Credits 5/20/09

  • Whew!  What a nerve racking game.  Lakers win 105-103.  We are now 11-1 against the Nuggets in the past 2 seasons, but if Game 1 is any indication, these Nuggets are much improved.
  • I really like Anthony Carter and Dahntay Jones.
  • Kobe Bryant.  Where crunchtime happens.  18 pts in the 4th quarter?  I haven't see him that energetic in a while.  He was possessed.  He put the Lakers on his back...
  • ...because once again pau, bynum and lo were inconsistent. (That's being nice.  They don't deserve capital letters when they play like that.)  "I felt like the first half, their frontcourt really dominated us," Kobe said.
  • pau?  Why are you catching the ball in the pinch post and looking to pass.  Get deep, use your moves, earn some fouls.  Our offense struggles when you are shy.  As great as it is to watch, we don't want Kobe to have to score 18 pts in the 4th to secure a win.  Man up.  It's Kenyon Martin.
  • And STOP letting Nene Hilario dunk everytime he gets it. (He's not good enough for one name.  Neither is this moron.)
  • Fish hit two huge 3's.  Way to bounce back.  We need you.
  • If Trevor's going to get eaten alive by 'Melo, we need to see more of Luke, but Trevor earned his capital T with a big 3 the steal.
  • 'Melo was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.
  • It was a typical J.R. Smith game.  Miss some shots, swish a couple of 3's, turn the ball over, talk smack.
  • Right now, the Lakers are lacking execution.  It was a problem throughout the Houston series, and continued last night.  too many times, we made stops, but failed to take advantage on offense.  Taking stupid shots.  Turning the ball over.  Missing free throws.  We're going to execute much better to raise that Trophy.

I'm done ranting.  Without further ado....your Lakers Links:

Recaps:

Click on through for the rest....


ESPN Daily Dime

J.A. Adande:

"Kobe gave as complete a performance as you could ask for from a player, the type of performance we demand of someone who wears the label of superstar. He made 13 of 28 shots, 2 of 3 3-pointers and 12 of 13 free throws, in addition to grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists on a night the rest of the team made only 24 shots. He played 43 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, which he normally starts on the bench."

Kevin Arnovitz:

"The third-quarter steal won on style points, but Ariza's memorable play in the final minute Tuesday night likely will go down as one of the great acts of thievery in recent memory."

Marc Stein:

" 'The next 48 hours," Nuggets coach George Karl conceded, "are going to be difficult.'

That's because the visitors wasted Carmelo Anthony's 39 points and clanked 12 free throws, which pretty much nullified the fact that the Nuggets were sent to the line 11 more times than the hosts. The game was physical and close -- pretty much everything Denver could have wished for after nearly a week off since dismissing Dallas in Round 2 -- but the ending couldn't have been much more painful.

The Los Angeles Times

Bill Plaschke:  Kobe Bryant puts it on the line

"You can have LeBron James on a quiet night in November, or a nationally televised Sunday afternoon in February.

You can have LeBron James on the insurance commercials and the up-close interviews and amid all that chalk above the scorer's table.

I'll take Kobe Bryant right now.

If LeBron James has indeed passed Kobe Bryant has a player, he has yet to touch him as a champion.

'That's not my goal, that's not my mission,' Bryant said of being the best player. 'My mission is to win a championship. And the debate of who is the best player, that's going to go on . . . that's not something I concern myself with.' "

T.J. Simers:  Blah, blah, blah, blah....

"Blah, blah blah, blah, blah......"

Mark Heisler:  Lakers' escape isn't too sweet

"Normalcy returned to Lakerdom, with the purple and gold back on top again.

As if.

Suggesting a long, hard series awaits, as opposed to proving they were superior to the Nuggets in any way, the Lakers pulled this one back in after trailing by 10 points in the first quarter, and five in the last 4 minutes 17 seconds before Kobe Bryant rescued them in a 105-103 escape Tuesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals."

Mark Medina:  Lakers' Kurt Rambis interviews with the 76ers

"Rambis meets with Philadelphia team President Ed Stefanski about the team's head-coaching vacancy. He also will interview with the Sacramento Kings."

(Good for him.  But I'm not a big fan of his Strong Side Trap defense.)

The Orange County Register

Jim Miller:  Kobe's play is rebuttal to West/LeBron

"Successful basketball requires five men – and all the Lakers on the court contributed mightily when it mattered most Tuesday – but the direction of a victory still can be dictated by one.

As long as Kobe Bryant is that one, the Lakers always will have a chance. And often, it’ll be the best chance.

On a night when they very easily could have lost, the Lakers instead won because Bryant scored a bunch, defended even more and led most of all."

Randy Youngman:  Lakers outplayed, win anyway

"Bryant also tightened up his defense on Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony (39 points) down the stretch, working to deny him the basketball, battling for inside position and fighting through physical picks. Anthony’s point total suggests that nobody stopped him, but Kobe shut him down the final 3:25 when the Nuggets needed him most."

Kevin Ding's Lakers Blog

LA Daily News

Ramona Shelburne:  Lakers' Ariza proves he can hang with the best

"In a game the Nuggets played well enough to win, in a game Kobe Bryant had to spill his guts out on the floor just to keep the Lakers in, everything came down to "The Steal."

Somewhere in a lonely office back in Secaucus, N.J., a producer began cutting together the footage for the NBA's next "Where Will Amazing Happen Next?" commercial.

What came next, was almost better.

Instead of trying to punctuate the sublime steal with a fastbreak dunk, Ariza looked up at the game clock, saw there were only 29.1 seconds left, and realized that with the Lakers leading 101-99 he should pull it back out and run some time off the clock.

For a young player, playing in his first playoffs, at the end of the Lakers' most intense game in months, that decision was the equivalent of a second-grader learning Algebra."

Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins:  Kobe-led Lakers one step closer to dream Finals clash with LeBron

"Bryant said he was not offended by West's comments or even irritated by them. But on Tuesday night at Staples Center, he fired back in his own quiet way. Just as the Nuggets were threatening to steal Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, and Carmelo Anthony was threatening to take ownership of Staples, Bryant showed that any debate over the NBA's best player is still in session."

Basketbawlful's (and ours) WildYams:  Worst of the Night

"One of Denver's strengths is that it's supposed to have a fair amount of depth, but that depth certainly wasn't on display last night, as the Nuggets' bench was outscored by L.A.'s subs 27-16...and that was with Lamar Odom being the only Laker sub to score more than 5 points (and even Odom only had 7). Denver got zero points from Linas Kleiza and Anthony Carter, and when your team only goes nine deep and one of the starters finishes with only 1 point, you can't have two of the four subs get goose eggs."

David Friedman's 20 Second Timeout:

"Bryant should be called "The Firefighter" beca, use whenever there is a raging inferno threatening to destroy the Lakers' season he puts out those flames. Billups came into this game shooting well over .500 from three point range as his hot hand burned New Orleans and Dallas in the first two rounds of the playoffs, so Bryant volunteered to pour cold water on Billups; Bryant guarded Billups for virtually the entire first half and Billups did not make a single first half field goal against him (Billups drained a jumper on the first possession of the game with Derek Fisher guarding him but then the Lakers switched assignments)."

The Sporting News' Bethlehem Shoals:  Game 1:  Lakers make tough statement

"Denver also led for most of the game, even when its patented bursts of momentum gave way to sloppy play. It was a heartbreaking loss, to be sure, but an encouraging one for a team that needed to prove it belonged in the same class as L.A. And this wasn't the kind of weirdness that allowed Houston to catch the Lakers off-guard. This was hard-fought, high-level basketball where one team just outlasted the other.

On the other hand, this game also proved, however thinly, that the Lakers can turn it on when necessary."

FreeDarko:  Write with your feelings

"A hallmark of this Denver team, particularly in the playoffs, has been the gathering intensity that seems to hang over the court each time the Nuggets walk onto it, this building, palpable tension which ultimately is unleashed in almost feral fashion, with a Denver opponent overwhelmed by the onslaught. Bynum will have to find a way to sustain his energy and his focus as this comes bearing down. Failing that, he will have to decide if he both understands and is willing to undertake that which is required to consistently perform at the heightened level of execution demanded by the playoffs and the attendant greatness which they extract. Win or lose the series, will Bynum emerge chastened and diminished or challenged and hungry? Will he understand why it needs to be the latter? Among the hardest transitions required by the NBA is that from player who can contribute to player who regularly does. It's a process which cannot be accomplished in one evening, but tonight will offer a glimpse into how Andrew will navigate this specific sort of turmoil."

(Last night?  He was the player who can not the one who does.)

 

Audio/Video:

Postgame Interviews

ESPN NBA Today

The Dan Patrick Show

The Basketball Jones

710 ESPN Los Angeles Live

Watch highlights of Kobe's fine performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ball Don't Lie

 

 

 

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