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Lakers' dominance too much for Jazz to overcome in 111-96 Game 4 victory

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The Lakers had the Jazz right where they wanted them, building a double-digit half-time lead, establishing continued dominance from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and sucking the atmosphere right out of Energy Solutions Arena.

But then the second half began. As it had been all series, the Jazz never relented in the Lakers' quest to put the game away. And with the Lakers' tendency to coast after building large leads, Utah's workmanlike attitude again brought them back in the game and reduced the Lakers' lead to single digits. In typical fashion, however, the Lakers' talent turned back on, resulting in a 111-96 Game 4 victory Monday over Utah, marking the first time the Jazz have been swept in a seven-game series.

Even though the Lakers' 4-0 easily pushed them to their third consecutive West Finals -- beginning Monday against Phoenix at Staples Center -- the Lakers aren't exactly playing sharp at all times. Case in point, the Jazz chipped away at double-digit leads in Games 1 and 2, would have taken Game 3 had Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews converted on game-winning shots and slashed the Lakers' comfortable lead again in Game 4. The Jazz also simply didn't have the parts necessary to compete with the Lakers, especially with Mehmet Okur (ruptured left Achilles) out for the series and Andrei Kirilenko (strained left calf) not returning until Game 3. I had maintained for a while that the Lakers needed to be at their peak in the postseason to ensure a second consecutive title.

Though they haven't exactly reached that point, the Lakers have made significant progress in other areas. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant appears as healthy as he has been in the past few months, with his 32 points on 11 of 23 shooting marking the fifth consecutive game he's scored at least 30 points. His lift was noticeably high in Game 4, helping him sink fallaway jumpers in the post and increase his elevation on pull-ups, two qualities that were instrumental in scoring the team's first seven points to stave off before Utah went on a 7-0 run to cut the Lakers' lead to 65-59 with 5:28 remaining. No doubt, a week of rest will only embolden Bryant's gave even more, given that his previous ineffectiveness mostly rooted in his injuries and how he and his teammates didn't always adjust properly to those injuries.

Pau Gasol's 33 points on 12 of 18 shooting along with 14 rebounds served as the third time in the four-game series he scored at least 20 points, and served as a rebounding effort from his 14 points on six of 12 shooting in Game 3. Though Utah still made a concerted effort to limit the Lakers' inside, Gasol offset that by sinking outside jumpers.

And Lakers guard Shannon Brown scored 12 points on five of 10 shooting, including two consecutive three-pointers. Though his contributions didn't serve as a game changer, it served as a welcome contrast than when the reserves struggled to maintain leads in Games 1 and 2. I've learned really not to take much from good performances from the bench, but Brown's performance at least served as a reminder of the reserves importance given Phoenix boasts a very dangerous bench.

The Lakers, of course, aren't without their problems, most notably Andrew Bynum's disappearing act (six points on two of six shooting). But the Lakers should feel satisfied with their post-season run knowing their improved play earned them a week off to rest, which should help Bynum's lateral meniscus in his right knee, and a week off to prepare, which should ensure better sustained efforts. When it comes down to it, the postseason involves finding a way to advance, good, bad or ugly. And for the time being, the Lakers have followed down that path. 

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries for a reverse layup against the defense of Utah forwards Paul Millsap (left) and Andrei Kirilenko (47) as well as guard Kyle Korver (background) in the first half Monday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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Pau postgame statements:

"Ouchhhh you're a clown looking for a girlfriend or become a fan of the Celtics"

well done champs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i expected Kobe to come out and not give them any chance. and Gasol had maybe the most assertive game in the playoffs. 4-0 and a week off maybe will help the bench to raise their confidence to a better level

beating a blue collar team like Utah sometimes is more difficult than beating a skilled team. plus their offense and all the movement and cuts directed by Bowlie Cut Chin Strap it is hard to defend.

the biggest disappointment in these playoffs - the Spurs

the biggest disappointment of the Lakers - Bynum - actually his attitude or maybe the no-energy he exuded during his short runs. sorry to spoil my positives above. but at times it was a little disgusting watching a player that is the Center of the champions. injuries or not.

i'm wondering how Willis Read's face was THEN?

maybe i'm asking too much? LakerTom taught me about high standards and EXPECTATIONS

and LOVE. oh, that's "phred"

i hope Kobe will do more photo shoots. and Ron will tweet for a week.

how else will MM entertain US for 7 Days????????????????? he better act like God. and start NOW! :-)

now we have no other choice than watch the CAVS-CELTICS. ( my fingers feel sticky and dirty just typing that. and with RALLY CAPS on, i will really have to take a shower. with bleach)

the NBA where Amazing Happens: 3 teams SWEEPT in the second round. Stern has a nightmare on his screen: dark and blank. how bout a game between the TNT crew vs. ESPN/ABC? now, that can be fun.

ouchhhhhhhh -- I'll try to find other ways to entertain you guys. I'll do my best

MM

Mark Medina entertaining us for 7 days with no games, and a series that could go down just like the last one one, a tought 4-0, Lakers taking it.

7 days, that should give us at least 35 Blog topics....and with everything on cruise control, we shall see the improv skills of Mr. Medina.

Mark, keep up the great work!!!!!!


Can there be any praise of Gasol that does not contain veiled criticism?

Gasol needs monster games to be acknowledged even a bit, and even when he does, his performance is usually diminished by writers and fans alike by two means:

a) lumping his performance with the other froncourt playes, so that a "Gasol 25/14, Bynum 15/8 and Odom 6/8" becomes a "The frontline combined for 46 points and 30 rebounds". And so you diminsh Gasol's performance (excellent)and augment Bynum's (merely good). You wouldn't dare to do the same with Kobe and Fisher, would you? Lump their stats and say "The backcourt dominated to the tune of...", and then not even mention Kobe individually, would you?

b) derogatively mentioning his last bad game (which are far and between, and which by the way, are still better tan the performance of 90% of the team that same game), so eliminating the suggestion of greatness. Like, in this series, he's had 3 great games and a "not so good game", and MM feels he must absolutely mention his only "not so good game". Shame on you Mark, shame on you.

You guys do not deserve Gasol. Most of you are Kobe/Bynums adorers first and foremost, only secondly Laker fans. So you are obviously conflicted, because you know you absolutely need Gasol to win anything (thus enhancing Kobe's legend and Bynum's recognition), but at the same time you seem to think that recognizing Gasol for what he really is (Kobe 1a, Gasol 1b, the rest 3 or less) diminishises the greatness of Kobe (he couldn't do it without an star bigman) and the prospect of Bynum (who is not even close to Gasol yet, except in some posters' minds).

This is the reality: Kobe cannot win it all without a big man of Gasol's (or Shaq's) talent. Gasol cannot win it all without a wing of Kobe's unquestionable greatness. Both have proved they can win it all together and without Bynum.

Stop hating Gasol: Lebron or Dwight Howard would cry of joy if they had him, while you on the other hand have long ago discounted his 20/10 as normal and even somehow, insufficiente (it is madness!!).

humanomaly - my improv skills? haha i like it

MM

THE LAKERS NEED TO LET GO BYNUM!!!

Hi folks! I've been MIA due to pregnancy but still lurk here but do not posts much since there are trolls that annoyed the crap out of me and then some posters who still diminishes Pau's importance to the team. Well i say great job Laker team for sweeping a very well coach Jazz team and by the way i agree with "Are the lakers a team or a one man show?" completely. YOu took the words out of my mouth. Half the Lakers fans, i feel, don't appreciate how important Pau is. WE all know that yes this is Kobe's team, but not forget.....it's a team sport and the rest of the team deserve props too especially Pau since he's been consistency and steady the whole year despite his hammy issues. Let's go Lakers! Let's destroy the Suns!

hyacinth - congrats on your newborn and i just wanted to express my gratitude on you commenting and contributing to the conversation. I also wanted to personally introduce myself, Mark Medina. I've been running the blog since Jan. and I'm always open to feedback.

MM

To are the lakers a team.....


I think you are wrong. This current Laker team is obviously a team one man show, is the GASOL TEAM. That is the Gasol Era and Pau Gasol is the reencarnation of Wilt Chamberlain and Russell ALL IN ONE. Shaq is a joke alongside Gasol, and Kobe Bryant is the truly co-star this current team. Pau Gasol is the new Team Leader with D-Fish and Phil agree with this new Pau´s role.


What's going on in here? We finally have the team playing great and have a great of opportunity of something really beautiful so why (some of you) are you picking on this player or that player? The ONLY thing we play for and we are focussed on are RINGS! Our players know that the only way they will be remembered is winning championships and the ONLY way to win championships is playing as a team and having the team united. Forget who is taller, who has more balls or whatever...WE ALL WIN and WE ALL LOSE...

Thanks Mark M. for the greeting and congratulations. I'm actually still pregnant but will be due soon hopefully before the finals hehehhe granted the Lakers get there. I actually had the pleasure of following you since you came on board. I'm been here on this blog since it started. I come here everyday to read the posts but don't posts much unless i have something to say. Let me tell you, you are doing a very good job! Keep it up.
To Ricky: settle down dude, don't get carried away. I love Pau as much as you do but don't compare him to Wilt and Russell. Pau is his own man, a very skilled and versatile player. I am grateful he's a Laker. I hate it when fans individualized players. Let's remember this is a team sport. Everyone counts! I root for all Lakers even Ammo despite him not playing much! It's annoying when bloggers like Lakertom always diminishes Pau's contribution to the team just to endorse Bynum more. I gave up on Lakertom a long time ago. I respect him but i get annoyed when he's always bragging about Bynum despite not playing consistently like Pau does. I want Bynum to be a beast but i just don't see it yet. In the meantime, we fans should be grateful we have Pau on our side. Kobe and Pau when playing well together is like the Ying and Yang...balance and power to our Laker team! Go Lakers!


By the way, this trend of worshipping or bashing one particular player and putting him in front of the team is bringing side effects.

Lakertom's praise for AB17 has "sensitized" Hobbit or Blitz (among many others) who are picking on every single detail of Drew's performance or even postgame comments, habits...whatever...

Same for the Kobe's and Gasol's worshippers and haters.

As a fan of Pau Gasol's game myself, I just hope ricky's radically biased comments don't dragged some of you to the dark side...



hyacinth, well said!

Make sure you have a good TV in the hospital as your baby doesn't want to miss the finals!!

What happens with Bynum. We need him NOW!!!!!!!! We need our starting center in shape and with great work spirit. Right now we have only 2 PO players and need a 3. In this 4 game LO has been correct, but we need and top3 scorer and rebounder (LO or Bynum) AND, of course, we need and big body patrolling the paint (Pau is crearly a PF) If Bynum cant be our C, maybe DJ........ but, please, someone patrolling the paing RIGHT NOWWWW.

To Ganapia,

No problem with the dark side of Hobbit and Company. Pau Gasol has been the most consistent player in this PO, and for me (Is my opinion obviously) the best player and mayte the new MVP finals.

Germà, amb aquest nickname segur que ets de la terra.

"I think you are wrong. This current Laker team is obviously a team one man show, is the GASOL TEAM. That is the Gasol Era and Pau Gasol is the reencarnation of Wilt Chamberlain and Russell ALL IN ONE. Shaq is a joke alongside Gasol, and Kobe Bryant is the truly co-star this current team. Pau Gasol is the new Team Leader with D-Fish and Phil agree with this new Pau´s role. "

To Ricky.....

Thanks for proving my point. Now you resort to ridiculing him. I never said in my post Gasol is the best player in the team... that's obviously Kobe. I never said he is Wilt Camberlain. That's you trying to diminsh him by comparing him to arguably one of the gretest centers of all time.

What I said is that he is clearly the 2nd best player and his contributions are totally irreplaceable (as are Kobe's), but Gasol is either ignored or diminished when he does well, or ridiculed when he does not so well.

And that the difficulty some people have to give him his due is because admitting he is a darn good big man would in some way tarnish Kobe´s achievements (which is absurd, no one can win a championship by himself, not even Jordan could) or show Bynum's not ready for prime time (which he still isn't, though his contributions are of course very valuable).

I think this is a measured and reasoned response. It would be more constructive if you did the same, lest this turn into a shouting mach (booooring! ;-).

to hyacinth..........

I am a Barcelones and for that i root for Pau vs. others bloggers that rooten against Pau. That is the "ying and yang", the balance. Kobe is the best player around the world???? No problem, but for me, Kobe is the SECOND best player in this Laker Team. Bynum is a BEAST???????. Maybe, but for me, he is a BESTITA PEQUEÑA (little beast) right now. You Know my point of view?????

The big difference is that i root for Pau, but not against everyone other laker player "in favor" of Pau. Here, in this blog, not everybody can said the same.

Well said "are the lakers...."

Wilt and Rusell are greaters players all time, but man, Pau Gasol, too. Maybe he cant have his T-Shirt up in the Staples, but for sure he will have in EL PALAU SANT JORDI DE BARCELONA, and, maybe, in Memphis Grizzlies Stadium. Pau Gasol not want the Lakers´Glory, i want the Basketball glory, specially in his Country, Spain, and in his core Club, F.C. Barcelona.

You think this current Laker Team is the "kobe Team", well, I have not problem with that, but i think we still in the PAU GASOL ERA in this Laker moment. For me, is Pau the Key Player, not kobe, and for sure, no Bynum. He is the silence leader, the franchise player in the shadow and he is the real cause of your happyness.

As per Ricky: Pau is the silence leader. Ricky, does it mean he falls silent when asked to lead?? :-)

He would have his jersey retired in FC Barca and Grizzlies, because he might be the best player ever there.

Here in Lakers we have the likes of Wilt, Kareem, Magic, West and down right to Shaq and Kobe.. All of these are better than your boy in terms of "value"....

If his "core" team is FC Barca, why did he come running to NBA?? For more money right?? Then you better call the team which is paying him as his "core" team!!

You comparing Wilt and Russell with Pau shows how much you know of them!!

Kobe is MJ, Gasol is Pippen. Is it cool now?

Gasol is MJ, Kobe is Pippen. Is it cool now? Good.

To all Gasol fans, we always appreciate what Pau has done. He has been instrumental to the Lakers success these past years. He has helped us A LOT during the past three years. As a matter of fact, the Lakers shouldn't have won last year's finals if Gasol wasn't there. Same goes with Kobe.

But, this is the Lakers and we all know who is the ALPHA DOG. I'm sure Pippen fans can all relate to you.


LAKERS WIN, WE WIN. Rest up Lakers! RECHARGE!!!

To Ganapia:

"The ONLY thing we play for and we are focussed on are RINGS!"

That was a darn good Jon K. impersonation!!!

Hey Charles Barkley??? Who's "old" now???

Good morning everyone!

Now that was refreshing - 2 victories on the road against a tough Utah team. It's good to see that we're keeping pace with the Jonses (Orlando and Phoenix).

MM - I would disagree on one thing - I wouldn't call Andrew's performance last night a disappearing act. He did have a couple of blocks early in the game that seemed to set the tone for the interior defense that was so effective in the first half.

I'll take his effort, especially when he was "showing" early on Pick-&-Roll defense. He hedged the screen enough to give Deron a second to pause, and sometimes that's good enough for the other 3 players to re-position themselves and prepare for a drive. It's going to get much tougher with Nash running things out there, as he runs that thing to perfection with Amar'e.

One thing that I hope we improve upon when Sasha gets back - the energy coming from the bench on a night-to-night basis. I watched game 3 between the Suns and the Spurs, and I haven't seen that kind of energy from their bench in quite a while. It reminds me of units like the pistons (when they had corliss williamson and jon berry); the kings (bobby jackson, gerald wallace, hedo, jim jackson, scot pollard); and ours during the 3-peat years.

They really seem to feed off of each other, and play for each other, and that Dragic kid was ROASTING everyone of the Spurs in the 4th quarter. Dudley and Amundson have TONS of energy, Leandro is still lightning quick, and Robin Lopez is expected to be back too.

I expect this series to be a battle. I also think that Orlando is going to smash whoever comes out of the Bos/Cle series in 5 games. Not getting the 2nd best record in the NBA might actually hurt this time around...

To Laker Citizen

Obviously for money. In Europe, BB is a secondary sport (soccer and rugby in some countries)

Wilt Chamberlain: In my opinion, THE BEST center ever, but a losser with a losser mentality.
Bill Russell: In my opinion, one of the greatest better center ever, and a winner.
Pau Gasol: One of the most skilled big men all times, and, of course, a real winner (word champion and MVP, European Champion and MVP, silver medal at olimpics, and NBA champions). He play only for win.

Please bloggers don't feed Ricky, as it lowers the level of this blog.

We all appreciate what Gasol represents for this team (I am from Barcelona myself), but Ricky's shouting and unbalanced comments clearly disturb any normal conversation.

Thanks

"how bout a game between the TNT crew vs. ESPN/ABC?"

Ouchhhhh - Only if it's a deathmatch.

Hey, I don't care who you are, Pau/Kobe or Kobe/Pau, they were awesome (for the half I was able to watch anyway) last night. Pau looked like he had a string on the ball and Kobe was just measuring every move. I find Kobe/Pau much more entertaining than I ever found Kobe/Shaq.

JR

People sure paint with broad strokes when characterizing fans of any sport or any particular team. This isn't politics. Though many may view this as some sort of tribal experience where we all take sides down to which we player believe is best for the team, we Laker fans are allowed to criticize or applaud players at will. It doesn't mean we take sides or deserve players or not because we don't appreciate them or gush with compliments for every game.

Kobe is great, we are lucky to have the great center from Spain, we are lucky to have an outside the box coach for 2 tenures. Most of all, we have an owner that knows that you can't win without the right cards in play. Overall, who can't be satisfied with 3 year dominance over the West, 2 finals appearances, and 1 pending? Following a 3peat earlier this decade?

Pau Gasol is the playoff's MVP at this time. As bad as he was during the season, he's playing like a monster now. This is because he doesn't have a larger, thug type front line to contend with.

Amare will not fit the bill as a thug defender, so Pau will have his way with the Suns as well. If we could neutralize D. Williams and that fast Okl guard, then we should be able to handle Nash. The Suns don't have the size to take on the Lakers front line, and the week long rest will do wonders for Bynum. With everyone clicking on the Lakers, including Fish, surprisingly, I don't see the Susn posing much of a threat. Yes, they will have a game or two of phenomenal shooting, but that will be it.

Lakers in 6

Stayed up to watch the entire game (not easy on the East Coast, particularly at my age!) and was generally pleased. Kobe and Pau obviously fantastic and great bench contributions in the first half, with some more from Shannon in the second. I was a little surprised by two things:

1. Low number of assists. I actually thought there were more.
2. Utah starting its (predictable) run at the end of the first half. I th0ught things changed when Phil subbed out Kobe with a couple of minutes left. Did anyone else notice that? Seemed like the lead dropped from 22 to 17 points in the blink of an eye.

We all knew the Jazz would come back -- I'm not sure that's due to complacency, execution, or simply basketball dynamics -- but I never felt like the Jazz had a real chance. Kobe had a nice stretch, then Pau, with some great contributions from Fish and Shannon to close things out.

As for the Suns, I'd like to see the Lakers try to get Bynum and Artest involved early at home, sort of the way things used to roll with Shaq. Would be good to get consistent production from those two.

All in all a great series.

Whatever happened to the good ole days when fans were happy that their team swept a series?

Yes Mark G. Everyone's an expert now by finding something wrong with 1 player or another or wrong with the way we root or criticize a player.

Unfortunately, its the nature of this blog...polarization. I'm happy to have seen the Lakers sweep and prove me wrong (I said Lakers in 5).

Utah Usuc. Not the Jazz, they are a class act. Utah, them that gives America a bad name. I have only one word for all y'all. Fisher.

And the one word from Kobe I give to Phoenix, healthy.

GO LAKERS ! ! ! ! !

KB Blitz,

you post starting off with: how dare you! We didn't come to see no KoME or GaSoft.

made me smile.

Ricky,

I want to be clear about this. I think that Pau is a fantastic player and have
from the beginning. That being said, you're not answering questions that I
ask you. Your posts are nothing but Pau worship.

Please don't address anymore posts to me. Thanks.

Cue the bandwagon vans. Even Plaschke is ready to jump on board.


Utah was one of the best teams in the league all season. The injuries to Okur and Kirilenko hurt them a lot. Still, the Jazz beat Denver soundly. And any time you sweep a Jerry Sloan coached Jazz team you are playing well. This is the first Sloan sweep has ever experienced in all these years.


The Lakers had so many worries coming into the playoffs, but the biggest was Kobe's health. He looked very limited against OKC, but he looked a ton better against Utah, and now has a week off. Kobe is now ready to defend the title, so the Lakers are ready. Kobe is what makes the Lakers special.


We have also seen Gasol playing huge, especially in the clutch. When Utah made it's final push last night, he just closed the door on them. With Kobe resting. Artest has played great defense as promised. Fisher raised his game to a playoff level a lot of us weren't sure he had left, shooting well, drawing fouls and getting his hands on the ball over and over again on defense.


Bynum has been inconsistent - dominating and disappearing. A cause for concern. Though even last night he made some big plays defensively, blocking and altering shots, and grabbed 7 boards in 25 minutes. But the Lakers will need more if they get to the Finals against Orlando, Cleveland or Boston, who have real inside games.


The bench is getting there. Odom has played better the last couple of games. Shannon Brown has started to step up. Luke is now there to give a few minutes of solid, if unpectacular, play. Phil has changed his rotations and is playing his starters more, and the guys he is calling on are looking better on the floor with the starters.


This team is gelling. I think the Sun sets, and this team that started the playoffs with so many questions is headed back to the NBA Finals. Orlando looks like the team to beat in East.

Now, while we prepare for the lengthy buildup to the Western Conference finals, there's another word to keep in mind for the Lakers: vengeful.

As much as the Suns wanted to erase their decade of futility against the Spurs, the Lakers still are bitter about losing to the Suns in the 2006 and 2007 playoffs.

"We've still got guys that remember it," Odom said. "Ask Kobe about it."

We did.

"What you think?" Bryant shot back. "You already know."

So yes, in addition to their height advantage and their ability to handle the Suns over the past couple of seasons, the Lakers are also bringing an attitude with them. One last description, then, for the Lakers: determined.

Mark G,

Great question!

I was thinking about the blog this morning, trying to recall whether or not it was around back in the 2006 playoffs. Perhaps some of the old timers remember? I have a vague recollection of reading posts about the infamous 3-1 series lead against Phoenix that went up in smoke? That was true angst!

I know the blog was around the next season, as that was the year of the Jackson Journals. Seems like a picnic compared to those days, shortly followed by the summer of Kobe's discontent.

A week without a game?

My Lakeraholicism is already kicking in.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Looking forward to seeing us knock out the Suns. A few thoughts:
Bynum, Gasol, Lamar and Odom up front has got to be giving nightmares to Gentry.
Sasha might be of some help in this series. Maybe he can keep Dragic from going off.
Who's Artest going to guard? JRich or Grant Hill? Maybe even Amare?
Who's going to guard Barbosa? Hopefully Brown or Farmar can stay in front of him.
A rested Kobe is bad news for Phoenix, especially w/o Raja Bell.
I say let Nash shoot but clog his passing lanes.
If we rule the boards, we win easily.


#4, hyacinth (welcome back -- long time no see!), et al,

Not everyone on this blog denigrates a player to prop up their own favorite Laker. I for one have been supportive of all Lakers on the roster. I am a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool, incorrigible, irrefutable, and shameless Homer of the First Degree. I have also been here since the start.

There are others who blog here who act and think the same; hobbitmage (Sage), JustAnotherMambaFan (my Oracle), Faith (from whom I haven't heard for awhile), Zaira (the Poet Goddess), and others who I'm currently forgetting to give credit to. Those of which you speak are a mere subset of our blog community. Be careful when you use too broad a brush to paint the intricacies of our collective personality.

I, for one, feel we need a little of every type to keep this place interesting. We even need a pregnant lady (or two). ;P

--FEARless

I meant Bynum, Gasol, Artest and Odom.

*
CONGRATS. ON THE EXPECTED NEW BABY HYACINTH – BANDWAGON
Hi folks! I've been MIA due to pregnancy but still lurk here but do not posts much since there are trolls that annoyed the crap out of me. I'm actually still pregnant but will be due soon hopefully before the finals hehehhe granted the Lakers get there.
*
(01) MARK MEDINA – OWNER - hyacinth - congrats on your newborn and i just wanted to express my gratitude on you commenting and contributing to the conversation. I also wanted to personally introduce myself, Mark Medina. I've been running the blog since Jan. and I'm always open to feedback.
(02) GANAPIA – DRIVER - Make sure you have a good TV in the hospital as your baby doesn't want to miss the finals!!
(03) RICKY – RIDING SHOTGUN - Congrats Hyacinth
(04) #4
(05) MAMBA24 – Hyacinth I understand how the Trolls can make blogging some times a lill distasteful But we need your voice. So when the Blessed event comes and the newest Laker fan arrives, when you are up to it Come on back.

Oh man am I ever pumped up for the Western Conference Finals!! Lakers vs Suns and both teams just swept their round two opponent!! Unheard of! I can’t wait to see this get under way, but I think the size of the Lakers will be the difference just like it was against Utah… here is proof with a preview: http://www.lionsdenu.com/nba-playoffs-western-conference-final-los-angeles-lakers-vs-phoenix-suns/
It’d be nice to see Nash finally get to the Finals but the Lakers are just too good. They have it all, coaching, star talent, bench, the list goes on…

"Pau Gasol is the playoff's MVP at this time. As bad as he was during the season, he's playing like a monster now. This is because he doesn't have a larger, thug type front line to contend with."
Posted by: troy | May 11, 2010 at 06:28 AM

Gasol was named All-NBA for the second year in a row, despite nagging injuries all year and dealing with the ego of Kobe "The Hero" Bryant. Really don't see where he was "bad" this season. Gasol gets little respect in LA.


Oh, please do throw me onto the Hyacinth bandwagon without any further ado. Hers is a voice that we absolutely need here, when the bun is ready, of course.

--FEARless

Pau Gasol could be the MVP this years in the Finals. Hes game right now is a great level. His jumpshoots remembering me his time with F.C. Barcelona (he was and true shooting guard). Hes game is too easy, and is in good shape. In this moment, i think Pau is in the same page that Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem, but with a better BB IQ and better leadership.

I have a last thought. Pau Gasol will be moving to shooting guard position. He is the second best shooter, after Kobe.

So where's jimjoyce?

There were these comments that Kobe sucked as a teammate.
Yet, there's a lovely photo of him talking with Pau during the Utah
beatdown.

I caution you guys not to fall in love with the "Let Nash Shoot" strategy too much. It can help in spurts, or at specific times during games, but as even Kobe admits, Nash is the only real pure shooter in the NBA. Kobe says that Nash's shooting prowess scare him. This is the Black Mamba were are talking about here, folks.

Our defensive schemes will have to be varied and creative and aggressive if we want to actually slow Phoenix down. However, people, remember your past history, we don't always beat Phoenix with defense. Phoenix is a team that we can score against. We have also beat them in the past by playing their style of ball. It is not preferred, but we can and probably will have to do it at least once to smite this enemy. Especially on the road.

All of us must be of the mindset of water. Our game plan must have no shape, but be shaped by the container in which it is held. Our game plan must inundate and saturate the the cracks and crevices of our opponents stratagem.

Then, at the right time, we harden, fracturing those cracks and shattering the heart, soul, and aspiration of the Desert Sun. Once again. Although water takes the path of least resistance, sometimes water carves into the hardest rock on earth and makes Half-Dome. Sometimes water chisels out the largest scar on the surface of the planet called the Grand Canyon.

Sometimes.

Sometimes water can make an entire city, nah an entire culture just go away.

Like the Lakers are about to make the Valley of the Sun...set. And move onto the next round of the playoffs.

But, mark my words, we will usually have to rely on stopping Phoenix from scoring. But at least once, we're going to show that we can also outscore them if need be.

--FEARless

Declared my vacation last night but came back just to greet Hyacinth forthcoming baby Laker fan. Cheers and God speed. Once you get into labor, don't hate your husband, just yell on the top of your lungs - GO LAKERS...more repeat are coming. lol!

Pau Gasol could be the MVP this years in the Finals. Hes game right now is a great level. His jumpshoots remembering me his time with F.C. Barcelona (he was and true shooting guard). Hes game is too easy, and is in good shape. In this moment, i think Pau is in the same page that Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem, but with a better BB IQ and better leadership.

Posted by: Ricky | May 11, 2010 at 09:01 AM

I have a last thought. Pau Gasol will be moving to shooting guard position. He is the second best shooter, after Kobe.

Posted by: Ricky | May 11, 2010 at 09:04 AM

Ricky, I am so glad that you are a follower of Pau. I hope you post here lots, because every Laker deserves a Homer. I am the Homer for Fish. Others here blindly back Drew, Farmar, Brown, Artest, LO, Sasha, and even Ammo who doesn't even play.

So please, continue to post. I welcome your thoughts.

But -- no this is bigger that,

BUT, I must come to the defense of the Captain. There is no what in Hades that any person can assert that Pau has a larger BB IQ than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. No one can ever question his leadership, either.

This is a severely abridged list of his accomplishments:

1) Three-time NCAA Champion
2) Two-time NCAA Player of the Year
3) First ever Naismith Award Winner
4) Rookie of the Year (1970)
5) Six-time NBA champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
6) Most Valuable Player (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980)
7) Finals Most Valuable Player (1971, 1985)
8) Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" (1985)
9) One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)
10) First player in NBA history to play 20 seasons

When Pau's resume approaches this, then maybe we can entertain those thoughts of yours. BTW, not even MJ or Kobe can quite match what this man has done, put together. Now, both Kobe and MJ can top Kareem in particular categories, but neither can quite match his complete body of work.

Pau has a LOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG way to go.

--FEARless

Art -FL Lakers Fan,

Remember when I said that Bynum can be taken out of the game?

Does that statement make more sense now?

Congratulation to my fellow Lady (Laker Lover and Muse fan!!!) hyacinth for the awesome pregnancy!!!!

I admire anyone who decides to embark in the most beautiful yet most difficult of all human tasks: parenthood.

Congratulations and lotta, lotta lotta love!!!!

Of course put me in the apt bandwagon Mamba ;)

>>> That is the Gasol Era and Pau Gasol is the reencarnation of Wilt
>>>Chamberlain and Russell ALL IN ONE. Shaq is a joke alongside Gasol, and
>>>Kobe Bryant is the truly co-star this current team.

Never seen an NBA game before this year, Ricky?

Your statements sure seem to indicate that. Right now Pau is clearly Kobe's sidekick. If they play together 4 or 5 more years and Kobe's age catches up with him, then by the end, Pau may be the leader and Kobe may be the sidekick (that assumes Bynum doesn't pass them BOTH by that time).

It's practically sacrilegious to compare Pau to Champberlain, Russell, and Shaq. At this point Pau is like a child crawling in their shadows. Worthy of note, but not on their level.

If Pau and Kobe can manage to win championships together 3 of the next 4 years, then maybe we'll discuss who to kick out of the top 50 of all time to make room for Pau (probably a Celtic).

But unless Pau starts averaging 30 and 15 a game and DOMINATING his opponent on defense for the rest of his playoff career, you can forget about comparing him to Shaq. And unless he wins 10 more championships, you can forget about comparing him to Russell. And unless he averages 50 points per game for a full season, you can forget about comparing him to Wilt.

If you continue to make these ridiculous assertions, you'll just make yourself look more and more like a clown.

Art -FL Lakers Fan,
Remember when I said that Bynum can be taken out of the game?
Does that statement make more sense now?
Posted by: hobbitmage | May 11, 2010 at 09:36 AM
================

Hobbitmage,

Umm, actually, no I don't remember.
Not being difficult, but after reading hundreds of posts almost daily I kinda forget who said what about what sometimes.
Older age memory issues maybe, both a blessing and a curse, lol.
So, I'm not really sure what were the previous points being made.
But you are welcome to refresh the issue if you like.

I like Bynum. I like what he adds to the mix. I think he has potential still.
But then, I like Kobe and Gasol and Fish and Ron and really everyone else on the team for different reasons.
I also get frustrated with them sometimes. I have gotten frustrated with every player on the team at one time or another during the season.
Typical fan I reckon.
Sure, it would be great if we could upgrade a bit, but we are going to have a hard time acquiring quality players.

While I have said before I like Bynum I don't think I have ever said we must have Bynum to win or he was the key to the Lakers success, but he does add some more flexibility and depth to the team in a good way.


Thank you Mamba24, Fearless, Zaira, Edwin, among others for the congratulations! #1 baby Laker fan will out soon. Hopefully it's a smooth birth. Go Lakers!!

>>>week long rest will do wonders for Bynum.

Sadly, I don't think that's the case. Having had a torn meniscus myself, I can tell you that it's not just going to heal itself in a week, or anything like that. Until he gets surgery and rests for a couple of weeks, he'll never be at full strength.

But if Bynum can continue to play through the pain and contribute a little on both sides of the ball, then he's contributing to the Lakers winning. Bynum a little bit hobbled by a knee injury makes a MUCH bigger difference on the floor than DJ MBenga at full health.

>>>Gasol gets little respect in LA.

No, Gasol gets a TON of respect in LA.

I remember the day when the Lakers traded for him. I seriously thought it was a JOKE when I first read that the Grizzlies traded us Pau for Kwame Brown. I could not possibly believe that the Lakers could get such a great player for such a stiff.

Of course, Pau got no respect from Mike T. Pau had no magnificent calves, and the Lakers had traded away Mike T's favorite player to get him.

But pretty much every other blogger embraced Pau and welcomed him to the team and reveled in the fact that the Lakers had gone from a challenger to one of the favorites.

It's ridiculous to compare Pau to Shaq or Wilt at this point, or to say he's the alpha player on the Lakers. And I will argue against such silly assertions. But I'm very happy and grateful for his excellent contributions to the current (and future) champion L.A. Lakers.

Viva Pau!

To LTLF,

O.K., man, you are in the right way, absolutly.

Ricky,

What all those other guys said...especially LTLF.

JR


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