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Lakers face situation similar to last season's playoff matchup with Houston Rockets

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The Lakers' performances against the Oklahoma City Thunder creates a level of thinking in two camps, one that believes the Lakers' armor continues to crack and it's only a matter of time before things go really sour and the other believes this is all just a overreaction and everything will work out just fine.

Nonetheless, the Lakers have been down this path before, as recently as last season when Houston challenged them to a seven-game Western Conference series before the Lakers advanced. I cringe when people bring up this series as evidence that current concerns about the Lakers are overblown, because I think it only raises an even more indicting question. Does the fact that the Lakers played with fire against Houston yet didn't get burned really deserve such praise? I don't think it does, but for better or worse, the Lakers managed to advance. 

Last season's series against the Rockets never lacked for storylines.

Houston's Game 1 victory in Los Angeles raised questions about the Lakers' commitment to playing hard every game and the team's toughness, also an issue in the 2008 NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics. In Game 2, things got physical. Lakers guard Derek Fisher was ejected for throwing an elbow as Houston forward Luis Scola tried to set a screen on him near the top of the key. Ron Artest, then with the Rockets, fumed about an over-the-back foul when he thought Kobe Bryant should have been called for throwing an elbow. Artest ran across the court to voice his displeasure and was ejected. The Lakers then took Game 3 and regained home-court advantage and apparently the upper hand. They held Houston to 41.7% shooting and made 11 steals and nine blocks. Meanwhile, Rockets center Yao Ming suffered a season-ending hairline fracture in his left foot. 

The rest of the series, though, captured the Lakers in a nutshell. They displayed a laissez-faire attitude in 12-point and 15-point losses in Games 4 and 6. They showcased their superior talent against an undermanned Houston team in 40-point and 19-point blowouts in Games 5 and 7. Houston was scrappy despite losing Yao, and made more of a series out of it than the Lakers' 4-0 regular-season record against the Rockets would have indicated. And battling these obstacles had been a season-long story for Houston. It advanced past the opening round for the first time in 12 years, despite Tracy McGrady's season-ending knee injury in February and Dikembe Mutombo's knee injury during the Rockets' first-round series against Portland. The fact Houston hung with the Lakers through seven games when some thought they wouldn't last more than four spoke to Houston's resiliency and the Lakers' complacency.

Yet, after testing their fans' sanity level for 13 days, the Lakers survived and avoided a long off-season filled with probing questions about the current season's roster. I wouldn't call the finish a test of the Lakers' character and resolve. I would argue it's that the Lakers finally managed to get their act together. But regardless of where you stand, the Lakers still have the ability to correct their problems. But if they don't, I wouldn't say I'd be entirely shocked.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to drive around Rockets forward Shane Battier in last season's Western Conference semifinals. Credit: Dave Einsel / EPA.

 
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This is not the same Laker team as last year. Last year we could turn the switch on - during the regular season we played with fire and passion when it was needed.

btw...Artest is not the problem.

I don't think the Lakers have the personnel to make the appropriate changes to defeat the Thunder. No one can hit an open shot. Can't make free throws. Kobe is all buss up. LO is no where to be found. Bench - nothing else to say.

Lakers have maybe played 3 great games the entire season and they have only been going downhill as of late.

Thunder are going to keep ramming it down their throats and lakers give up. Sadly, thunder in 6.

Well, the west is tough - obviously it's not over but looks like the teams in the top half of the bracket are going fishing early this year.

All I want is a slightly Biased officiated game in favor of the Lakers

The Thunder have had more free throws than us in every game

GO FIGURE

When LO shows up the Lakers will win.

Yes, it's tough to repeat. The Thunder are the real deal. They would sweep the Bulls in the east. But our Lakers will find a way to win. I still believe.

Go Lake Show!

The updates from the Lakers infirmary never end: DJ Mbenga underwent another eye operation on Sunday to repair 2 new retinal holes. He won't be available to play on Tuesday.

http://bit.ly/aXTbU8

Called it.

No not the fridge...although man that would be sweet. Wait for that next game :) But the toughness of the series and how similar the happenings on is with last year's match against Houston. DFish we need another Scola'd.

Faith,

This won't be an easy series to finish, but the Lakers will prevail.

Go Lake Show!

True that Outlaw and when it happens I got a Chick-tastic treat.

an mp3 of him calling it himself! Sweet!

Zaira say
Don't know what hurt me the most, if the game of yesterday or reading some of the rainpours and personal attacks around, or that creatively composed verbal diharrea of oucchhhhh that seems to hate so much MM to find natural to fullfill all threads with a minimum if ten posts, all virulently personal (man, seriously... don't know hwat frustrates you but it's like a bit too... much?: a 8th of the total posts are yours... find a hobby. I mean... something else to do beside entertain us all with your statements against everybody who doesn't really think high of you? Of course all that you are gonna answer to me simply won't matter in my world, but I will read your creativity displayed with fun mode on).

That is right but...
Do not be harsh with Ouchhh.
He is a boy of 12 years who has no love at home
He becomes obsessed too.
We have to make feel loved Ouchhh.

We love you little Ouchhh, and Kobe also loves you!!!

A good news is that Utah & Spurs taking care of Denver & Dallas for us. We can beat Utah & Spurs easily (due to match ups), however, if Denver or Dallas would have suceeded, it would have been a disaster with the way our team plays. Thank god we are getting some help from the above!

Phil,
Please bench Fish...

none of this matters. This team has been showing us all year long it cannot win against elite teams on the road, there are no magic switches, no benches suddenly playing well, no Luke restoring ball movement, no Bynum dominating. Since we are not going to have home court advantage because Lakers decided to coast through the season, I don't see us winning a championship.

Great article MM ! Bear in mind we have in play different teams, different rosters, a different calendar year and differing levels of fandom. And more trolls !!! And more wanna-be playa's who are not the real deal G.

Plus, Heisler essentially says Kobe is hobbled due to injury. That is no "breakfast fork" for super strength.

So, the question is can hobbled Kobe still lead? Can he project his greatness TRULY unto his neighbor Laker playa? Can yellow jersey = SUPER FLY?

I say Hells bells yeee-ah! Stay tuned folks, as the story unfolds.

Let's step back a moment and reflect...the bottom line is if OKC is to beat LA, they must win in LA..role players (baka, harden etc.) have a tendency to play tentatively on road versus at home. Lakers had game 4 in control until PJ elected to sit Kobe late in the 3rd. But here's bottom line - dos not matter if series goes 7 or if lakers get run out of gym every time they fly to OKC as long as they take care of business at home. Game 5 is THE game of series..if LA wins, they win in 6 or most likely 7, if LA loses, they most likely lose in 6. OKC is no push over..even though an 8 seed, the 6,7, and 8 seeds all had identical records and they have 50 wins..they are a good team. They pose several match up problems in that they have youth, athleticism and run versus age, experience and size. If we are to win this series, we MUST have someone other than mamba step up and hit outside shots..Ariza did this last year and Dfish used to do this when he was younger. Right now lakers are missing outside shots and its off to the races...give OKC some credit...they do not quit and have shot the ball well..BUT ITS BEST OF 7!! We still have homecourt no matter how bad road losses have been..win at home and move on!!

LakerTom,

You wrote that I consider myself an elite martial artist.

Actually, I don't.

If you like I can give you the name of some of my teachers and you can
do searches on them.

What I know about myself is that I have practiced multiple martial arts
for half of my life. I have spoken to my teachers about my observations
and they have verified my observations. This means that I can see things
fairly clearly. I have tested and hold multiple black belts. That means
I have knowledge.

So everyone who has listened/read about our bickering has a decision to
make. They can read or skip our "conversations". If they read them, they
can agree or disagree with either or both of us.

Once again, you lob insults from the bushes. Once again you don't address
facts.

Here. Address a fact. Kobe & Pau & sports writers talked about the problems
getting the ball to the bigs in the post. Point to a time in the game where
it wasn't so.

Address another fact. Kobe didn't take a single shot in the first quarter of
the last loss. Explain how it's Kobe's fault that Artest took and missed 3's.

Anyhow, we have another game on Tuesday. Hopefully, the Lakers will win.

Go Kobe.

Go Lakers.

Am I missing sumtin here? I mean, the first three games I believe the Lakers never trailed until the fourth quarter of game 3. And, as I remember clearly in game 3, Kobe didn't have any FT. Point is, Thunder were never a threat to the Lakers until the last quarter of game 3 and the last game (due to LO's MIA). Lakers will win this series, and close it down in six!

Guys - the intent of this post wasn't to compare rosters. clearly houston and OK City are different teams and the makeup of the Lakers team was different with ariza being there instead of ron artest. the purpose of it really was to show the team has faced a situation before where fans were rightfully concerned about the team's play. In this case, the Lakers prevailed. That doesn't mean the Lakers will do that again this time around, nor does it excuse their poor play. But it was just to try to provide some perspective that it isn't the world.....at least yet.

MM

Similar situation with houston indeed..

Dfish is getting abused again and phil aint doin a damn thing..

Its like groundhog day

Its time for dfish to get ejected again.. How bout collison next time he commits another hard foul... I feel it comin!


If only PJ will stop F-ing with his substitution pattern, this would've been an easy series. By him sitting Kobe down 3 more minutes left in the 3rd quarter of game 3, and putting Walton in, the 7 point Lakers lead dissipated but 1. From there on, the momentum changed, and the rest was history. And what the hell happen to LO? After getting posterized by Westbrook, you would think this idiot will show up for game 4, but knowing LO, that's wishful thinking. Another thing is rebounding, there's a glaring difference after the last two games. You would've think that OKC is the team with 3 dominant rebounder of the game. This should be the coaching staff responsibility to point out to the team after game 3, but yet, same result in game 4. PATHETIC!

I'm a die hard Lakers fan, but if the Lakers fall short this year my life won't fall apart. It's hard for any team in professional sports to make a finals appearance for 3 consecutive years. We are spoiled here in LA because we expect the Lakers to win every year, but this cannot happen. Other teams in the NBA look hungrier for a title than the Laker's do now. They just don't have the fire in them right now, and injuries and inconsistant play have hampered the Lakers all season. I'm surprised the Lakers were the #1 seed when the playoffs began. I still have faith the Lakers can take this series, but it's going to take hard work, discipline, focus, and a commintment to the fundamentals of basketball. If they can't do this, at least they'll heal from all their injuries, because their season will be over.

Dear MM:

You defend yourself too much, shows your age sometimes. This is not a negative post. I admire your work. I am a Laker FAN first and foremost since 1988. Moved here from the East in 1987 (at that time I HATED Showtime) less than one year later, I worshiped the church of Chick Hearn and my Lake Show. Still do. Alas, Kobe is really hurt, I hope I am wrong, but I have seen most games for sometime, and think I feel their pulse. I want them to win, I want the Cheerleader bloggers to call me a troll again as they advance, but I do not see it. My license plate still sprouts a GO LAKERS cover. I want the best, but I am ready for whatever comes.

Good luck to you, remove yourself from connections on this post and embrace the trolls they mean more bloggers. I think the more you have the safer your job is. Much respect to the Laker faithful. Phred is my favorite. Mamba 24 is pretty cool too. All the other negative blaster's I skip over.

WIN, LAKERS WIN is my mantra. Anything else is just like life disappointing but real. The sun still shins, my kids are still wonderful and Cali is the best!

Wishing the best for our boyz,

M

The sun shines here too. I like the band the shins, Frouduian slip???? Spell check for Froundian. Phred, help me out 'Bro. You help me understand it is all about the Love...

M

Phil will be fine with it:

Fisher and Kobe shoot more from 3p.
Kobe 3P% 0.40
Fisher 3P% 0.50

Pau and Bynum shoot more from FG
Pau FG% 0.54
Bynum FG% 0.52

Artest does not take more shots from nowhere
Artest FG% 0.30
FT% 0.50
3P% 0.13

From the line has a better percentage the team of my small town.
Kobe FT% 0.72
Pau FT% 0.71
Fisher FT% 0.60
Bynum FT% 0.50
Artest FT% 0.50
Odom FT% 0.50
I do not want more calls for the lakers.
I want fewer calls for thunder.

After watching the Spurs and Jazz take care of business, time for this team to show why they're the #1 seed. Ginobili did it in their Game 3, Wade in Game 4 and DWill in Game 3 and 4.

Kobe! UDAMAN....we KNOW you are chomping at the bit (and on that post-Game 4 cigar), ready to go into attack mode for Game 5.

Get it done, dude!! LAKESHOW in 6!!!

Am I the only one here who's excited for a HAWKS-BLAZERS NBA Final?

So, as there were some ludicrous poll questions the other day, let me pose a few of my own to you all:

1. Who will the new Lakers head coach be next year?

2. What team will Lamar Odom be playing for next season?

3. Where will Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton, and Jordan Farmar end up next year?

MM - I too think you are doing a great job and love being able to post my glass half empty comments.

I just don't understand why we all can't post our comments here without personal attacks? Even though I'm a Laker fan, I admit I tend to be pessimistic...doesn't mean I don't love the lakers - i just see so many flaws that they don't seem to correct.

I really like to read all the different posts - positive and negative - that is what makes it so interesting. If I only read one side of the story, that is so boring. But I never intend to attack anyone with a different opinion and I'm not trying to convert them to my side.

Things just get ugly because from what I see, the "postive" posters only want to see positive postings....and if you don't follow those rules then you are a troll or not really a laker fan, etc... Maybe I am only seeing things through my own filter?

Isn't it boring just to see..

"Yea - Lakers rule"
"Lakers going to win in 5"
"PJ has 10 rings so be quiet"

Am truly hoping to see the Lakers really control game 5 and get a convincing win but they haven't shown me anything that says they will.

Mark Medina,

" the intent of this post wasn't to compare rosters. clearly houston and OK City are different teams"

The situation is extremely similar down to one crucial element: Speed.

Laker Nation was freaking the frick out last year because we couldn't stop Aaron Brooks' penetration and because the Rockets were outrunning us AND the Lakers weren't showing effort nor cohesion.

Sound familiar? Trade Brooks for Westbrook and Zombie Sonics for Rockets and it's basically the same situation... even our size advantage is the same after Yao Ming went down.

It's deja vu all over again.

We really needed a wake up call. The Zombie Sonics have provided it for us.

Come on, Lakers! WAKE UP!

Let's go!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Shivarising

Jeff Van Gundy will be the next head coach of the Lakers

Lamar Odum will be reunited with DWade in Miami after an Tabloid divorce bonanza

Sasha and Luke will remain a Laker as no one will take them off the Lakers hand

Farmar will seek his fortune wherever Phil Jackson isn't

Jon K,

I agree, and not to get into an argument with you, you really have good insights into the game....if this has been an ongoing issue - why haven't the Lakers done anything to learn to defend it. Same problem last year. That is one of the frustrating things about this team that seems correctable but they don't do anything different.

Sure, they traded Ariza away....spilt milk so I'm not bitching about that - I still like that we acquired Artest. But that made it even worse.

Since we had this very same problem last year, why has nothing changed? No new personnel to defend the quick pgs. Or a new defensive scheme to keep them out of the paint. I'm not saying this is on you - but maybe you could shed some light on this for me so I am not screaming at the tv when I see the same plays with the same outcomes from the opposing guards.

Thanks!! Must suc to be around all those cavs fans.

Who really thinks that we should continue with the triangle offense? I'm definitely not knowledgeable about this offensive scheme but from what most people say, we aren't running it correctly anyway. I know it's based on movement and players have to know spacing, moves against what the defense gives you, etc... but seems like we only know how to iso kobe. No one can make an outside shot so can't they come up with set plays and learn to run them to perfection?

BTW,"M", it's Freudian slip....

with zone defenses, the triangle is no longer viable

Kobe81pts,

"Since we had this very same problem last year, why has nothing changed?"

You, sir, have nailed the crux of the problem.

I think we brought in Ron to take the defensive pressure off Kobe and theoretically cripple our opposition offensively by having both Kobe and Artest shutting down our opponents on the outside and having Pau and Bynum shut down the basket.

Sounds like a great idea, right?

Hasn't happened, except sometimes, and I think that has contributed to a general sense of freakoutitude among Laker Nation.

What's that word? Oh yes... execution. EX-E-FRICKEN-CUTION!!!!

MONGO SMASH!!!!!!

Anyhow, I get sidetracked sometimes.

This team is so good. We just need to grow up and start playing real basketball. I know everyone's hurt. So what? We're never going to win a Championship when everyone is complaining about limitations.

Play like fricken Champions! Period.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Play like fricken Champions! Period.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | April 26, 2010 at 01:12 AM

who says that line?....OUTFREAKING STANDING!!!

I bitch about the lack of effort and execution - make your freaking shots and stop complaining about the refs.

I believe most of us "negative" bloggers, if we saw a great effort but the lakers lost (not give up for sure) we would be rooting for them with all our heart. But when kobe is the only one giving it his all - then it's hard to get behind your team. To many excuses for not being disciplined and executing PJs game plan.

Kobe Bryant is in a strange place. Damned if he shoots too much and damned if he shoots too little. I guess that is why he gets the superstar bucks. I just wonder when will the rest of them show up to play. Gasol the transparent all star gets decent numbers that only fill up a stat sheet. He and Bynum should be dominating the smaller thunder but we all know that is not the case and yet he gets a pass. They neither box out or goes for rebounds and I have yet to see either one rebound in traffic and make a statement about how this series is going to be played in the paint. Truth is nobody fears Gasol, Odom or Bynum when is comes to rebounding or protecting the paint. That is the real reason the Lakers are a serious threat of being put out of these playoffs. Media want to hide behind the excuse of Kobe's play but the reality is the bigs on this team do not play hard at all. How do you explain the smaller thunder dominating the paint and blocking shots all over the place. The Lakers don't have an enforcer and that is why they lost to Boston in 2008 and why they will not win it this year. If Kobe is the enforcer, scorer and play maker then these Lakers are in trouble because the guy is clearly not right. Injuries are part of the game it has happened before and this is not the first time a Laker playoff run has been ruined because of injuries to key personel. The painful part is that the rest of them just cannot be bother to make a stand. Nobody on this team can hide behind their numbers and it is time each and every one of them take personal responsibility of how they are playing.

Lakers close win in game 5...defeat in game 6...and need decisive game 7 at home...again
that's it...

Sam,

Yes, the others are the ones not showing up and everyone is on Kobe's back. He is the ONLY one playing hard from what I see - he wants to win but must be so frustrated with his team.

I think you hit so many of the points. Even taking injuries into account - Bynum and Gasol are tall but not dominant. Kobe "proved" it (I'm not saying it was his game plan) but he fed the ball into them...they couldn't convert. They should be dunking the rock on this smaller, athletic team...but when you have this huge size advantage there is no excuse for their horrible rebounding numbers. I can't remember one game where either of them really went up strongly for the ball and ripped it down (as DHoward does)

Even though DHoward hasn't scored much in the past few games - man he is a beast on the boards and blocking shots.

I surely do not want any players from either team to get hurt, the Thunder seem like classy players....they play hard and with heart. Even possession they push the pace and go for every loose ball. BUT, someone needs to give a hard foul to Durant and Westbrook when they come flying through the paint. I think the only one who will do that is Mbenga. I wouldn't like to see a dirty play like Najera on Ginobli....but come on, this is the playoffs - it's time to play hard.

Kobe81points,

Well said. Just like in the Karate Kid:

"Go for the legs."

This penetration BS needs to stop. Don't care what David Stern and NBA corporate want. Don't care if it's a guards/wing/penetration player league. Tough. Take a page from (pains me to say this) dirty green folk in 1985.

Man comes up high for a dunk, send his arse back where he launched from, safely, but hard enough to make a point. If it's a flagrant 1, fine.

Last time I checked, we are not yet out of these playoffs.
_________________________________

We will WIN game 5!!!!!!!!!!

Not sure for game 6 though.

If it goes 7, then I'm sure we will win!
_________________________________

Here's to hoping Lamar comes out swinging from now on! Fans need you LO!!! Kobe needs you!!!! Lakers need you bad!!!!!!!!!

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A-L-L T-H-E W-A-Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As long as we have another game to play, I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT WE WILL BE CHAMPS THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I WILL ONLY CONCEDE IF WE WILL HAVE ZERO GAMES TO PLAY.

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

"LakerTom,

You wrote that I consider myself an elite martial artist.

Actually, I don't.

If you like I can give you the name of some of my teachers and you can
do searches on them."

--Hobbitmage


You can see my teachers right here (although my #1 guy was always Superkicker John Liu, of Iron Armour fame, and he's not here):
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=00pDiy0Ty7I&playnext_from=TL&videos=4QPpUyj-n6U


And I called this a 7 game series from the start. This Thunder team is just too young and talented.


Here's the #1 sensi of all time, John Liu. And he beat Chuck Norris, btw, in a battle of former champions in France during hteir primes. He's the guy who kicks the jugs off his head whthout moving but a leg. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ohvoJooFQ


Wes

A hat tip to Tom Tom for making the most important observation on this thread, namely, that while we have been wringing our hands about how lousy the Lakers have been playing and writing them off this year, a most interesting development has been happening in the rest of the West playoffs...the two teams most dangerous to our chances (Denver and Dallas) are about to be bounced out. So if the Lakers can regroup and somehow find a way to open up a new can of whoop-ass on the upstart Thunder, their chances of winning in the West have gone way up. The Lakers match up very well against both the Jazz and the Spurs, and have pretty much dominated both teams in recent years.

And here's an observation about how to control the Thunder speed advantage and ability to penetrate easily up the middle: zone defense. The zone is by far the best defense to neutralize superior speed. It also neutralizes the high screen and roll. There's no need to slide over or under the pick. There's no slow-moving big up top to clumsily cover their guard after a pick. You've got both of your guards blocking entry, and you've got your slow bigs where you want them, down low and in position to rebound.

Phil's stubbornness, or more correctly, his hubris, may keep him from making this simple adjustment. But in my mind, something dramatic like this is needed to shake up the Thunder and change the dynamic in critical game 5. Just asking the Lakers to "play harder" won't cut it. A sudden defensive shift like this can catch a young, inexperienced team by surprise and knock them off stride. Do it.

On another note, the LA Times sports story reported that Kobe could have properly healed his hand in 4 to 6 weeks this summer, had he taken the time off. At that time, the Lakers had a decent record. So my question is this...

Why didn't Kobe take the 2 months off and heal his finger, thus being 100% for the playoffs?

Why?

This remind me the Lakers/Suns 1st round series. And we lost.

I have to disagree somewhat, MM. There are major differences between this series and the Rocket series last season:

KB's finger, knee, etc.
Shannon Brown's shooting hand.
Lamar's shooting shoulder
Artest's non-shooting hand
Bench rotation thin without Vujacic
No Trevor Ariza's speed, youth athleticism to match up with Thunder
Bench hasn't really been in their normal rotation all season - injuries to Farmar, Walton, Bynum, etc. and no Ariza in the rotation has broken up that chemistry that was a true strength.

This is not the same team as last year. I give them no better than 50-50 to survive OKC. I give them no better than 40-60 to get out of round 2.

Shame - the Lakers are a very talented, deep team - which is why they did as well as they did this season even with all the injuries. But playoff basketball turns it up a few notches, and I just don't think the Lakers have any notches left. I hope I'm wrong, but we've been seeing this kind of play from them for the last two months.

i look forward to next year's roster, clean up the bench, send them home, get a two for one trade of bynum and let some other team worry about his injury prone body.

Come on guy's don't despair, they are just getting ready to "flip the switch" (ha)!

I'd like to remind all those who are already doing post-mortems on this playoff that one normally waits for a mortem before doing the post-mortem.

after reading mark heisler article, it all makes sense. kobe's body is totally broken down! yes, we know about the finger injury, but what about the knee injury. when did that happen? what kind of knee injury? i didn't realize he was till having "hammy" problems too! in the nfl they have to disclose the type of injury and whether the player is doubtful, probable or not playing. it looks like in the nba they can be vague and fuzzy when it comes to injuries. if you're not 100%, why are you playing? if kobe can't even be 75% of kobe.....then shut it down!

I'm from the Bay Area, but I'm a Laker fan. Grew up watching Magic....here's my thing about the L.A fans....Every other arena in the League is loud. Homecourt advantage is HUGE in the regular season and especially in the playoffs. When the Warriors went on to beat Dallas, the entire arena had "We Believe" shirts on.....Miami white T's the year they won....look at every other arena...OKC....look at their crowd. The Warrior's had a losing record all season, but the fans stayed loyal.....look at what OKC did to us??? Homecourt advantage. They fed off their crowd....Our Lakers are playing at home, the way our fans are cheering....the fans aren't into to it, therefore our team isn't! I guess that's what happens when your fans show up late to every home game!!

So many threads..... so little time.....


It's getting ridiculous.

"Unfortunately for the Lakers, Jackson and the medical staff can advise but only Bryant decides when Kobe Bryant sits out.

With the Lakers 18-3, three games ahead of the West, Bryant could have sat out, or even opted for surgery that was projected to get him back by the All-Star break.

Instead, he kept playing and kept getting his finger whacked on forays to the hoop, averaging 8.3 free throws in March and 9 in April before the playoffs."
___________________

Above from Heisler article.

Can that be true that only Kobe decides when he sits out?
Umm, something wrong with that picture?
And who decides what's best for the team as opposed to what's best for Kobe?
Anyone? Hello?

So Kobe could have gotten that finger fixed, rested up those legs for a few months and been back by the All Star break.

In addition that would have given the bench more playing time.

Well, hindsight is always 20-20 but the decision to not do that at that time may have been the biggest decision made this year.
A healthy Kobe changes everything, as does an injured Kobe.

What a shame. It seems to be shaping up that the winner of the OKC-Lakers may very well play the Spurs in the WCF.

Lakers-Spurs would be fun, just like the good ole days, both are tied with 4 championships this past decade, get to settle it for number 5. Two veteran teams slugging out trying to get to the Finals.
This I'd like to see, c'mon Lakers, pull this thing out somehow.

This is the worst #1 seeded Laker team since the NBA expanded the playoff format in 1984. Check history stats. Game 4's loss was the worst loss in Laker's history for being a #1 seeded team in the first round of the playoffs. Even the 2000 NBA playoffs when the Kings took them the distance was never as ugly as this. Right now the Lakers look like the #8 seeded team. Shame on Mitch and Lakers management for not making a mid season trade for Bosh in exchange for Drew. Shame on Mitch extending Kobe's contract right now, he should have waited until the season was over and evaluate if it was worth keeping him for another three years in the down years of his career. Shame on Lamar for resigning for so much money, just to be a total bust right now. Shame on Kobe for not having surgery when he broke his finger back in December. And furthermore, shame on the Lakers management for thinking they could get the older Ron Ron for the younger, more talanted Ariza. After this season, they should be begging to get Ariza back. There is an old saying, if it ain't broke why fix it; and they definitely broke it. Maybe that's why Kobe has so many injuries this season because so much weight was put on his shoulders and no one was there to help him this season, which didn't appear to be the case last season. Ariza was the biggest reason why we beat Denver last year, especially Game 3. The problem with Lakers management is when it is broke, they don't fix it and when it isn't they try to fix it. Memo to the Buss's, quit gambling with the talent just to save a little money. In the long run if team tries to contend for championships, spend little more money, it will pay off even more in the end. Most fans won't settle for this mediocre team that is on floor. Find some younger promising players that just want to win by sacrificing their bodies, unlike the wusses we have on our team right now . Sasha, Luke, Fish, Scrub Morrison, Powell need to go. Also they should trade Odom and Bynum. As far as Odom, we need a player that brings it every night, not just when they feels like it. Bynum has become a liability to this team by getting injured year after year, see Sam Bowie. Since Phil has nothing to prove since getting 10 rings, we need a fresh face. Byron Scott might be good start.

To kobe81pts:

"I surely do not want any players from either team to get hurt, the Thunder seem like classy players....they play hard and with heart. Even possession they push the pace and go for every loose ball. BUT, someone needs to give a hard foul to Durant and Westbrook when they come flying through the paint. I think the only one who will do that is Mbenga. I wouldn't like to see a dirty play like Najera on Ginobli....but come on, this is the playoffs - it's time to play hard."

Posted by: Kobe81pts | April 26, 2010 at 01:54 AM

Shame and shame again that how low our team and ourselves come down to!! you recommend a dirty play by our 10th player, so even if he get suspended for the whole season, there would be no harm to our team. Have you thought that this kind of idea can also happen by other team to our most loved player!!!

Speechless!!!

Hobbitmage,

What arts do you study?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

While it's a bit premature to be talking about a new coach until after the Lakers are out of the playoffs, oh well, no game until Tuesday, what the heck.

New coach Byron Scott- no thank you. If were gunna get a new coach I would prefer someone who has accomplished something. Scott could maybe be an assistant to a new coach, but he has not proven himself a successful NBA coach.
Can we trade PJ for Brooks? PJ for Pop? Darn.

y'all know they tanked game 4. lakers will prevail eventually.

Shame and shame again that how low our team and ourselves come down to!! you recommend a dirty play by our 10th player, so even if he get suspended for the whole season, there would be no harm to our team. Have you thought that this kind of idea can also happen by other team to our most loved player!!!
Speechless!!!
Posted by: Tom Tom | April 26, 2010 at 09:00 AM
-------------------

Tom Tom,

I think you misread kobe81's post.

He said he would NOT like to see a dirty play...

"I wouldn't like to see a dirty play like Najera on Ginobli...."

You're right...this is the playoffs. I'm getting sick of guys coming down the lane and getting uncontested layups. We all know our biggest issue is at the point guard position. Fish isn't the same. What kills me is that Farmar is very fast, but lacks the quickness in defense. Also, when ODOM decides to enter the game in attack mode, we will be just fine. We can't blame everything on Kobe. He's only one guy. Everyone else has to step up!

I don' t think the situation is similar for three reasons, two of which go against the Lakers and one of which favors them:

1) The Lakers were playing better in the regular season last year than they did this year.

2) Oklahoma City is a more complete team than Houston without Yao Ming. The Lakers could beat Houston any time they really tried - I'm not sure the same is true for Oklahoma City. The fact that they lost twice to a Ming-less Houston team was just a testament last year to how much they weren't trying.

3) The two teams I was most scared of earlier in the year (Dallas and Denver) have issues even worse than the Lakers right now. This could actually be the Lakers' most difficult series before the Finals.

I don' t think the situation is similar for three reasons, two of which go against the Lakers and one of which favors them:

1) The Lakers were playing better in the regular season last year than they did this year.

2) Oklahoma City is a more complete team than Houston without Yao Ming. The Lakers could beat Houston any time they really tried - I'm not sure the same is true for Oklahoma City. The fact that they lost twice to a Ming-less Houston team was just a testament last year to how much they weren't trying.

3) The two teams I was most scared of earlier in the year (Dallas and Denver) have issues even worse than the Lakers right now. This could actually be the Lakers' most difficult series before the Finals.

Jon K,

re: my arts. We went through this before. The list of arts I've studied
is *LONG*.

Do a search on Professor Sigfried Kufferath & Mike Inay & Wing Lam.

Hobbitmage,

Come on, it can't take that long to type out!

I've studied kung-fu, aikido, lima lama, kempo, tai chi chuan, pa-qua, hsing-i, liu ho ba fa, judo, arnis, da i chuan, and haganah. I also studied karate a little bit when I was a kid, but that doesn't really count.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Justa - There were actually not too many threads Sunday. Only three. Come on man

MM

Art -FL Lakers Fan,

you wrote: So Kobe could have gotten that finger fixed, rested up those legs for a few months and been back by the All Star break.

In addition that would have given the bench more playing time.

Well, hindsight is always 20-20 but the decision to not do that at that time may have been the biggest decision made this year.
A healthy Kobe changes everything, as does an injured Kobe.

my response: Hindsight is always 20-20.

How do you evaluate having the #1 seed vs. the #6 seed? Maybe Kobe chose
to play because he felt we needed it?

If you go back and look at the play of the Lakers before he got his finger
fractured, it's clear that some of the players were slacking and others
couldn't buy a bucket.

I believe two stated goals of the Lakers were: Home court Advantage &
to challenge the Bulls record.

That Home Court Advantage will be the only thing that helps us beat OKC.

You also have to look at what he did with the fractured pinky. It might have
affected his thinking.

At the beginning of the season, did anyone predict that D-Fish, Artest,
UPS & J-Farmar would suck at outside shooting?

Did anyone predict that our bigs wouldn't practice boxing out, as shown by
the rebounding stats?


Anyhow, we're in the soup now. Kobe come & save us.

Go Kobe!
Go Lakers!!!

Jon K,

Since you asked. Again :)

3 styles of Karate ( Kenpo, Shotokan & Shito Ryu ), 2 styles of Tai Chi ( Yang &
Chen ), Shantung Black Tiger Kung Fu, Ba Gua, TKD, Aikido, Dan Zan Ryu
jujitsu, Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu, Shinkendo, & Escrima ( Sinawalli, Decuredas
, Kadena de Mano)

Favorite weapons are japanese jo, Sinawalli sticks & knife. Weapon that I hope
to gravitate towards ..... CANE! I have a lovely rattan *live stock* cane with
a "mouth" that is perfect for wreaking havoc .

wesjoenixeon, your youtube link didn't work for me.

Jon K,

sorry. forgot one. muy thai boxing.

This is particularly pertinent to Nemaia .

I was training to be a body guard. Saw an island boy with calves the size of
both of my forearms put together. Do you have any idea of what a "shin
kick" from a 350# man looks like?

FRIGHTNENING!!!

Hobbitmage & Jon K,

The first lesson in martial arts is the element of control. Never tell anyone that you are a martial arts enthusiast. Yes, it is only for self defense, its roots are born out from religious persecution of Asian monks by warring tribes. Great teachers will always say knowledge of these arts connote patience, justice and fair play.

I hope you and LakerTom will amend as true laker fans. Conjectures, opinions should not extend to personal conflicts. It should remain as friendly debate in the blog.

Hey hobbitmage,

[my response: Hindsight is always 20-20.]

LOL, that's exactly what I said in my post.

In Dec. when it was proposed Kobe get the finger fixed the Lakers were 19-3.
That's 19-3. Pretty good cushion, screw the 72 win record.

[Maybe Kobe chose to play because he felt we needed it?]

Obviously.

I wish you would have responded to my other questions in the post:

Can that be true that only Kobe decides when he sits out?
Umm, something wrong with that picture?
And who decides what's best for the team as opposed to what's best for Kobe?

Last time I looked the Lakers had an owner, a GM and a head coach.
Does Kobe get to over rule all of them?
That's just stupid.

Look, as great as Kobe is, he can be his own worst enemy.
Are you assuming that Kobe always knows whats best for Kobe?
And does Kobe always know whats best for the team?

Someone needs to put the teams interests over Kobe's.

My main point was, looking back now, that may have been the biggest decision made this year. We can't know how many more games the Lakers might have lost without Kobe if he had been out for 2 months. The whole team may have found a way to play better.

And if it did get done and he came back rested and healthy, how many games that we lost after the all star break would we have won with a healthy and rested Kobe?

We can only guess at this point.

It just seems to me there wasn't much big picture thinking going on by Kobe.
The whole season is geared for the playoffs, especially the Lakers. Their season is almost like a pre season.
And since it was his decision, he needs to be held accountable.

I think maybe Laker mgmt (PJ) is too hands-off sometimes.


[Anyhow, we're in the soup now. Kobe come & save us.]

True dat!
Kobe's our last hope at this point.
Hope he's got enough left in the tank.

Pau. Pau has to be the Lakers Kobe the rest of the series. Kobe is a warrior, but a hurt warrior. Pau offers the Thunder the biggest mismatch. He has younger legs than Kobe. We HAVE to run the offense through Pau the rest of this series. It just is what it is. If Kobe wants to win he has to realize this.

Kobe is amazing but a 7 game series is all about match-ups. The Thunder match up well against Kobe, plus he is hurt. Pau can dish to Drew or Lamar (Lamar REALLY needs to get going) or kick it out for open 3s. Run everything through Pau the rest of this series. At least that's what I feel will give us the best shot at going on.

Larry of LA, in theory what you're saying could work......BUT kick it out for the opens 3's.....haven't we been doing that? the lakers have proven to be the gang that can't shoot straight in this series. our weakness on offense IS shooting from the outside. we need to pound it inside and have kobe and lamar taking it to the hole. we need to get to the freaking free throw line! that's what's killing us this series!

I'm new in Oklahoma - but have seen Champions (in Chicago).

You've seen great basketball over the years - which is why you are all writing... you see the same thing I do.

The Lakers are slow. They foul (alot) - stupid. The Thunder are hungry. They're kids - so they don't know what they don't know... Lakers? Just another team, no awe.

The fans are 100% behind the Thunder. The city has banners atop 25 story buildings. There is energy. Go ahead - ask any friend who made the trip here, and they'll tell you: The Thunder is going in for the kill.

Edwin Gueco,

you wrote: The first lesson in martial arts is the element of control. Never tell anyone that you are a martial arts enthusiast. Yes, it is only for self defense, its roots are born out from religious persecution of Asian monks by warring tribes. Great teachers will always say knowledge of these arts connote patience, justice and fair play.

I hope you and LakerTom will amend as true laker fans. Conjectures, opinions should not extend to personal conflicts. It should remain as friendly debate in the blog.

my response: I wouldn't have phrased the first lesson as that, but I can't
argue. Although you're being country specific & I'm not sure that your
assertion is true for all martial arts.

re: what I tell people. Since I don't use my real name, who am I?

re: LakerTom & myself. As I said, you'll notice that I am cordial to everyone
else. If he chooses to stop lobbing insults from the bushes I would be
happy to be cordial to him. If he wants to continue act like an arrogant
ignoramus then he gets what he gets.

To qualify what I mean by "arrogant ignoramus". Let's take passes into the
post.

Kobe, multi-nba all star, indicated there were problems.

Bynum, the would be recipient of the entry post, indicated there were problems.

Pau, the would be recipient of the entry post, took the time to work with
Artest on the entry post because Artest wasn't comfortable with the size
of the target.

Scott Brooks, Coach of the Year, indicated that his team was making a
dedicated effort to deny the "bigs" the ball.

vs. the 4 NBA professionals, LakerTom indicates that making entry passes
is simplistic.

So. I choose to believe the NBA professionals. I am vilified by LakerTom
for my choice. At this point in time, I have no reason to believe that
LakerTom was an NBA professional, is an NBA professional, or will be in the
NBA Hall of Fame. It would *seem* to me that if the stats support the
words of the NBA professionals I am correct in believing the words of the
NBA professionals. Furthermore, I have no evidence to support the
beliefs of LakerTom. Since he refuses to acknowledge what the NBA
professionals have actually said & done, I consider him to be arrogant.
Since he does not acknowledge what the NBA professionals have done
I consider him to be ignorant.

I repeat. I would be happy to be cordial to him. He continues to hide &
lob insults from the cyber bushes.

Perhaps you should direct your comments towards him, since by my past
history I have shown that I do not hide, I acknowledge what I have said in
the past & my behavior shows that I keep my word.

Best Regards,

Lakers will win this series because Kobe will make it happen by throwing the ball inside to Bynum and Gasol. He knows LAkers are dominant inside, he knows this is an easy win for the Lakers.


Kobe knows if he shoots the Lakers will loose.


Kobe saw how easy it was in game 1. He did not want Bynum and Gasol to be the stars on this team. So he went away with what was working and tried his way which is KOBE the hero, Kobe the Lakers. Almost lost game 2, loss game, 3, loss game 4.


When the series is on the line. Kobe will play the right way. Game 5 Kobe plays the right way for sure!


Again, I didn't mean for this series to be a comparison in the sense that the Lakers have a same personnel because they don't. It was meant to show how the Lakers got themselves in a bind before and then got out of it.

MM

Chicago - Okie, okc has got to win in L.A. yeah, they're tough at home, we'll see tomorrow night. i seriously doubt that okc shoots freaking 48 ft's tomorrow night.

Now, if the Lakers are not to win this year's NBA Championship, I would rather have them loose to Thunder.


There is no other West team I would cheer for except the Thunder.


Durant against Lebron would be nice to watch.


Why did the Lakers sign Kobe again for 90 mil in 3 yrs? That is 5 more years of Kobe in Lakers uniform. How will Bynum ever completely developed if he is to live under the shadow of a huge ego like Kobe.


Pretty much like Kobe living in Shaq's shadow. That is why Shaq had to go. I hope Kobe is smarter than Shaq and will let Bynum and Gasol take over the game an dlet them be the stars while he collects his rings.


Otherwise, this Lakers will have chemistry issues for five years with Kobe Bean Bryant. It already started this year, the chemistry of this team was so awful when Kobe came back from injury during the regular season.


Next year should no longer be Kobe's team, Kobe and Gasol should accept a supporting role to Bynum. This is the only way this team will have a great chemistry.


Andrew Bynum must be unleashed!

Very good analysis...except this time they are not going to get past the Thunder.


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