entire team. the bench deserves big props.

so does your recap.

the only BAD part of the Lakers was PJ and the coaching staff. Big line up and the lead goes from 9 to -1

we had the 3:11 in the game 3. and now with Kobe out of his mind. on the bench. another 6 points disappear.

fisher back on westbrook? looks like politics r hitting the locker room. looks like Faux Pas who was MIA the second half and Fisher need to be redeemed.

i thought we r playing for #16 (no, not Pau). the championship. does not look like.

a big prop to RON for his incredible defense in the series. and LO who had some sparkles. i hope for the love of Khloe, he won't give her a heart attack. and he gets TOTALLY his acts together.

Lakers r showing some SIGNS. i hope the flickering light bulb will be adjusted and screwed in by the time we get to the finals.

till then some Jazzy notes for the next few days.

looks like cow towns r a good momentum changers for next series and championships. maybe stepping into cow patties brings good luck!

going for a drink. the OKC landscape left me dried up. i know some of you r already lubricated. Stoli?

forgot: Kobe was taken out in the 3rd at 2:43 mark????????

why is PJ so predictable with his line ups? see above and bellow.

after the HUge line we have 3 scrubs at the same time with Bynum and a lost LO.

Thats what im talking about,hahaha.Lakers win again.Black mamba strikes again.Thanks Pau.Where are you NINOY?hahaha!!!Lakers all the way baby!!!

I missed most of the game taking IDs of thugs with their pants around their thighs, BUT I SAW THE LAST SHOT!

Beautiful!

Just wonderful!

I'm now re-watching the game on ESPN before I go to sleep.

In all seriousness, has ANY other team won so many games in such dramatic fashion? It builds fortitude.

Give them hope... and then take it away. THAT is the Lakers way.

Dallas is out.

Denver is out.

We're probably playing San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals.

Funny, because the Kamenetzky Brothers talked about how the Spurs wouldn't do so well in the regular season, but could be the team to beat in the playoffs. They might be right.

Me? I'm not sure the Cavs will get past the Celtics next round.

It is and will continue to be a memorable playoffs.

Let's go!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

I'm happy Gasol made the game-winner play because he was a softie in the closing minutes of the game with his turnover in the post and badly missed lefty hook. He cannot be scared at the end of close games.

A nail-biting series but the BEST TEAM moves on.

A Colossal ending by KB and Gasol although it was clearly a TEAM victory and everyone showed some heart!!!!

Kudos to the young Thunder because they put up a good fight but it was LAKERS Night!!!!

NEXT...

Whoever, LAKERS will be ready!!!

GOOOOOOOOLAKERS!!!!!!!!

¿Gasoft? Not too bad today.
Few points... but at the end the winner points.
Hard dark work with 18 rbs.
Not his worst game at all.
This quiet and IQ man deserves his salary.

Phil almost cost us this game

It's not that he took Kobe out in the 3rd quarter it was that he waited till the 6 minute mark of the 4th to reinsert him.
He came back cold, and it took time to get his rhythm back

It's a good thing that players like Luke and Artest made some crucial baskets or else I would be a basket case right now.

I know it's moot and academic, but... isn't that a foul on Gasol at 0.5secs? Should've been an 'and-1'. Oh well... we still won.

GO LAKERS!!!

ouchhhhh,

Fisher only guarded Westbrook on switches a few times maybe 2.

ouchhhhhhhhh! What happened to There Goes Westbrook! There goes Russell! Westbrook! Russell! Westbrook! Or however you put it...

Tough young team, but they'll have to learn how to play half court game to win a series.

I may have missed the mark in stating Lakers in 5, but 6 on OKC's home court in a dog fight is just as good. OKC awakened the sleeping giant.

Instead of bashing the team and coaching staff, sit back and watch how, even injured, they can advance on through the Western Conference to the Finals. By then, their game will be back.

What happened to the Mavs and Enver? They were supposed to be the major obstacles in the West...

I'm honestly in delight.
My favourite kind of Lakers: snarky, teasing, but overhall always focused against injuries, against general conditions (erm... thank you Darth STERNer), with some flaw adjusted by DRIVE.

The final point went just in the best possible way: From Kobe and combined with Pau who had a very big mistake to make amend for.

It was pure brilliancy.

Kobe.... I can't find words no more to define my adoration for him.

I liked your analysis MM.

I'll come later with some more, it's like today sparkles.

And on top of all that, my best dream: THUGGETS SENT HOME.

Just fabulous.

I think I won't even dress up all day... I feel naturally bound to have only a blast for 24 hours.

PS: I can now go watching Alicia Keys, cos a Game 1 is not a game 7. BUT... I will bring iPhone and follow the chat a bit.

I know.

I am nuts.

But when it's about Lakers... I can't really blame myself for being so ;)

Whooooooo!!!! ;)

Later for more analysis.

:)))))))

Happy they won, not happy for the quick turnaround to get back and start Round 2, but the Jazz are in the same position.

PURPLE REIGN, BABY!!

That was so ugly, it was beautiful! Go Lakers!

Whew, what a heart stopper.
That last shot Kobe missed may have been a bit of good fortune. Had he made the shot there would have been just about 2 seconds left for OKC to set up a shot.
Kobe and Pau must have practiced that play, LOL.
Glad we're done with that pesky team but hats off to OKC, they will be around a while to annoy us and if they get Bosh this summer they may be number 2 in the west from the start.
Hope Drews leg is ok, we're gunna need him.
Our bench isn't dead yet and Fisher comes through with some big shots, yet again.
What game, what a team.

Sunday will be a tough game with only one days rest, perfect chance for the Jazz to steal one. Lakers over Jazz in 6 or 7 unless Williams is injured, then it be a short series.

Game 6 is tough...either team have a chance to win...(since play in OKC)...
even I m so sure Lakers can win at home game 7...but...
this was perfect...1 point win and move on for next round...

I believe, even current injured, Lakers still have everything to beat Utah and then SA Spurs...
and route to another year of NBA Final...

Go for Championship game...for another year...
GLG... Go Lakers the Great...

Good morning Lakernation,

I am still basking in the glory of last night's win. I agree with Rick F, it was so ugly, it's beautiful. My first game chat was all worth, although I hardly participated. I told you guys, at game time my eyes are locked to the game. I had a good time though.

I am so happy for Pau for that putback. What a way to get his confidence back after 2 or 3 mistakes down the stretch. It was a team effort but you have to give it to Kobe. He was relentless in the 3rd quarter, cold blooded MAMBA.

Zaira, enjoy your Alicia Key's concert. Remember, NO ONE, NO ONE comes close to the great KOBE BRYANT.

What's happening to me lately? Lakers are the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep and the first thing on my mind when I wake up. I am inlove with my LAKERS!!!

Did any of you guys win the mega lotto? Paging Edwin Gueco, are you in the building? *LOL

And yes that was a foul on Ibaka, as the photo shows he had all arm,no where near the ball and no call, Lebron would get that call with .01 on the clock.What is a foul?

If Gasol could jump in game as high as he is in the lead pic to this post, he'd be one of the league's premier shot blockers.

That was a GREAT victory. OKC played with endless heart, their fans nearly brought down the arena and Durant/Westbrook et al positioned themselves perfectly to steal that game. They played a TOUGH series and I think they could have given a lot of teams a run for their money. If they can get a big man and perhaps a power forward, they could be a scary force in the West.

OKC reminded the Lakers what it really looks like to hustle. Its a lesson that hopefully we continue to remember in the next series - without any more "wake up calls" required.

Yes, the coaching staff almost gave it away with their head scratching rotations in the late third/fourth qtr. Is it me or does Phil's make player rotations oftentimes with no consideration of how well a particular player is doing at the moment? E.g. in the late second when Shannon was 3 for 4 and Farmar was 1 for 5 (or so), why does he pull Shannon and replace with Fisher?

It's very cool that I can think of at least one play that every active Laker made that was instrumental to the Lakers victory.

Kobe: cold killer. nuff said
Gasol: game winner
Odom: key rebounds in the fourth
Artest: lock down D on KD
Bynum: Points, rebounds, heart
Brown: Hot hand
Fisher: Semi-hot Hand
Walton: Key stretch in the third
Powell: Important hustle play, coming up with the ball
Farmar: he made a 3 pter, right?

Great win for the Lakers!
and great article
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-kobedurant050110

Glad Kobe recognizes!

The Mamba indeed won't be moving over for anybody until he decides to hang it up.

Go Kobe!!!
Go Lakers!!!

Ouccchhh,

The *TALL* lineup was only in for 90 secs. A timeout was called and
Farmar or Brown was brought in.

A bigger question is why did PJ sit Kobe so long at the beginning of the 4th.

There was a benefit on PJ letting the reserves play. The reserves didn't
roll over and die. It's a good confidence builder for them, as we move
forward through the playoffs. It will extremely difficult for us to win if they
don't perform.

Jeanette,

you wrote: What's happening to me lately? Lakers are the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep and the first thing on my mind when I wake up. I am inlove with my LAKERS!!!

my response: It's the playoffs dear. This is perfectly natural for a Lakers fan.

Does anyone think that Ariza would have done as good a job on Durant?

Ouchhhhhhhhhhhh, no tomes tanto por el culo que te vas a enfriar!

MM, kudos to you and the Times for the quick action in getting the game chat up and improved. Nice work (as always). Hey, and tell Plaschke, Simers, and Heisler...THE SWITCH IS ON, BABY!

Seriously, there is no team in the NBA (sorry, Mark Heisler) that is so specifically built for the playoffs as the Lakers. You want to play big? We can out-big you. You want to play quick? When we absolutely, positively have to, we can out-quick you (see Game 5...we ran over, under, around, and through the hyper-quick Thunder). You have the NBA shooting champ or the regular season MVP? We've got the perennial Playoff shooting champ and MVP. You have the **cough**sort of**cough** "Coach of the Year"? Too bad, we've got the "Coach of the Playoffs".

And with regard to Phil, I am so frickin tired of every fantasy poster pointing out his supposed mistakes. Give it a rest. You guys are checker players criticizing a chess grandmaster. Phil thinks, and plays this game at a totally different level than anybody else. The proof? Ten rings...and a series win against a super young, super fast team that NOBODY thought we could out-quick and totally crush like we did in Game 5. And FYI, as for Phil's substitution patterns for Kobe, it's not just for a game, it's for a whole series and a whole playoff run. Phil, you're amazing...and I hope you return to continue coaching our Lakers.

This was an unusually good first round series for a 1-8 seed matchup. Why? Well, on average 1 seeds have 20 wins more than the 8 seed. In this case, the Lakers were only 7 wins better than OKC. So, as expected, it was a tougher than usual series. OKC is good, young team.


The home/road splits were really dramatic. On average the Lakers outscored the Thunder 97.7 to 86 at Staples. In Thunderdome that was reversed, the Thunder outscoring the Lakers 101.7 to 93.3 in OKC.


Overall, the teams teams didn’t shoot all that differently home vs. road. The Lakers shot 43.9% at Staples and a slightly better 44.5% at OKC. The Thunder shot 38.7% at Stapes and 39.4% in OKC. So that doesn’t explain the home/road disparity in scores at all.


While the Lakers were pretty statistically consistent home/road (as you would expect from a veteran team) the young Thunder had a three areas where they struggled at Staples:

1) The Thunder could not hit 3’s on the road – they made 33.9% at home but only 25.5% in LA.

2) The Thunder had only 7.7 turnovers per game in OKC, and 15 per game in LA.

3) They grabbed 48.3 rebounds per game in OKC and only 38.3 in LA.


But the most striking home/road split in the series goes to the referees. The Lakers shot an average of 18 free throws per game on the road, and 28.3 on the road. Oklahoma City shot 27 free throws per game in LA (almost the same as the Lakers in Staples) but a whopping 37.7 in OKC. The Thunder actually outscored the Lakers at the line at Staples 22-20. But in OKC the Thunder won the battle of the foul line 32-12. Which all by itself explains why it was so much tougher for the Lakers in OKC. There is no way the difference in foul calls is based on totally different play by the two teams in these games. No, it is just part of home court advantage in the NBA .


It's a gut wrenching game. I thought our team had the Thunders figured out late in the 3rd quarter but time and time again these young Thunders roar back and made the game out of it. Our Kraken came through last night with a solid 32 points!

Rick said it well...The game last night was so ugly, but it's beautiful that we won. I'm sincerely believe that OKC was a tougher match-up to our team than the Jazz would be in the next series. DFish would not have much problem with DWill even though he's a good PG, DWill doesn't possess the speed that Westbrook has. Artest won't be so tired chasing the 21 years old phenom, Kevin Durant, all over the floor and perhaps he could finally drop a few bombs from the outside.

Pau was a bit unfocused yesterday. He almost cost us the game with untimely turnovers at the end but he did redeem himself with a solid effort on the board and the final winning shot. LO and Farmar have yet to contribute consistently off the bench.

Luke the Puke made a surprise contribution on offense but as usual, his slow foot speed was a big liability on D yesterday.

MM - Your article is one of your best this season. I hope I'd get a chance to buy you a drink one of these days (Hopefully after we won the Championship)!

Go Lakers!

4 down 12 to go on the way to #16!
Gotta love it!

Kobe was sparkling in the 3rd quarter. As the facilitator, in this game he properly saw that the Thunder was focused on the low post, and he went with his best option the floor - #24.


Pau struggled offensively, but his huge 18 rebounds were a difference maker, especially #18.


Great to see the bench contribute, props especially to Shannon Brown, who bounced back from some rough performances with a gem. With Kobe in foul trouble, and maybe in pain, the bench did a great job of holding the fort in the late 3rd/early fourth quarter.


In a closeout game, the veterans need to pitch in. The Lakers got key shots in the fourth from Walton, Artest and Fisher. That's what those guys are there for, the crunch times. Fisher had a pretty good series on offense. Artest seems to be getting more aggressive and confident with the ball. And Luke in the fourth quarter played well at both ends for the first time .... maybe all year. As the playoffs progress these old heads will be key.

my response: It's the playoffs dear. This is perfectly natural for a Lakers fan.
Posted by: hobbitmage | May 01, 2010 at 06:47 AM

I am supposed to get used to it after so many of these but every year it's different. It's like falling in love for the first time all over again. No complaints!!!

Art - FL Lakers Fan,

"That last shot Kobe missed may have been a bit of good fortune. Had he made the shot there would have been just about 2 seconds left for OKC to set up a shot."

I was thinking the same thing. Had Kobe made that, it would give the Thunder more time to create a play. Having Durant would certainly help them had that went in. You are right, Kobe and Pau must've practiced that play!LOL


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

During the chat I said it wasn't gonna be a pretty game, and I wasn't just talkin' about Collison. Boy was I right on that one!

I'm hoping that Denver took more out of Utah than OKC took out of us just to make Sunday a bit easier. Utah is going to be a fun series to watch either way. Hopefully the Refs call it like a playoff and not a December game.

JR

"Should I really be engaging in serious basketball conversation with someone who uses this line of thought as a legitimate point of view?"

no mike t... your reputation PRECEDES you... therefore you are hereby exempted from engaging in any serious bball conversation against another blog member that doesnt share your views.

oh yeah i forgot.. i've heard plenty of kwame stories too.. how dare i enter the hallowed grounds of a great basketball mind who once had a thing for kwames calves?

but seriously i'm a bit shocked.. that you would so quickly dismiss any idea that sterns dirty fingerprints are all over these games.. REALLY? what is your stance on the officiation? do you have one? just curious...


GOOD MORNING WEEK-END CRUE!!!


I'm still smiling like an idiot. That was a sweet playoff victory!!


Can't believe we have to go again tomorrow - no rest for the best, I guess...

MM - great write-up. You always manage to outdo yourself.

Well - I Tivo'd the game so I'm gonna watch it again - just to get the heart pumping for the day LOL! Who needs a gym membership???

GO LAKERS!!

Nothing but another title will suffice - Kobe Bryant

Duuh.. Officiating not officiation

In that photo, there were actually two fouls being committed on Pau. Ibaka's foul on the arm is quite clear. In the photo in the LA Times Ssprts page, taken from another angle, Collison could also seen shoving Pau in the back.

Clearly, an -and 1 situation, as the other bloggers have already noted.

Jeanette,

Does it really feel like the first time? :)

Everyone,

When is the last time someone held the scoring champion to such a low %
during the playoffs?

Artest doing his thing. Going back to one of the photo caption contests ...

The one with Bynum's wingspan on display and Artest's hands on the ball.

Someone with photoshop skill could substitute the ball with the NBA trophy.
You could even switch the OKC players' head with Ariza.

The caption: The trophy is mine!

For what it's worth, I am rooting for the Celtics today.

I would love to see LeBron win two MVP's back to back and not make it to the
finals back to back. It would make him Nash-like. Nash 2.0. The next
Steve Nash. etc. etc. etc.

Bruised elbow for Deron, says he'll be okay.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700028880/Utah-Jazz-Deron-Williams-
injures-elbow-in-closing-seconds.html

Pau redeemed himself with that put back after a so-so night. I'm sure like me most of you were cursing Pau all night long. A shout out for the bench Shannon, Jordan, Josh and even Luke for their contribution. Lakers are finally waking up! By the way hate how Plaschke can make something positive into something negative... should have not read his column.

Does anyone remember when the media was talking about how Kobe was
washed up? Old? Debilitated by injuries?

KD's response: Y'all are killing me! He's Kobe Bryant. He's the best in the
world.

Fast forward to the 3rd qtr in game 6 - The Lakers held firm, thanks largely to their defense throughout and a third-quarter performance during which Kobe Bryant looked as good as he has in weeks.

Bryant hit 6 of 8 shots – 3 of 3 on 3-pointers over the longer Kevin Durant – in a 16-point burst that allowed the Lakers to maintain the slightest of edges.


hobbitmage says: you go you old savvy dog!

hobbitmage,

"For what it's worth, I am rooting for the Celtics today."

Dude, don't EVER do that. EVER! There are very negative karmic consequences for rooting for the Celtics. It's an awful thing.

This is one of those rare circumstances where you root against BOTH teams. Sure, someone has to win (do they?), but take zero joy out of that.

This contest should be like watching a death match between a serial killer and a child molestor. All we can hope is that whoever leaves the Thunderdome does so scarred and twisted beyond all recognition.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Carmelo Anthony plays for the money.

Kobe plays for the ring.

The road to the Finals is paved in PUrple and GOld.

GO Lakers!

Sorry Justa, didn't win so back to commoner's life in the blog. Funny, read the sparring between Mike T and Yellofever haha, yello got the bait from the basketball mind, it is just a start.

Wow, what a close game for an 8th seed team. Before if you're an 8th seed team, you're on vacation and it was only during the time of businessman Stern introduced the 1st round in the 80's. Kareem takes this seed for granted however because of more games, players are banged up when they reached the Finals.

Why is an 8th seed team competitive with the 1st? Because the Lakers are only 75% effective and 60% efficient on FT's, they are injured while Thunder are young, excitable and backed up by a hungry crowd so the competition became close. If the Lakers especially Kobe are in healthy, I think this game could have ended in 5. Let's give the Thunder the credit for competing with the Champs and they're also good, sportsmanship bunch to acknowledge the defeat despite the closeness of the game.

We won but there are still a lot of things to be desired: 1) FT shooting 2) Defense and offense from Odom 3) Offense from Artest 4) Consistency from Bynum, tho' excused because he got injured 5) More communications from those TO's from Kobe to Pau; Bynum 3 seconds and Shannon's indecisiveness.

The challenge never ends in the playoffs, players should continue improving under they reach their individual best in the end. Someone has to pick up the deficiency of a teammate and continue the battle.

To All Naysayers:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-kobedurant050110

snippet1: One of these days, the Western Conference will belong to the young star, and rest assured the suggestions that Durant threatens to pass him sooner than later haven’t gone unnoticed by Bryant. For the first time in his career, some are doubting Bryant can still be considered a transcendent star in the sport.

snippet2: “More than last year or the year before, this means something because now they’re trying to force me out,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports late Friday on his walk to the bus.

He let the words sit there for a moment.

They’re trying to force me out.

“And I’m not going anywhere.”

snippet3: Yes, Bryant needed Durant as a prop in this series, a reminder that as gifted and devastating his talent, Durant isn’t pushing Bryant to the curb. Bryant’s forever listened to the public debates on his selfishness and leadership and character. Yet for Bryant, who’s playing through three significant injuries – an ankle, knee and broken finger – here has risen a debate that he has a more difficult time processing. You’re questioning his stature as a superstar, as a transcendent talent? Well yes, this is different. This is uncharted for him.

“I’ve been around for so long, you’d figure that they would understand my competiveness comes when I’m trying to figure out a way,” Bryant said. “If I can’t walk, I’m going to figure out a way to be effective to help us win. That’s part of the challenge. And I guess if there’s no challenge, there’s nothing left for me. I might as well go home.”

Behind those sunglasses Bryant plopped onto the bridge of his nose, his eyes glistened again and he insisted, “History always seems to be repeating itself. People never learn.”

[ Wesley Snipes said it better: "Some mofo are always trying to skate uphill." ]

snippet4: As Durant missed shot after shot, Bryant delivered 16 stirring points in the third quarter. He hit shots everywhere, in every contorted way. Again, the Thunder moved Durant over to defend him. In Game 4, it had bothered Bryant. He had a terrible shooting fourth quarter in Game 5 at the Staples Center.

Only this time, Bryant hit a 3-pointer on Durant. And another. When Durant and Westbrook made a bid to push this series to a seventh game on Sunday, Bryant buried a ridiculous baseline shot with a little over two minutes left to pull the Lakers within 94-93.

snippet5: Across Games 4 and 5, the Thunder held Bryant to a total of 25 points, but everything changed when it mattered on Friday night.


snippet6: “Kobe made Kobe-like shots,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said with a sigh.

“He has the heart of a lion.”

Bryant doesn’t have all his speed and lift, but he can still summon his guile and ingenuity. The idea that it’s all gone is sheer foolery. It’s just that he’s never been so wrought with injury, so physically diminished. That isn’t decline.

Last snippet: Yes, Kobe Bryant remembers the way he would go after Michael Jordan as a young star, and there was Kevin Durant coming for him in this series. Only, it wasn’t just the kid – but a dubious mob proclaiming Bryant was on a steep decline, that his days of dominance were done. All of that gets transformed into fuel for ferocity, into the most willful basketball star since Jordan taking on the long, sleek kid out of Oklahoma City and all those people he insisted are forcing him off basketball’s Rushmore and out of the company of LeBron and Dwyane Wade(notes).

To get there, you still go through Kobe Bryant. Durant tried and failed. He’ll be back. Somewhere, LeBron James waits in the distance, and the deeds and words of Kobe Bean Bryant were unmistakable on Friday night.

He isn’t going anywhere.

hobbitmage says: The list of superstars that Kobe has stepped on -

KG
AI
J-Kidd
T-Duncan
Dirk
D-Will
CP3
Melo
D Howard
K Durant

This victory helped me to forgive my wife, God bless her. Asked to bring home a sixer for the game and I find coronitas ! ! For a playoff game? Anyway, we're one big happy round two family now. Best wishes to the Thunder, their future looks very bright.

The Lakers seemed chipy towards each other during game six. Hope this W puts them all in better spirits. Come on Utah. Yawn.

GO LAKERS ! ! ! ! !


Lakers / Thunder was the toughest 1st round matchup.

Celtics / Cleveland just stepped into that spotlight.

The Celtics are deeply loathed and despised, Cleveland doesn't inspire enough to be much more than disliked.

But it's all about the Lakers and taking the Green out in the Finals would be poetic. So a new cheer

LOOOOOOOZe Cleeeeeeveland.


Considering the importance of this game, one of the best bench performances of the year.

Bill Plaschke is a laker fan again....typical fairweather writer who knows everything but play basketball. I wish he wear a uniform with a banged up finger and see if he can last five minutes at El Segundo. he said "Man alive. Enough already. The Lakers didn't win this series, they escaped it. They didn't beat an eight seeded contender, they beat a heavyweight contender."

Big words....what does he know about heavyweight contender in basketball. Supposing Thunder eliminated the Lakers in the 1st round, can they win the WCF with that line up of no legitimate Centers except PF size in Collison and Krystic who are not tall enough to man the post. Who are considered heavyweights in NBA this year? Cavs, Celts, Magic, Lakers and Spurs. Nuggets are supposed to be there too but got eliminated. Bill Plaschke, why don't you just concentrate on mayweather and mosley? You and TJ Simers are just embarrassing to LAT sports section. Jack Murray cringed on his grave for considering gossipers and kibitzers as opinionated sportswriters.

Good win last night. I watched, but had it on mute. Didn't won't to hear the talking heads, or the excited OKC crowd.

Lakers are champions, no matter what it takes for them to get there. Champions persevere even if they are criticized, lose games, disrespected, and even beat up on the court.

Their stats may not be that great so far in the playoffs, but when it is all said and done, champions make the important plays that win games when it counts, such as Kobe, and Pau. So that's when I turned off the mute button and ran around my hotel room like the lady that I am.

Jon K,

Agree, never root for the Celts. I don't want them to even get a chance for another finals win. We're trying to catch their 17 finals wins.

hobbitmage says: The list of superstars that Kobe has stepped on -

KG
AI
J-Kidd
T-Duncan
Dirk
D-Will
CP3
Melo
D Howard
K Durant

Posted by: hobbitmage | May 01, 2010 at 08:47 AM
================

Good list hobbitmage, now don't you want to add LBJ to that list?
Wouldnn't that be just awesome for Kobe to take out the 2 biggest rising stars in the NBA in the same year?
First KD, then LBJ.
And also, Shaq!!

Of course against the Celts we get home court and there is no way they beat us.
The Cavs get HCA against us so will be a tougher road to go down, but I would so love to see LBJ and Shaq go down in flames against the Lakers.

hobbitmage,

"For what it's worth, I am rooting for the Celtics today."

As Jon K. put it, you NEVER ROOT FOR THE KELTICS!!! PERIOD!!!!

What you do is ROOT FOR BOTH THE CAVS AND THE KELTICS TO BEAT EACH OTHER UP REALLLLL GOOD!!!!! We want a Knock Down, Drag Out Cavs/Keltics Series that Hopefully Goes 7...

Same for the Magic and Definitely the Same for Suns/Spurs...

Let them all wear each other down and bang each other up. Except for the Lakers, of course.

Go Lakers!!!!!

JimJoyce,

The second player to congratulate Pau is Kobe. It's right after the chest
bump with D-Fish. You can also see Kobe & Pau
sharing a look in the huddle with .5 left on the clock.

Don't HATE! Tell the truth. You love LBJ don't you?

Art -FL Lakers Fan,

Yes, it would be nice to add LBJ to the list. On the other hand, it's best if
LBJ never makes it to the finals. I want him as Nash 2.0.

>>> A shout out for the bench Shannon, Jordan, Josh and even Luke for their
>>>contribution.

+1 for that. Those guys don't have to OWN the opposition, but they have to play well enough to keep the Lakers in the game, and they have done that.


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