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Lakers improve in several areas during team's seven-game winning streak

The Lakers and their fans alike would never have thought so at the time. But upon looking back, Pau Gasol believes the Lakers'  111-87 Game 4 first-round loss to Oklahoma City propelled their current seven-game winning streak.

"We understood what it took from each and every one of us as far as how to get it done," Gasol said. "It took a couple of bad losses to understand that we really needed to play our best game and bring our focus and intensity in every single game and every single play. Once we did that, we went to another level."

Since then, the Lakers took two games from Oklahoma City, swept the Utah Jazz in the semifinals and imposed their will in a 128-107 Game 1 Western Conference Finals victory Monday over the Phoenix Suns. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson expects the Suns to have a much better effort. He believes they'll attempt to double more on Kobe Bryant. He believes Phoenix's 5-of-22 clip from three-point range in Game 1 reflected an off shooting night considering the Suns entered the series leading the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage. And Bryant contended the Lakers still have a long way to go before securing seven more wins en route to a second consecutive title.

But there's no denying the Lakers are a much better team than when the City of Angels went under martial law because the Thunder tied its first-round series with the Lakers at 2-2.

Apparently, Lakers forward Ron Artest disagrees with the assertion the team changed its identity. "I think we're playing the same way," Artest said. "That Oklahoma team is pretty good."

You don't always need statistics to prove Artest is wrong, but it doesn't hurt to do so anyway. The Lakers' margin of victory in these past seven games has reached 11 points, and three of those wins came by double digits. Bryant has scored at least 30 points in the past six games, including a 40-point effort in Game 1 against Phoenix, a string of performances Bryant credits to better health in his swollen right knee. Gasol has scored at least 20 points in five of the seven wins. Artest's shooting improved from 30% in the first four games against Oklahoma City to 42.6% in the past seven games. Lakers guard Derek Fisher improved a tad too, going from a 40.5% clip to a 46.9% mark.

After allowing Oklahoma City to average 18 fast-break points in the first four games, the Lakers yielded an average of 8.28 points in transition, including limiting the Suns in Game 1 to four fast-break points. After the Thunder out-rebounded the Lakers in their Games 3 and 4 losses, the Lakers have dominated the glass in the remaining seven games by an average margin of four rebounds. The Jazz out-rebounded the Lakers twice in Games 3 and 4, but the Lakers overwhelmed them on the glass in Game 2, 58-40.

Part of the resurgence has to do with the fact that Utah and Phoenix don't have the size to counteract the Lakers' length. But part of the resurgence has to do with the Lakers managing the tempo better with an improved effort in shot selection and effort.

Said Jackson: "At that particular time, we were struggling with choice of shots and defensive transition and the attentiveness it requires."

--Mark Medina

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

 
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Little Lieutenant,

LOL! LOL LOL LOL!

LOL, LOL; LOL LOL LOL LOL!

LOL!

Little Lieutenant,
As deep as a rain puddle.
Shallow grave, undone.

Go Lake Show!

"Ah justanothermambafan, you have learned well. The force is strong in you. That's not just gas you feel inside. Now concentrate. Focus. Use all your thoughts to guide your hand. That's it! Now reach out and pinch Fatty"
- Obe-won-koe-Fatty

Somehow this post just doesn't sound right


Posted by: ChicNstu

Main Objective: Plant the Seed.

Phil has planted his seed in Nash.

Lamar has planted his seed in Amare.

Shannon has planted his seed in Richardson.

Today Bynum shall plant his seed in Lopez.

LOCK N" LOAD LAKER NATION!


"

Somehow this post just doesn't sound right


Posted by: ChicNstu

Main Objective: Plant the Seed.

Phil has planted his seed in Nash.

Lamar has planted his seed in Amare.

Shannon has planted his seed in Richardson.

Today Bynum shall plant his seed in Lopez.

LOCK N" LOAD LAKER NATION!


Posted by: You Ever Notice | May 19, 2010 at 03:57 PM"


Seriously.

Amare says, it still was just luck. But Gentry doesn't know what it was......

"I said, 'Listen, let's hope that we have a lot of lucky guys today,' " Gentry joked. "Nineteen points and 19 rebounds is not a lucky night. We know that. It's just ... I don't know what it is...."

If he doesn't have a clue, how is he going to stop Lamar?

I see Lamar having 12 pts and 10 rebs tonight. Down from last game because that's what Lamar does.

They focus on Lamar, somebody else will have a big night. That's just how it is.
Maybe Artest, Bynum, or Fisher will have a big night. Aside from Kobe and Gasol of course.

Fatty - let's be clear about something - there ain't gonna be no pinching - no way - no how - not ever.

Ok?

LMAO!!


(GREAT to have you back!)

There are omens everywere. Today I got word that Holts Cigar Co. is honoring a 4 year old complaint of mine. I lost my bonus points when I was overseas in 2006 so I never collected my free cigars I ad earned from loyal servise over the years. There was some trouble findig them back then, and I let it go. Long story short, today, I remeberd the missing produt (since I'm so poor), and on a whim called up Holts to see ifthey'd do anything about this prblem....and they decided to ship me an AshtovVSG 5 cigar sampler pack! Wow. That's customer service...or more. Is it fate? If it takes 5 days fr the cigars to get here, the lakers may very well be 5 wins away from another ring -- one cigar per win. This mustr be destiny, though I don't beieve in desiny or predestination or any of that. Still....wow.


Wes

I kind of agree with Artest: that OKC team was pretty good. They did a really good job of preventing the ball from going into the post. Those young legs had enough in them to prevent the ball from going into the post and getting back to their man!

That's the kind of defense the Celtics are playing against Orlando. We'll see if it works against the Lakers given that we have Kobe and two big man inside.

Can't wait for tonight's game! C'mon Lamar, show them what luck really is!

E,


Yep, the Celtics have been very good at not allowing anyone in the paint while mostly using single-team coverage (from what I can tell). They do cheat a bit on every 3rd drive or so. I think the idea is to never give Howard the same look whileaking sure the shooters aren't left free.


I hope all the Lakers fans here are watcing the Celtic defense becasue we're going to have to come up wih a plan to solve it. And right now it's looking flawlss. They look so young hopping from player to player. I saw Big Baby, Rasheed and KG all gaurd Howard 1 on 1 in a short span.


If we do get the Celtics, game one is going to be our deathmatch. Everthing goes in that one.


Wes

You Ever Notice/LTLF.

Do you have a problem with my post? Do you not understand that PJ has played mind games with Nash and maybe taken him out of his game just a little? What about Amare. Do you think the comment Amare made about LO getting lucky had truth to it? Or, was it that Lo had put doubt into Amare head with his huge game? Shannon, well Shannon made a unbelievable dunk on JRich. What do you think was going through Richardsons head after Shannon posterized him?The only Suns player that still believes they can win is probably the young Center Lopez. If Drew or Pau take him to school tonight this series is all but over.

Like i posted in my reponse to Justa. I was not implying anything.

I hope that explains it all to you.

Wow, Webber on TNT really ran down the Suns for not playing D. McKale jumped in and agreed.

Wes,

I suggest we apply the 'Rondo Rules':

1) Rondo doesn't hold the ball for longer than 5 seconds.

2) Always put a body in front of Rondo.

3) Disrupt Rondo play-making ability by making him pickup his dribble early.

4) Hard fouls on every drive to the the basket.

The only active moving target is Rondo, the rest are stiff and spot-up shooters.

add some more to this list if you want to.

I meant to address that post to:You Ever Notice/LTLL. Sorry LTLF

ChicNstu

No problem. Your observation of the Lakers planting their seed into the the Suns was very revealing.

And on the offense side:

1) The Lakers need to trust their big guys to do their damage and draw those fouls from Celtics bigs as early as possible.

2) Lakers have to establish their outside game to spread the defense.

3) Celtics are fouling hard in the paint, it doesn't hurt if the lakers put a little hollywood to get a flagrant foul call whenever possible.

4)A high dosage of Kobe and Pau pick-and-roll.

Add more to the list...

You Ever Notice.

All is good. Welcome Back!

Jon K, start the prayers for Series 3, Game 2.

I would like to quote a poem for our Lakers today:

Jason Richardson to the right of them,
Channing Frye to left of the
Steve Nash in front of them
Volley'd and thnder'd from Amare
Storm'd with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the 12 gallant Lakers

--With apologies in quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson in
"The Charge of te Light Brigade"

Wes,

I agree with your assessment of the Celtics defense, but Orlando hasn't really helped their own cause by just standing around on the perimeter hoping to shoot three pointers. I've said all along, that teams with gimmick offensive schemes won't win a title. Orlando had very little player and ball movement last night, and when they did, they had success as Van Gundy said in his post-game press conference. The frustrating thing about Orlando is, besides Howard and Gortat, no one else crashes the boards. As a Sonic, Rashard Lewis used to post up and drive to the basket, but now hovers around the perimeter all game long. The Magic had no one cutting to the basket or baseline to make the Celtics move around. Redick was trying really hard, but overdribbled many times, and Barnes kept getting his weak putbacks swatted away. I give the Celtics defense a lot of credit, but some of it was the Magic not playing smart. Until the Magic land a PF who can help Howard in the paint, they will not win a title.

Until the Magic land a PF who can help Howard in the paint, they will not win a title.

Posted by: Nemaia Faletogo | May 19, 2010 at 06:06 PM

Agreed. The funny part is, they may already have one on their bench in Brandon Bass. I've always liked his game. A lot of times, a coach will appease his owners by playing the guy who's making the most money, even if said guy is playing poorly. Coaches are also reluctant to change too much in the middle of a series. IMO, Bass should be taking some of Rashard Lewis' minutes. It's worth a gamble. Lewis has been very ineffective in the first 2 games of that series.


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