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Lakers bring playoff intensity in 87-79 Game 1 victory over Oklahoma City but lack consistent execution

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All week long, the Lakers shifted their mindset toward holding a playoff mentality.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson held longer and more physically demanding practices, and arrived at Staples Center on Sunday wearing his 2009 championship ring, a custom he follows during the postseason that involves wearing the ring of the last championship he's won. Lakers guard Derek Fisher held a team meeting Thursday evening and stressed for the team to stay unified during the team's playoff run. The team went out to dinner Friday night to lighten the mood, with Lakers forward Pau Gasol collecting the tab just like he did prior to last season's playoffs. And Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Lakers center Andrew Bynum practiced for the first time this week after Bryant missed four of the last five games and Bynum sat out the past 13 games to ensure better health for the playoffs.

With the anticipation rising and the team's mindset changing, Lakers forward Lamar Odom tossed and turned throughout the wee hours Sunday morning. He went to bed as early as 11 p.m. the previous night, but visions of the Lakers' playoff run kept dancing in his head, so much that he woke up at 6 a.m. before eventually getting up at 7:30 a.m. Odom laid on his bed envisioning great things, even if the Lakers entered the postseason losing eight of their last 12 games and maintained they couldn't suddenly turn on that playoff switch. 

The electric Staples Center crowd and the message displayed during player introductions seemed to confirm what Odom had earlier envisioned. While Lawrence Tanter ticked off the starting lineup, a message across the Lakers' highlight reel read this. "Our time to inspire. Our time for strength, for trust, for sacrifice. To make history it's time to defend."

Said Odom: "We've been ready for today's game since October."

The Lakers' 87-79 Game 1 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder  in their first-round matchup initially appeared the team answered that question on whether they are on their way to reaching that goal in winning the franchise's 16th NBA championship. The team's experience and sharper effort proved to be the difference in the first quarter against an inexperienced Thunder team that initially played tentative and tight. The Lakers ended the first-quarter with a 22-13 lead that featured the elements that make the Lakers so dangerous with balance and strong communication on defense. The Lakers' play quickly changed, however, with the Thunder creeping to within single digits multiple times throughout the game, a lead that didn't become completely secure until the bench reserves kept the lead intact in the early fourth quarter.

The Lakers' outcome never really appeared in question and they never lost their lead, but the performance raised questions on how consistently the Lakers can maintain their level of play.

"We eked the game out," Jackson said.

The Lakers' effort never seemed to be in question.  Instead, the Lakers' performance featured a mixed bag in various departments that made it difficult to decipher really what to make of the game beyond the fact the Lakers own a 1-0 lead. It at least provided comfort for the fans that Jackson has a 44-0 mark when his teams win Game 1 of a playoff series. 

"We could’ve definitely played a lot better," Bryant said. "At this stage, you really just have to win games. It doesn’t matter how we win them. We obviously have to do much better and we will do better. But still it’s better to squeak one out."

Below are the highlights of the good and the bad (after the jump)

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Bryant's poor shooting

Bryant appeared two hours to the game to work on his shooting, a custom he had frequently followed this season whenever he went through a shooting slump. He believed more repetition and continuous tinkering with the splint on his fractured right index finger could provide the necessary ingredient to end the funk.

The circumstances this time were much different. Though he had shot 21 of 70 in the last three games he played, he had sat out the last two contests of the regular season to rest the assorted amount of injuries, including his fractured right index finger, sprained left ankle and sore right knee. But Bryant soon found out the practice wouldn't pay off, scoring a team-high 21 points on six of 19 shooting and a seven of 12 effort from the free-throw line.

"I think it’s a rhythm problem," Jackson said. "I think it's a lack of playing in the last month or so. I think it'll come through."

Bryant pointed to his fractured index finger worsening and arguing that it has given him "less margin for error." But there was another factor that pointed to the poor shooting numbers. Bryant tried directing the offense and hit the open man, but Ron Artest (seven points on three of 11 shooting) and Derek Fisher (11 points on four of 12 shooting) didn't make shots. That often propelled him to create his own shot with varying degrees of success.

"He made plays," Jackson said. "I like the fact that he made plays. He made things happen."

Ron Artest's defense on Kevin Durant

This matchup seemed the most intriguing entering the series for several reasons. Jackson had suggested earlier in the week that Durant, the league's leader in points (30.1) and free-throw attempts per game (10.2), benefitted from officiating calls. It also served as an opportunity for Artest to justify why the Lakers signed him to a five-year deal worth $33 million.

Artest held Durant to 24 points on seven of 24 shooting, a performance that isn't typical but one that allowed him to showcase his worth on a big stage. In fact, Artest has provided plenty of these performances. After battling inconsistency partly because of his plantar fasciitis, Artest has held several marquee players under their season averages this season, including Pacers forward Danny Granger, Denver's Carmelo Anthony, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, Dallas' Shawn Marion, Memphis' Rudy Gay, Boston's Paul Pierce and Golden State's Corey Maggette. And in the Lakers' 3-1 season series against Oklahoma City, Artest held Durant to an average of 25.8 points per contest, his fourth-lowest total against any opponent.

"If somebody else did that, they’d be happy," Artest said. "But I've been guarding the best player my whole career."

The performance didn't come without its challenges with Artest collecting five personal fouls. But the defensive intensity extended to the rest of the team, where it maintained strong discipline during half-court sets in switching on help D and constantly communicating with each other.

"If you don’t notice what Ron does on the court, you don’t know basketball," Odom said. "We’ve seen him at Houston [last year]. They took us to seven games."

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Andrew Bynum's strong return

There were plenty of signs that suggested Bynum could successfully phase back into the lineup. He reported no pain during the past two days of practice and he believed he had the endurance level to withstand his own once he stepped on the court. Yet, even with Jackson expressing encouragement immediately after those practices, he only hoped Bynum could last 24 minutes against the Thunder. He lasted much longer than that, playing 30 minutes, posting 13 points and even getting in a tussle with Jeff Green, an incident Jackson said was justified and an incident Bryant claimed not to remember.

"Conditioning for me, especially in the first quarter, was tough just coming back," Bynum said. "But I think it's going to get better."

Catching up to speed after a major injury had long been a challenge for Bynum. But not this time, with Bryant concluding Bynum's quick adjustment was rooted in the fact that he wasn't "second guessing," and allowing the psychological component that comes with having an injury affect his play. The Lakers certainly understand the value of that. Bynum and Lakers forward Pau Gasol scored on average 62% of the team's points in the three games leading up to Bynum's injury. The Lakers are also 39-12 whenever Gasol and Bynum are both in the lineup, with the two combining Sunday for 22 points on 13 of 24 shooting.

"He wasn’t compensating," Bryant said. "He was running and he was running well. He wasn’t favoring one side or the other. He was sprinting and jumping. He wasn’t thinking about it or second guessing exploding to the basket and what might happen. He was just playing."

Lakers' poor transition defense

The Lakers long knew the Thunder's speed and youth could prove wonders in the open court. But the Lakers did very little to counteract that speed with Russell Westbrook burning the Lakers' D, particularly Derek Fisher, with 23 points and the Thunder scoring 14 points in transition. Bryant admitted a few lapses, Gasol also acknowledged a few mistakes, such as when Jackson berated him in the second quarter for not getting back while protesting with the referees and the Lakers failed to mark on rotations.

"Have a little bit of a cushion," Bryant offered as a solution when I asked him how the team can limit the Thunder's transition opportunities moving forward. "They’re really fast. They all run like deers. To get a step on us, I’m not catching Westbrook. You have to have a couple steps on them."

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant shields the ball from the reach of Lakers forward Ron Artest during a drive in Sunday's game. Credit: Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant throws down a dunk against Oklahoma City in the first half Sunday. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum throws down a dunk over Thunder center Nenad Krstic during Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series on Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (47)

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Be the GM of the team. Sign up for UTL’s Sim League today. http://utlsports.com/showthread.php?t=460 Teams go on a first come, first serve basis.

This game was more about heart and our team's offensive discipline than anything the Thunder can throw at us. They're young, explosive and will be a very tough first round opponent, but if we play our best game against them, I have a hard time seeing how this Thunder squad can win any games at Staples and I wager we'll win one in OKC.


Bynum looked great. Nice reactions, good defensive presence (it really does make the game easier when you can funnel Westbrook to him as oppossed to, say, Josh Powell) and he rebounded well. Awesome.


Kobe got tapped a few times on his shots inside of 10 feet and I think those will go down as he gets himself back up to game speed. His free throws are somewhat of a concern. They have really gotten bad. This a crazy suggestion and I know he won't do it, but he might have better luck shooting it granny style. He can use 6 fingers to shoot and not use either index giving him better balance as opposed to trying to shoot it 3-fingered.


Nice job by the bench, everyone played within the system and din't freelance with the rock.


T minus 15 and counting...

fisher. +10. highest on the team.

Posted by: qs | April 18, 2010 at 02:45 PM
---------------------------------

+/- stat is not always the best relative effectiveness measure.

Assuming you have eyes, did Fisher look like the difference maker more than Andrew Bynum?

Another stat related to Fisher's contribution today

Westbrook 23 pts, 10-16, 8 assts 4 rbs 2 stls

Posted by: Todd | April 18, 2010 at 03:52 PM

---------------------------------

the comment i made, was a statement of fact, and not as an argument.
nothing to argue as everyone knows the counter arguments to what +- is.
but so we can see who has better eyesight, can you please try this simple exercise?

1. check this link > http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore?gid=2010041813
2. look at the +- stat next to derek fisher. it should state +10.
3. look further and see the description for +-. it says, "Team net points while player is in game."

if you see the same as i did, and probably many others, then you're good.
otherwise, i suggest you see a doctor. ill leave it up to you if it's an optometrist or neurologist.

that was a complete walkover victory. OKC never stood a chance. we'll see if the rest of the series goes that same way, but as of today, the Thunder don't have a chance.

Not very pretty, but there was a lot to like. First, the team energy, regardless of what rotations were in there. These were the real Lakers, the playoff Lakers. And it also led to pretty decent team defense too (with the notable exception of the end of the first half and Westbrook's layup drills).

Laker Tom, the drinks are on me. Bynum earned his stripes today. In fact, he completely changed the entire dynamic of the game with his athletic, aggressive, early play. He was indeed a beast today. If he can keep this up, the Lakers' chance for another title go way up.

Artest...THIS is exactly why the Lakers signed him. He was on or inside Durant's jockstrap all game long. Durant never got into any rhythm and actually shot WORSE than...(paging DFish, paging resident troll DFish)...Fisher. Fisher, by the way, played a pretty decent game. He hit some very timely threes, and he scrapped aggressively on defense, despite having that one stretch where Westbrook (gawd, I wish we had that guy) basically traffic coned him. Shannon did a really good job on Westbrook, the few times he got in to give Fisher a break.

The biggest question mark, and it's a huge one, is Kobe. He must be hurt a lot worse than he's letting on, because he seemed very tentative the whole game long, passing up shots, and missing way more free throws than a healthy Kobe would ever miss. This by far is the only hope our resident trolls have. Their taunts today are half-hearted, weak, almost embarrassed to look for cheesy stats to mask their disappointment that our mighty Lakers won.

Yo,, DFish, how'd you miss the following stat: Fisher, 4-12, and 3-6 threes; Durant, 7-24, and 1-8 threes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ergo, Fisher outshoots NBA scoring champ! Bummer, dude.

MM,

I think you missed one of the big stories here. That is, when Kobe went out in the beginning of the fourth, the second unit was able to maintain the lead. What of the inspired play of Farmar? How about LO hitting some clutch shots? What of UPS?

For my money, with Kobe, Artest, and Fish not shooting so well, we have two options. One is that we start Adam Morrison. The second is that the second unit plays fairly well. Since Jackson has been totally pig-headed about considering starting Ammo, our second unit is key.

So I offer that as one more highlight of the game to celebrate.

GOOOOoooOOOOO LAKERS !!!

It's a great win for us. As I stated in during the live chat (Before my internet feed got seriously lagged) that today's game is a statement game for the Lakers since they're limping into the playoff with the 3-6 records in the last 9 games.

Kobe is not himself and I don't expect much better from him this season. His fingers are banged up and there is no way he will get much better. It's time for Pau and AB to step up and carry this team to the promise land. LO, where art thou? Luke the Puke, please wake up and join this team please. We need you!

Speedy recovery to DJ who need an emergency surgery to repair his detached retina he got during the practice yesterday..

MM, thanks for being there for us. Great post as usual. You still owe us some icecream..lol!

Go Lakers!

the comment i made, was a statement of fact, and not as an argument.
nothing to argue as everyone knows the counter arguments to what +- is.
but so we can see who has better eyesight, can you please try this simple exercise?

1. check this link > http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore?gid=2010041813
2. look at the +- stat next to derek fisher. it should state +10.
3. look further and see the description for +-. it says, "Team net points while player is in game."

if you see the same as i did, and probably many others, then you're good.
otherwise, i suggest you see a doctor. ill leave it up to you if it's an optometrist or neurologist.

Posted by: qs | April 18, 2010 at 06:57 PM
------------------------------

Are you saying because Fisher was +10 had more impact than Bynum?

Yes, Fisher was +10 ..... so what.

Did Fisher have more impact than Bynum who was +9?

No, he didn't.

Your post about Fisher having highest +/- was irrelevant.

OH NO! no consistent execution? But they did have a sense of urgency, right? Please, please tell me they had a sense of urgency.

FCM-my snark aside, that was a great, nay epic, game summary. Great details, great writing, great stuff overall. Unfortunate title, but hey, it gave me something to criticize, which is good, as you should not get complacent any time soon. You have a ways to go, grasshopper.

Ok, let’s not get carried away with the religious stuff here. Jon K- I’m sure Utz would appreciate the love, but phred would like everybody to remember that the love is not restricted to members of a particular religion of any kind. The love is only restricted to human beings who, well, who well, everybody, really.

Edwin- I remember the Sonics, and I have much love for their forgotten fans, whose patience earned them nothing, but earned the OKC ‘Thunder’ many high draft picks. Thanks for the comment.

“’…fisher. +10. highest on the team.
Posted by: qs | April 18, 2010 at 02:45 PM’
---------------------------------
+/- stat is not always the best relative effectiveness measure.
Assuming you have eyes, did Fisher look like the difference maker more than Andrew Bynum?
Another stat related to Fisher's contribution today
Westbrook 23 pts, 10-16, 8 assts 4 rbs 2 stls
Posted by: Todd | April 18, 2010 at 03:52 PM”

Huh. Cross Todd off the list of ‘people who can ever cite +/- to support their feeble butt excuse for logic ever again’

qs- [high five]

As if that would stop him. Logic never has before, why should it start now?

Rick- come on, man. Is it about the love? You just got cited by well, FCM won’t let me describe him anymore. get yourself some fresh cornflakes, and remember, this is the Lakers, and

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

NO REALLY. THE LOVE IS GETTING TIRED OF BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED.

THE LOVE WANTS YOU TO TAKE TO YOUR KNEES AND KNEEL!

KNEEL! KNEEL BEFORE THE LOVE, KAL EL! AND UM, ALL THE REST OF Y'ALL

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

GO LAKERS!


My final comment- FCM- man, I want to (&*(# slap some trolls right now.

‘Hey, the Lakers won? Well, I’m still a (*&*( @#$, so I can keep on *(&*(ing about it. What will get me to shut up?'

Man, don’t I wish I knew.

"1 down, 15 to go." That's still going to be a tall order, if Game 1 is any indication. Checking bits and pieces of all the games in the Eastern and Western conferences this weekend, the Lakers don't stand out as the team to beat. Eeking out a win over the 8th seed at home is hardly a confidence builder. But let's wait til Game 2, when both teams make their adjustments.

The Good:
1. A strong return by AB17.
2. An impressive defensive stand by Ron Artest.
3. Solid stats from Pau Gasol.

The Bad:
1. Lamar Odom's 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist in 26 minutes on the floor.
2. Luke Walton's 5 minutes for Ron Artest.

The Worrisome:
1 - 5. Kobe. Kobe is still a wounded warrior. He just doesn't look healthy enough to carry the team throughout the playoffs.

The Wildcards:
1. Fish
2. Farmar
3. UPS
We simply don't know what to expect or what we can count on from game to game.

Conventional wisdom has the Lakers emerging to the next round. Who am I to disagree? The rest of the West will be a test. But the East is a beast.

Garry Vitti might consider renting a hyperbaric chamber to accelerate Kobe's healing process. Without a healthy Kobe, the Lakers will be challenged in ways the defending Champions don't even want to contemplate. Neither do I.

edwin- calm down, that was from 'Superman II'

phred - come on man, you're calling me a grasshopper? anyway what did you have wrong with the headline. i was just pointing out the ups and downs in the game. kobe's quote about how wins are wins in playoff games is so valid, just kind of pointing out some of the lapses because OKC will likely make adjustments, and lakers should do the same.

anyway, i wanted to test this format out. it's still a works in progress. but do you guys like this model outlined with kind of a big picture intro and then broken up in sub categories, or do you guys like it better the way it was?

MM

Thank you Lakers for winning on a Sunday. It used to be never on a Sunday on national TV w/ Jeff Van Gandhi making prognostications about the Lakers chances but through hops and limps, we made it. As they go forward to the playoff season, those injuries could heal or at least get adjusted. The fans of Seattle Supersonics were also delighted by the results. Essentially, this is their team taken from them by corporate raiders.

I absolutely agree with Johnny P, in absence of the machine and Kobe still under the weather, Lakers are in dire need of gunner at the perimeter to decongest the post. Morrison may be slow but he's tall enough, let's try him for screen and pop even only for 5 minutes with the best players not the purely 2nd unit. Secondly, I think Shannon and Farmar are not good combination, both have the same style waiting for openings to pass or shooting at the waning seconds, no movement or attack to the hoop. Look at the Spurs PG like Parker and Ginobli, they go inside first before passing it back to outside shooter, same with the Celtics offense, Rondo becomes the decoy with the target to Garnett inside or to Pierce outside. I hope PJ will play Morrison and devise a strategy for him during the practice.

With regards to Farmar & Brown as 2nd unit, Fisher cannot handle Westbrook, it should be handed to Brown instead. Fisher and Odom plus Bynum should join the 2nd unit while Brown, Gasol, Artest, Kobe and Bynum should play the majority of the minutes. To close the game, I believe we go for our tall players Gasol, Odom, Bynum while the backcourt is handled by Odom and Kobe. Lakers should zero in their advantage and close the game, don't let those small guards like Westbrook penetrate the inside with ease.

Lastly, I also agree with Wallace, where is Luke today? Those field goals were so anemic as if this is his first playoffs. As the game progresses, we need the contribution of Luke.

Phred, my advice to you my friend please don't try to be personal with bloggers. Try to center your attention on the Lakers. We are fans like you and nobody's here is part of the organization. Whatever we say, it is just an an opinion about the team. In your case, you have an opinion on posters that you don't know which is "us". You are treating the blog as another game that you have in mind and we are your toys. C'mon guy, just join the blog and refrain from making comments on posters.

Eric Wrong now picking on Morrison? LOL.
How sad!!!! Be more creative. That's like picking on Dallas' Dampier .LOL . It doesnt matter !!!
We are celebrating and you're not. Your comments are irrelevant.
But you can still post as much as you want. It's nice to laugh at people like you. It's like fat people falling. Makes me laugh.

Phred,

>>> Rick- come on, man. Is it about the love? You just got cited by well, FCM won’t let me describe him anymore. get yourself some fresh cornflakes, and remember, this is the Lakers

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

You must have a lot of time in your hands recently, Simers...oops I mean Eric Wrong.

Rick F - eeking out a win against an 8th seed? and who looked like the "team to beat" after first weekend of playoff games? cavs? uh no - they "eeked" out a win against a less formidable 8th seed. dallas? no - i'm not worried about this team in the least, they will implode (as usual) when it gets down to crunch time. orlando? all they did was shoot 3's prett decent today - but who couldn't when noone is within 5 feet of the shooter. phoenix? portland? not. not. i'd say the Lakes looked very solid for getting Bynum back for 1st time in a month, and first game back for Kobe in a bit.

Absolutely cross me off the list of those using +/- as a basis for making a basketball statement.

FCM- well, the headline was a bit clichéd and telegraphed. I know you won’t like to hear it, but you have a journalistic dog in the hunt, as it were, you know what angle you are going to take. Lakers not doing so well? Well, it’s their lack of urgency or maybe their inconsistency. To be honest, I have a dog in the hunt as well. My dog is called ‘well, maybe the other team did something right.’ I don’t think we need to fight our dogs, but I know which one I will put money on.

Rick- I feel I might be giving you short shrift. What, exactly, do you think is going to happen? Show your work.

[added in response] yeah, but the president only pardons a turkey on thanksgiving, does that mean it’s a safe time of year for the turkey? (heh, nah, that’s me with my clever sayings. It’s a Tommy Boy expression, sort of)

Edwin- I think Luke was ok in his limited minutes. I am not sure what you expect from Adam Morrison, but I suspect that Farmar has better %s, and could play any ‘no defense required’ minutes that are there. But in the interest of furthering the debate, as you have put forward the hypothesis that Shannon can guard westbrook better than fish, can you describe what experimental result would lead you to abandon this hypothesis? What do you expect Shannon to do that fish can’t, and what happens on offense?

Yeah, basketball is a difficult sport about which to predict in a research methods sort of way, but you can write, so what do you think?


Here is Eric Wrong posting on other boards:
Dallas Mavericks:
Matt Carroll made a difference as well.

Orlando Magic:
Anthony Johnson made a difference as well.

Cleveland Cavaliers:
Hickson made a difference as well.

Atlanta Hawks:
Jason Collins made a difference as well.

Boston Celtics:
Marquis Daniels made a difference as well.

Denver Nuggets:
Anthony Carter made a difference as well.

Do you think anybody cares?????
We won and you lose !

Mr. Wrong !!!!

mti312- hey, that's not fair. Simers has to have at least a couple people who care about what he thinks.

\

Aloha Todd,

It's funny that you discount Fishers + 10 calling it irrelevant and try to make your point by posting Westbrook's box score? When did box score become completely accurate? Westbrook scored 3 points while Fish was on the bench. He scored another 2 on free throws with Kobe covering him. He scored another 6 point on fast breaks against other players who were back. Thats 12 points against Fisher in 37 minutes. As far as his assists, he got his season average of 8. very good but it's what he does against every other team in the league. Bottom line Fisher played decent defense. I also think Fisher has had a terrible year but when he he plays decent defense it makes you as the poster look somewhat clueless when it comes to watching what is actually going on in a game.

MH

Edwin- sorry, my previous comment went through before I read your latest- Yup, believe it or not, I agree with that. Yeah, I do. Among other reasons, that’s why I go out of my way to say that IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE. Yeah, I am quite serious about that. The thing is, well, I know that the nature of internet communication tends to reduce people to nothing more than their latest opinion. I don’t go for that. We exist as individuals separate from the reactions other people have to our opinions, and we will remain so. I believe that it is necessary for us to establish that we respect people as individuals, and then, in the interest of having an interesting conversation, go on to tear their opinions a new one. Dig?

Mark Medina,

Very nice write up.

Actually, I was going to write up my summary of the key points to the game, you hit them all.

Nice job. Well written.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

All being said, one point:
It was pathetic to watch Bynum when he misses, being right at the hoop during the regular season.
Today, instead of missing those shots, HE DUNKED!!!!!!
I guess somebody told him: "Dude, if you'll miss those easy shots, inches from the hoop, it's better to DUNK the mf ball". And it worked! I loved to see the mf dunk the ball how it should be. That solved most of Bynum problems.
So plz, DUNK IT MORE DREW!
Shannon good, Jordan ok, Kobe is getting there and heading to game #2.

Cheers

We have three trolls claiming to be fans screaming after we just won a playoff game and Phil Jackson is 44-0 when winning the first game of a playoff series.

There should be nothing but optimism right now anything else is just plain weird.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Mark Medina,

"do you guys like this model outlined with kind of a big picture intro and then broken up in sub categories, or do you guys like it better the way it was?"

No, it's good. I like it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

PurpleHeart,

"eeking out a win against an 8th seed?"

Eeeking out a win against a 50 win 8th seed, not a team with a losing record like the Bulls.

The Thunder are a good team.

This was a good win. We controlled the game from tip-off.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Bynum was the great difference in today's game, there is no answer for his offense and defense in the post. Krystic and Collison are really #4. I don't think the Thunder coach has any plans of hurting Bynum's foot by stepping on his Achilles heel. They're a contented bunch to be in the playoffs and playing against the Lakers. Artest's contribution was also huge, he is our Hoover Dam that tamed the Colorado river which is K. Durant. If Kobe is healthy, he could sub Artest in dealing with Durant.

However, after watching the players fall one after another in the 2nd half of the season, we are all at the edge of our seat sitting on TNT, anytime an injury could happen that will determine the fate of the repeat. Those feet and hands are so frail, we should always pray every game that they will be protected till June.

With regards to future competition, let's do one experiment at a time. Future match ups will need another set of strategy from the miraculous Zen Coach.


So, you guys think we can beat the thunder now?

Michael h- [high five]
Yeah, I’m doing the high five a lot lately. Still trying to work out my josh powell tribute song.

Edwin- yeah, and it's still a quote from 'superman II'

Earth to Michal H,

Defense counts. Westbrook did make Fisher look like a traffic cone.
Westbrook was Fisher's responsibility. Jeff Van Gundy made a first half comment "Phil replaced Farmar with Fisher as soon as Westbrook re-entered the game" .

Fisher's porous defense and offensive inefficiency, blowing chippies, clanking jumpers, and 1 measly assist , his game today was FAIR or D.

35 minutes 4-12, 1 assist, 2 to, 2 rebs and no defense ....

If this is your Bottom line ...
------------------------
Bottom line Fisher played decent defense. I also think Fisher has had a terrible year but when he he plays decent defense it makes you as the poster look somewhat clueless when it comes to watching what is actually going on in a game.
---------------------------------
My assessment of Fishers game today doesn't make me clueless,
it makes you appear to have low expectations ....

"Westbrook was Fisher's responsibility. Jeff Van Gundy made a first half comment "Phil replaced Farmar with Fisher as soon as Westbrook re-entered the game" ."

But there were times when switches happened, transitions which are arguably the HARDEST to defend and you can't fault anyone from trying to defend transition on a consistent basis.....why don't *YOU* defend Westbrook in transition. One possession Westbrook had Artest on him and BLEW by Ron Ron to a 3 point play.....and this was the Ron Artest that had severely limited Kevin Durant so does that mean Ron sucked at defense because he couldn't contain Westbrook when he had him??

Westbrook had 30 points and 11 assists against Deron Williams...21 points and 10 assists against Rajon Rondo....29 points 6 assists against Derrick Rose. Unlike you I watched Westbrook at UCLA especially against Davidson where he brought the team from a double digit deficit and locked down Stephen Curry after Curry lit up the Bruins defense which at the time was one of the best unlike you who says he has good games against the Lakers primarily because of Derek Fisher....it would be the same result if it was Jordan Farmar guarding Westbrook!

Know how good the other teams players are before you spit out your propaganda against Fisher.....next season if Fisher is going to be gone who will you blame next for Laker losses....Kobe? Phil if he comes back? And after those two are gone you are keep blaming then? Bynum? Gasol?

Maybe you are right in what you say you do post things here in a Laker blog and that is something I have to respect. But as Michael Jordan would say....

"Or maybe you are just making excuses"

Blitz-

[high five]

GO JOSH POWELL!

THE LOVE IS ALL ABOUT JOSH POWELL, BUT HEY, THE LOVE HAS A LOT OF ALL ABOUTS TO GO AROUND

[HIGH FIVE!]

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

GO LAKERS!

Blitz - Go back to sleep.

Bottom Line, It's Still A Team Sport!

It's Not About Fisher on an Island Against Westbrook. When Drew and Pau were on the floor together, Westbrook had nowhere to go. Same result when Lamar and Drew were on the floor together. Although some of Lamar's fouls were a little out there, Drew's fouls were with a purpose.

Drew is the anchor on both ends of the court.

BLOCK PARTY!!! During the Regular Season, OKC was the Number One Shot Blocking Team at almost 6 per game. Playoffs: Game #1--Lakers 9, OKC 3. Drew 4, Pau 3, & Kobe 2!!!!

Overall, Lakers held the Thunder under 80 pts (a team that averaged 101.5 a game in the regular season). Durant held to 6 pts. below his average, Green held to 5 pts. below his average, and Harden held to 10 pts. below his average (a Big Fat Goose Egg!!!).

So Westbrook scored 7 above his average. You Laker Haters can hold onto that as your security blanket!!!!

I'll spot him 7 pts. any day while holding the other scorers well below their averages. Typically, an opponent has 2-3 scorers and keeping 1-2 of them in check is the goal. If one player goes off, no big deal. But if 2-3 get going, you got a fight on your hands.

Lakers scoring will pick up. But, D Wins Championships!!!! Adjustments will be made by both teams. Look for them to attempt to get Durant and Green going. Phil and his Staff will get them ready and they'll step up the intensity another notch Tuesday.

Drew and Kobe will get their timing, wind and legs back as each game plays out. Lamar will get his going too!!!!

Lakers in 5!!!!!

The Lakers have been struggling on offense for the last third of the season. Bryant, Fisher and Artest had poor shooting nights for many games. Fisher definitely had no answer for Westbrook. Although the Lakers won, I was not sure if the Lakers could survive a 7-game series with this kind of performance. Bryant in particular, really needs to make better decisions with his shot. He has been off the mark since the all-star break.

Jon K.
"Eeeking out a win against a 50 win 8th seed, not a team with a losing record like the Bulls.
The Thunder are a good team.
This was a good win. We controlled the game from tip-off."


Jon K. you're wrong for a few reasons:

-The Bulls don't have a losing record. They are 41-41 or a .500 team.
-Most agree that the Bulls are a little better than their record. They lost 10 in a row at one stretch without Rose and Noah, which would be like the Lakers trying to win without Kobe AND Gasol. Even with LA's talent, they would really struggle.
-Chicago beat OKC this year on the road, so the Thunder are not a vastly superior team.
-The Bulls are like the Bobcats. Their record is not great, but they're scrappy and they play solid defense.
-The Cavs are still the best team I've seen in the playoffs.

The Lakers beat a young, inexperienced team with little depth and one consistent scorer by eight at home. If you want to call that a dominant performance go right ahead. Byt 87 points won't cut it on the road against the Mavs, Cavs or Magic.


MM,

I got a request. Those pics you post are kind of ..lonely...having to explain themselves on their own :)...Could you please try to put some captions along with them ? Funny/Clever ones would be great because if I had to nitpick and point out one thing your posts lack , it is humor. ( If I HAD to :))

Amit

MM,

I like this format better. You are doing a great job. Keep it up!


JovBatz

MM,
The format is good but the editing is in need of attention. Like the Lakers, a solid win with room for improvement. If they keep bringing the D-Intensity, the O will come around.

hawaii d - hey thanks for pointing those mistakes out. i corrected them.

MM

Does anyone believe that the Lakers can win a championship playing like they did yesterday? I'll answer my own question - no way. Kobe 6/19 and Fish 4/12? Horrible and just a continuation of how the regular season ended. Kobe is hurt and Fish is, well, over the hill. I love Fish, but time for a new point guard and everyone knows it.

MM,

No Captions for the photos ?

I chose this thread to post, basically because I liked the analysis provided (and yes MM, I do like this format you've tried a lot).

I read above someone pointed that in this analysis that seems so spot on to me you might have lacked the notion that our bench did not waste the lead, MM.

I'd like to point out to that it was in fact rightly not underlined as a merit: the bench in fact did not waste much of the lead simply because when we were playing mostly bench, really out from my comprehension (but I thank him for it) Thunders coach (wasn't he the best coach of the West in all polls??) decided to put his bench in as well.

Way to maximize effects, Brook.

Oh well, all good for us.

I am not willing to sharpen any more lights on yesterday's game, because a lot of what it has been said in teh article and in some of posters' replies were covering pretty much all fields.

I was very pleased with Andrew's effort though, I have to say that because I did not expect such a good performance from him.
He worked very well with Pau.

Right, OKC were not handling their task that well, or maybe they just couldn't because we did all that was fine to do (defensively).

I also liked the explanations about Kobe's reduced impact offensively with the note that all that he was building up for his teammate to score was annhilated by their poor shooting (Ron & Fisher, though Fisher did score when it was more important psychologically, which is so important, especially in playoffs; and Ron did pretty well in limiting Durant, so I won't crucify him for his jacked threes), which eventually led him to try shooting himself, with the obvious struggle resulting from that darn finger, which is gonna be my major concern from now till end of June.

Overhall, I hope everyone is happy we picked up OKC: just look what Blazers did in Phoenix.
Out from the three options, OKC are the easiest team to be put away in 5.

Thing that MUST happen, since we have to save as much energies and rest as possible to face the Thuggets at our best.

But I don't expect an easy game tomorrow.

I am sure OKC will adjust a lot and hope we are ready to do that as well: it's gonna be a very different game, a game where I suppose teh youngsters will try to rely on things they haven't yesterday: sharp ball movement and lots more transitions, to exploit their physical advantage and quickness over our clearly more refined and advanced (not to mention skilled) play.

I hope Ron forgets what he did on Kevin D., because kid will try some different tricks.

Westbrook is a problem cos we mismatch him- rotation on him doesn't work that well, but at the same time I don't think he can play always like he did yesterday.

One of our major advantages against OKC is that they are not a great three point team under our specific belt.

This is a huge point in our favour so... bring it on guys.

I will love to wake up again for you and take in 2 out of 16.

Let's go ;)

Good evening everybody from beautiful Paris ;)

Peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys, that is what the journey is all about. Who in the Playoffs is the epitome of perfection right now?? No damn body thats who!!

If it's in the stars for us repeat, it will be what it's supposed to be. If not, we weren't good enough. ISH happens.

People on here are acting like the Lakers have to be playing their best and have no room for improvement especially when chemistry has been a problem all year with major players in and out of the lineup with injuries and inconsistencies with our bench play. With all things considered, we still had the best record in the West so damn, we can't be all that bad a team.

We'll play better. We have to. And if a team beats us, then they beat us but we are not gonna just lose and give that trophy away! Yall mofos is trippin if you think that! I saw heart yesterday believe that!


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