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Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Post Game Wrap

Lakers 118, Atlanta 110: Eat a peach

At best, it helps clear the memory of Friday's pre-Halloween horror show. At worst, it takes the edge off a Monday morning. Particularly one accompanied by an iconic Allman Brothers album.

More stuff below, filled with (as that cute kid from those new Windows commercial calls them) lots of happy words.

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Mavericks 94, Lakers 80: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

That'll take some shine off Tuesday's ring ceremony, no?

More commentary below.

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Lakers 99, Magic 86: NBA Champions!!!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...


Press this snapshot's value up to a cool mil.  Why should Laker fans shortchange themselves?

The breakdown is below.

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Lakers 99, Magic 91: Don't plan on forgetting where you were when it happened

I mean, I remember where I was when Slava Medvedenko once got so goofy dribbling the ball during a meaningless regular season game that Stu Lantz actually paused for a good 1-2 seconds before finally asking, "What is he doing?"

Sitting on the floor in the living room of the apartment shared by the K Brothers from 1998-2004.

If that memory still remains clear, I'll go out on a limb and predict the one captured below will retain such specificity of locale.

Yeah, that was kinda cool...

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Lakers 101, Magic 96: Chills, spills, and thrills!

Great line from Shannon Brown. Asked if he was holding his breath as rookie Courtney Lee missed a wide open, potentially game winning layup, which led to OT and an eventual Laker win, Brown shook his head and smiled.

"I wanted to live."

Thanks to the play of a few players (including one praised in the video below), the Lakers are not only living, but doing so in large fashion as they head to Orlando.

The breakdown is below.

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Lakers 100, Magic 75: An outcome that would make Doug Henning cry

Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers used the Orlando Magic as their prop.  We used "Matt."

The breakdown is below the jump.

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Lakers 119, Denver 92: Rolling to the Finals

Kobe Bryant dunks in Game 6 of the Western Confe

It started in Game 5.  The Lakers played intelligent, aggressive basketball for 48 minutes (or very nearly, at least), recognizing what was being offered by the opposition, methodically and repeatedly- not always a given for this bunch- taking advantage.  All that while they raised the bar in the second half with some high level D.

Well, what was a very satisfying treat for Lakers fans Wednesday night turned out to be the appetizer. Tonight, in LA's 119-92 smackdown of the Denver Nuggets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals they, to extend the food metaphor, got a night at the steakhouse- I prefer a bone-in ribeye- complete with all the appropriate sides and a chocolate souffle to finish things off.  Everything was clicking, from an active and committed defense that held the Nuggets to 41% shooting through three quarter, to an impressively efficient and patient offense. 

You know, that same offense that had hoops analysts (myself included) schoolgirl giddy for the first couple months of the season and has made only periodic appearances during the Playoffs.  The one where things flow to the point it's amazing folks don't slip on the floor, the machine is so well oiled. 

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Lakers 103, Denver 94: Game 5 comes alive like Peter Frampton without the 70's hair and talk-box

With 5:12 left in the third quarter in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers found Lamar Odom celebrates in Game 5 against Denver themselves down by seven after a Dahntay Jones putback of Carmelo Anthony's missed finger roll- second chance points for the Nuggets being no stranger to this series- and faced a crossroads in their season.  More points for the Nuggets, and LA could very well head back to the Rockies down a game, needing two straight wins to advance to the Finals.  Instead, the Lakers, who have been on the defensive for much of the series, got defensive.  Over the final  4:20 of the quarter, LA blocked two shots, forced four turnovers, held the Nuggets to five points, and tied the game at 76.  Rather than relax, they carried the momentum into the fourth, ripping off 11 points before the Nuggets responded with even a point.  By then, the purple and gold had established control, and the game was theirs.

Final score, 103-94, giving the Lakers a 3-2 lead heading to Friday's Game 6 at Pepsi Center.  Unlike other games in this series, LA won this with defense and a patient, well executed, and utterly balanced offensive effort.  They looked much less like the team needing the Kobe Bryant, Superman Edition to bail them out, much more like the group that shredded opposing defenses in a variety of ways with a variety of dudes over the course of the season.  

It's hard to overstate the importance of tonight's game.  Huge.  Massive.  Gigantic.  If it was a fossil in the Natural History Museum, they'd call it Ginormasaurus and children would visit it on school field trips.  And with their backs against the wall, a team that some declared is without substantial fortitude, whether intestinal or... slightly lower down the body, shut the door on an explosive Denver team and kept control of the series. 

The breakdown- a very happy, breakdown filled with purple and gold hardwood treats- is below.  Do you feel like we do?  I bet so, Lakers fan.  Oh, I bet so.

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Nuggets 120, Lakers 101: A round of IV drips for all my friends!!!

Lakers dejected After a Game 3 spectacular 41-point performance made even more remarkable by its well rounded additional contributions, Kobe Bryant had- as the saying goes- "left everything on the floor."  So much was spilled, in fact, that Kobe appeared on the verge of keeling over during a postgame interview with ESPN's Doris Burke.  I grew genuinely worried that one more follow up question would have resulted in Burke conducting Bryant's eulogy for the network's highest rated episode of "Outside The Lines."  Thus, it was no surprise to hear that Bryant was immediately hooked up to an IV drip for a dose of fluids upon hitting the Pepsi Center visitor's locker room. 

Perhaps Kobe should have handed trainer Gary Vitti his credit card and hosted the medical equivalent of an open bar, because the entire team appeared in need of a pick me up cocktail.

Climbing back into Saturday's game after being down eight at the final frame's start would a taxing proposition in most settings, much less while gasping for breath in Denver's thin air.  It also would be equally difficult under most circumstances, much less those that include lingering injuries for Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza.  As ESPN's J.A. Adande noted, dudes were looking more black and blue than purple and gold.   And don't discount a fatigue factor this deep into the month of May, which Kobe admitted could be affected some younger Lakers less seasoned in postseason rigors. 

"You gotta push through it," insisted Kobe.  "As a young team, when you have a 2-1 series lead, there's kind of the attitude where every play is not as important.  When you're tired, you say, I don't have to get that ball or don't have to get on the floor for that loose ball, as opposed to taking every possession as if its' the last possession, like we did in the third game."

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Lakers win Game 3: Thin air, meaty effort

First things first: Kobe Bryant is really, really, really good at basketball.  Like, seriously outstanding at Kobe Bryant scores in Game 3 against Denv it.  This is not news, of course, but bears repeating after his 41 point performance Saturday night in Denver, as the Lakers beat the Nuggets 103-97 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, taking a 2-1 advantage in the series and regaining home court advantage. 

The final line- 12-24 from the floor, 2-5 from downtown, 15-17 from the stripe, six boards, five dimes, two steals- was impressive, but this wasn't one of those silky smooth performances where he cuts through the opposition like the proverbial hot knife through butter.  No.  Dude earned this one, using every ounce of energy in the tank in his 41:13 of playing time.  As he delivered his postgame interview with ESPN's Doris Burke, Kobe was leaning over hard, and not just because she's shorter than him.  It looked like he lacked the energy and oxygen to get the words out. 

"I couldn't feel my legs.  Not at all," Kobe said of his late-game fatigue.  "But you gotta do what you gotta do." 

Indeed.  At times, "what you gotta do" was driving the lane.  Other times, posting up or working the baseline, and biggest of all (insofar as iconic highlights go), canning a ludicrously clutch triple over the momentarily not-stretched out arms of JR Smith on the left wing, putting the Lakers up by one with 1:09 to play.  My favorite moment, though, came late, when he was sent to the line with 22 seconds to go and the Lakers up by two, with a chance to put a hammer lock on the game.  Stepping to the line, clearly exhausted, he gathered himself, taking just a few more moments than normal to quiet his tired body and focus the last of his energy on two final shots.  The "easiest" ones in basketball, so they say. 

Cord.  Cord.  Lakers by four.  For all the spectacular play he delivered in the first 47:38, it was there where we saw just how much effort it takes to be Kobe Bryant.

He wasn't alone, though. 

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