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Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 6 of Lakers-Suns series

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Lakers links

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlights how Ron Artest has moved past his game-winning shot in Game 5. Bresnahan also assesses where Artest's shot ranks in Lakers' playoff lore.

--The Times' Mark Heisler includes Artest's game-winner among the list of memorable and unlikely clutch shots.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore argues a stronger defensive performance will ensure a Lakers' Game 6 victory.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr details the Lakers' strong track record in closeout games.

--The Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro reports Phil Jackson contacted John Paxson to consider assistant Brian Shaw for the Bulls' coaching position.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky contrasts how different Kobe Bryant has been in the postseason and explains why the "rumors of his demise were, well, exaggerated."

--The New York Times' Howard Beck dissects the dichotomy that is Ron Artest.

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen highlights how Phil Jackson has also moved on from the Lakers' Game 5 win. Lassen also observes how both the Lakers and Suns feel confident heading into Game 6.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi goes through the six degrees of Shaq and how the Lakers trading him ultimately benefitted the organization.

--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum argues Bryant is the league's best player, even more than LeBron James.

--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen argues the series isn't over yet.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford provides more details on Artest's fine.

--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen dissects how Bryant is the King of Clutch.

--The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman dubs Artest the "Most Interesting Man in the World."

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell highlights the team's performances in closeout games.

--Silver Screen and Roll C.A. Clark wonders who has the advantage heading into Game 6.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius breaks down Game 6

Suns links

--The Times' Broderick Turner reports Phoenix guard Steve Nash still maintains the Suns will win Game 6.

--NBA.com's Fran Blinebury credits Phoenix for remaining optimistic after the Game 5 loss.

--The Arizona Republic's Paola Boivin tries to figure out what makes Jackson tick by talking to Suns assistant and former Bulls player and assistant coach Bill Cartwright.

--The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro has more on Nash's prediction.

--NBA.com's Art Garcia detail how the Suns are preparing for Game 6.

--The Arizona Republic's Jim Gintonio and Doug Haller focus on the Suns' taking team responsibility for the Game 5 loss.

--The Arizona Republic's Gintonio has a detailed Q&A with Phoenix reserve Channing Frye, with topics including Game 6, being a father, his future with the Suns and how he broke out of his shooting slump.

--The Arizona Republic's Haller details how the Suns coped with the Game 5 loss.

--Valley of the Suns' Michael Schwartz demonstrates how the Nash's teammates like his guarantee.

Tweet of the Day: "Kobe Bryant's averages in the PHX series: 33 ppg, 9.6 assists, 7.4 rebounds. Arguably best overall series of his career-and it's not over" - LAIreland (KCAL-9 and 710 ESPN's John Ireland).

Reader Comment of the Day: "I am extremely glad Thriller is a Laker and my "sense" tells me that he is one of those players that is driven more by instinct than intellect in playing his game. The value of instinct is that it works much more quickly (and reactively) than intellect. Thereby producing the extraordinary results of "How did he do that?" Because it seems so in the moment that it appears impossible to be "thought out." The downside of instinct is sometimes it leads one to do things that are simply boneheaded (like take risks when you should be using the shot clock to minimize an opponent's statistical liklihood to be able to make a shot to tie the game and take it into overtime.) In any case, I think the biggest "issue" with the Lakers and Thriller is that Thriller is above all a tremendously competitive and aggressive player and we have moved him into a quasi-submissive position as a "role player." Well, that's not RON, that'll NEVER be RON. At the same time, Thriller is such a decent guy and good teammate who wants to win that he is willing to submit to that role... even though it feels totally unnatural for him. Another reason why we should cheer for him." -- Jon K

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant embraces forward Ron Artest after he made a last-second shot to defeat the Phoenix Suns, 103-101, in Game 5 on Thursday night at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

 
Comments () | Archives (25)

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Here`s to you, Mr. Robinson!

KryptoNATE sends "Superman" home for the summer!

Hey Jon K
Congratulations for RCOTD !! It was a cool post with great insight into what Ron Ron is made of as a player. Although, given my naivete, I don't see him as having provided us with too many "How did he do that ?" moments ? Except perhaps for the way he picks the pockets of unsuspecting players by following his instincts on what they are gonna do next. His recent game winner it to his credit (even though the prayer he threw up went in out of sheer luck as Ron acknowledged himself ) because he just did not quit on the play.Dogged.

He plays awesome defense and has won us games in the season/playoffs but there are hardly any extraordinary or awe-inspiring plays borne out of pure instinct.It seems more like fundamentally sound, tenacious defense to me. I would appreciate you explaining that part of your post a bit. Thanks man

Mamba24,


Mamba luv, I know you're out there somewhere. Where's our roll call? It's game day baby. Let's put on our Kobe Faces!


Lass

It is all about defense . If they go to a smaller line up, Phil should think about moving Artest to the 4 and playing Sasha or Brown. Either of them should stick to Dudley since he can't post up. And Phil should think of running the offense through Artest some times. He should put him in the post.

Great ideas Keen!

THE KEYS TO THE GAME
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With the Celtics waiting in the wings, the Lakers need to close out the Suns on the road tonight to earn well-needed rest and critical time to prepare for the start of the NBA Finals next Thursday night. We need to treat this game like a Game 7. Here are my keys to Game 6 tonight in Phoenix:
~
(1) CONTROL THE BOARDS - This series has become a struggle for the Lakers big men who have not been able to consistently protect their defensive boards or dominate the offensive glass. despite their superior height and length. Tonight, our trio of bigs need to dominate the boards and hold the Suns to one-and-done on defense while punishing them on the offensive boards and winning the critical battle for second chance points. Controlling the boards is the first step towards controlling the game.
~
(2) CONTROL THE PACE – The Lakers best defensive strategy versus the Suns is to control the pace. To do that, we need to run the Triangle Offense perfectly and commit to playing inside-out basketball. We need to play with patience, work the ball inside, and look for the best rather than the easiest shot. And we need to avoid being lured into taking early 3-point shots that can lead to long rebounds and fast breaks for the opposing team. Efficient turnover-free offense is the key to controlling the pace.
~
(2) CONTROL THE REFS – Whether you believe the conspiracy theories or just give the Suns credit for forcing the issue, the reality is that the Lakers’ two losses were definitely lost at the free throw line. This means that we need to play smarter and contest without fouling on defense while aggressively attacking the paint and rim on offense. Bottom line, there is no way that we can defeat the Suns if we allow the refs to give them a 20 point differential at the line. We need to play to control the refs.
~
The Lakers will need to bring their A-game tonight if we hope to match the Celtics and dispatch the Suns in 6. Getting off to a good start is going to be important. If we can control the boards, pace, and refs early, then chances are high that we will close out the Suns tonight. If we give up offensive rebounds, start shooting too many 3’s, or get into the penalty early, then this series is going to 7.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

LTILF-

Happy to report that there has been (((((((((0)))))))))) suicides in the Boston area today.

MM… Your pick of Jon K’s comments stand in stark contrast to your selection of a troll’s shallow remarks. This is what a RCOD should be – meaningful insight and analyses from a Lakers fan.
Maybe my cynical comments have been getting through. Whatever, Jon’s award was well deserved.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

REPOST

Didn't I say to worry about Cleveland and talk trash to them more on the forums rather than us who at the very least got the 1st seed in the West? Now you boys are paying the price muhahahaha!
As much as I want the Celtics to win so we can kick your butts in the finals can't resist giving jabs to your old men save for Rondo. Paula Stabbed Pierce isn't going to get out of this way with no Posey and Jesus Shuttleworth well he got blame instead of game. KAAYY GGGEEE is beginning to be a grumpy old man. And wasn't SHEEEED supposed to help out in the playoffs but now Doc Rivers is thinking of benching him for Shelden Walliams. ROFL!
Even our Ron Ron is helping us a ton with locking down Durant whom Garnett was crying about him being treated like Michael bleeping Jordan. LOL!
Enjoy your AARP's you three and remember: RASHEED MUST BLEED. Any more jabs? :)
Posted by: KB Blitz | May 03, 2010 at 04:30 PM

Jon K,

Congrats on RCOTD.

Laker Tom,

See, one of our own still has a chance.

Butler,

Can't win them all.

M2,

Thanks for not ruining LT's day.

I love and agree with this quote from Bill Cartwright concerniing Phil and the Lakers' attitude:

"There is one thing I'm sure of," Cartwright said. "He obviously doesn't want to play a Game 7. He'll try to get more movement from his team on offense, try to get more penetration. We know what's coming. "It's going to be a (battle) of will."


I agree, and this is high art we're about to see. Kobe vs Nash, will vs. will. What an epic contest. Shouldn't they bring the both of these guys up from the arena floor in cages like they did in ancient Rome? That would be cool.


Wes


We all know that from the national perspective, with a few exceptions, everything is discussed from a Suns-centric point of view.

Examples:

Phoenix let one get away, and they would have won if the game had went into overtime, like it was a given.

They made a great comeback and they lost only because of a lucky shot by a bad guy who made terrible decisions the whole game.

Nash was unstoppable and showed great heart in bringing the Suns back, there is no way he is going to be denied at home in Game 6 and WHO KNOWS what will happen in Game 7!

The Lakers are so arrogant that they think that they can turn it on and turn it off; it is bound to catch up with them eventually, IT JUST HAS TO!

And for the most ridiculous comment paraphrased by me:

Chris Webber on NBA TV: "The Lakers celebrated (Game 5 win) as if they just won the championship (as if they shouldn't celebrate a game-winning shot)...based on their G5 comeback they can definitely win Games 6 AND 7!

(sigh)

(steps onto soapbox)

Dear national talking-heads,

I understand that if there is a choice to be made between the historically jinxed, cuddly, brave, "little enging that could" Suns with their gutty, undersized, principled leader and the arrogant, fat-cat, "gets all the breaks because they are favored by the league" Lakers led by their imperial, flawed leader (that's the prevailing view, not mine), most pundits will take the easy, lazy storyline, most because they believe in it, and some because they want to see the Lakers go down so badly.

This is not a Shakesperian morality play or David vs. Goliath, this is big-boy NBA Basketball played by men at the highest level, and in a seven-game series, the best team ALWAYS win. If a team is injured or has bad luck, well them's the breaks; the best TEAM advances. That is what separates this sport from ALL the other sports, college and pro, that leave more to chance and hot streaks.

My point is, despite all the hype and the deluge of favorable calls the Suns have received for whatever reason, the best team will advance. I feel that it will be the Lakers, whether they win Game 6 or 7, because above all we have as our leader the most talented, most disciplined and THE most ferocious competitor (by Presiential decree) in the League. Everything else being equal, Kobe Bean Bryant will will us to his fifth cookie, add yet another bullet point to a resume that continues to rise up to the very top of NBA lore. Instead of constantly making comparisons to MJ and LBJ, how about we just appreciate just how good this spectacular athlete is on his own merits.

And if somehow the Suns prevail and advance, no excuses. We've been defeated before, and Kobe, Phil and crew never alabied, just congratuated. We as Laker fanatics should follow their example.

Above all, ENJOY the game! The journey should be just as fun as the destination. Only five more wins to go!!!

(steps off soapbox)/

GO LAKERS!!!!

KB Blitz,

Squeak past Phoenix....Don`t duck us!

I see a lot of similarities between the wayy Nash is leading his team, and the way Kobe leads his:


"PHOENIX — On one of the many days leading up to the start of the Western Conference Finals, I asked Jared Dudley how he felt about the national media not giving the Suns much of a chance in the series just as reporters hadn’t given Phoenix much of a shot all season.


Dudley said something very interesting: he only listens to Steve Nash when it comes to these things.


JMZ is not alone in that feeling. The Suns boast a room full of youngsters that lean on Nash’s every word, so when the two-time MVP says something as poignant as his Game 5 postgame proclamation that the Suns would “go back and do the same (hold home court) and we’ll come back here for Game 7,” you know his younger teammates were listening.


“It’s big,” Dudley said. “It shows you that he’s confident, he’s ready, we’re confident behind him. I expect us to win Game 6. Why can’t this be our year?”


Dudley even followed in Nash’s footsteps by tweeting on Thursday night: “Man!!!!! We let them off the hook.. It’s ok will go back home handle our business in game 6 and get another shot come Monday..”


Those are awful confident statements from a team going up against the defending champions, a squad Phoenix has not beaten in Staples Center in five attempts this season, and Ron Artest for one seems to think Nash is showing the Lakers “no respect.”


But it does show that while the rest of country is already gearing up for Lakers-Celtics, Phoenix’s local basketball team still expects to win this series."


Wes

KG as a Celtic in playoff series....7-0

Laker Tom - Thank you for your continued insight and support. I still stand by my RCOTD selections and just want to make it clear it's just not a matter of favoritism among people, but just trying to highlight the best comments. On many days it is often hard to narrow it down and there may be disagreements in judgement, but I'm not making this a political exercise in anyway. It's just to highlight well-thought out comments.

MM

R.I.P Dennis Hooper and The Suns !!!!! Thanks for the memories...

I think Fatty should be wearing Laker colors for today even if he is just watching the game on TV. Fatty in purple and gold thong is distraction to Nash serious threat. There is intervention in the athmosphere. We need witchcraft of Flagstaff to work for the Lakers today.

THRILLER RON
www.post16blog.blogspot.com/2010/05/thriller-ron.html

Some stuff;


FCM- I’m not sure, did you give the quote from Ron Artest about how he felt the Suns were disrespecting him, and then he said something like ‘they think they can get me to not pass the ball to pau?’ I can’t find the quote, but I thought it was the missing point in his statement, ie he knows that his tendency is to not pass, but he is going to work through it. I thought that was a vital part of what he was saying.

Also

“QUEENSBRIDGE!’


A pretty good link to an article in the NYTimes about Kobe and Fish. Nothing that hasn’t been said before, but a good read.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/sports/basketball/30lakers.html?8dpc

wesjoe- I’m sorry you even had to ask. Of course we do. On the other hand, you need to learn about proper citation. Indent within paragraph, or use “ “. : )

Also, ‘Tommyknockers?’ See, people, that is how you use random pop culture analogy.

The think I like most about how kobe is playing lately? Offensive rebounding. We know he can get assists, we know he can score, but when he grabs 4 offensive rebounds in a game on the way to basically a triple double, that is just beautiful.

Mage- great article from Ian Thompsen. Thanks for reposting.

LakerFan in OKC- great post.

You know what Artest’s play made me think of today?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePXlkqkFH6s

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/espn25/story?page=moments/50

“Don’t give up. Don't ever give up.’

That is back when ESPN didn’t suck.

THE LOVE DOES NOT GIVE UP

THE LOVE DOES NOT EVER GIVE UP

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE!

GO LAKERS!

phred - well i didn't include all the quotes, but in my post on Artest the video has his entire interview. Basically the way I see it is Artest saw it as a sign of disrespect that Phoenix is banking on him making poor decisions and making shots. But he falls into that trap because he's left open. So really he's fighting himself. As Phil mentioned, he said he often tells Lamar and Ron, There's a reason why they're leaving you open.

MM

Hey guys we got a new post up

MM

Edwin -

I'm wearing my Kobe 'All Star jersey' as I type this.

And just so you know. The Lakers have NEVER lost a game while I'm wearing it.

True, if they are about to lose, I take it off, to keep the perfect record intact. But most of the time, it does not let me down.

GO SUNS!

Tom Tom,

"Okay, the nightmare is over. The teams that could have beaten us like Denver, Dallas and Cleveland were eliminated by others for us and left us with the easiest playoff games from either confernce. This is our year, and we can do it all, and go all the way. But we need to changes for the next year, because we might not be so lucky again!

So go Lakers Go"

I kind of agree with you, it would have been much more difficult to face Denver, Dallas, and Cleveland. However, I still think we would have beaten all three if we had met them.
Haha


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