As we get ready for Game 2, there isn't too much to link today, except for the local newspapers. Mainly, because most sites are discussing the Magic's "upset" over the Cavs in Game 1. In Cleveland.
If you're surprised by the win, then you didn't watch any of the games between Cleveland and Orlando this year. The Magic give the Cavs problems.
As Dennis Green would say, "They are who we thought they were!"
Cleveland is not invincible, and the Lakers aren't as bad as you think. Nothing changed. Only perception, and if you think the Cavs losing makes the Lakers look better, then your continued dumbing down can resume as Around the Horn comes on ESPN at 5:00 EST.
The Cavs losing should rest the mind of the ansty Lakers fan not satisfied with merely winning Game 1 against a good Nuggets team. There are no gimmes at this point. Every win will have to earned. Scoreboard is all that matters.
Thank you Cleveland and Orlando for driving that point home.
For some good reads on the Magic win, here you go:
Silver Screen and Roll's Timbo: Schadenfreude: A quick visit to Cleveland...
or check out what the bobbleheads at ESPN are saying.
HERE ARE YOUR LAKERS LINKS:
Silver Screen and Roll's Josh Tucker (about time): Lakers vs. Nuggets: game 2 should be better
(You have to click this link!!!)
Lakers.com BasketBlog: Practice Notes 5/20/09
Click on through for the rest....
Broderick Turner: Kobe Bryant could use some help in Game 2
"But the burden of carrying the Lakers has to be shared by their trio of big men of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, and not only by Bryant.
Denver's threesome of Nene, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen made a stand in the first game, outscoring their Lakers' counterparts and digging in on defense.
'Their bigs just did a phenomenal job defensively of beating guys to spots,' a weary Bryant said after practice Wednesday. 'But we'll be ready to go. Pau is a great player down there in the mid-post-up area. So it's something that we'll take advantage of and try to put their bigs in jeopardy.' "
Mark Heisler: Rethinking the Lakers-Nuggets series
"Remember the Lakers' inside game?
If you see it, please call the Lakers, c/o Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
As anticipated, they were taller than the Nuggets but never actually got to experience a "height advantage."
Broderick Turner: Derek Fisher keeps the faith, Lakers benefit
"The criticism was coming from everywhere -- pundits, fans, NBA scouts, anyone who had a thought on basketball.
And yet no one felt worse than Derek Fisher. No one felt the strain, the burden, the weight more than the Lakers' veteran guard.
Chris Erskine: Another title for Lakers' Phil Jackson? Yep, it's Mr. Too Cool
"At times, Staples' resident genius seems almost too respectful of the men, many of whom are really just spoiled boys. When we feel disgust over their halfhearted play, we want to see similar disgust on Jackson's part. When we don't get that, we feel exasperated, angry that he is passive-passive instead of passive-aggressive. After all, aren't coaches who fly off the handle an American birthright?
He strikes us, when things aren't going well, like one of those parents trying to be a friend to his children rather than a demanding dad. As with any parenting situation, outsiders like us always seem to know better.
All Jackson has done, with this composed approach, is collect more rings than Cleopatra, more championships than all of Rome. He has done it with gods like Jordan and Bryant, and divas like Rodman and Shaq. He is almost presidential in his patience, the only adult in an arena full of spitting, hyperventilating maniacs. Man, that must get old.
Yet, he has joined the likes of Kobe, Tiger and Manny as mythic contemporary sports figures who need only one name.
Well, if Phil can pull this one off, anoint him the finest coach of his generation, in any sport."
The Orange County Register:
Kevin Ding: What's wrong with Lakers' Bynum?
"The same thing that everyone said all summer after the Lakers lost the NBA Finals without him still holds true: Bynum could or would or should make it all so easy for the Lakers.
But will he?
Well, he’s a lot closer than he was in recent weeks, when he was so psyched out by fouls and failures that he seemed unable even to play hard. He picked up his defensive effort late in the Houston series, scored his 14-point regular-season average a couple times and even in another foul-filled outing Tuesday night earned Kobe Bryant’s approval for providing "the energy that we needed."
Bynum is positioned to take a great leap forward tonight in Game 2 against Denver.
Had the Lakers lost that tight Game 1, there would’ve been no way to expect that. A defeat would’ve left the favored Lakers immersed in negative energy – just what happened after the Game 1 loss to Houston, except this would have been far more severe – and Bynum would have understandably caught much of the blame for this team not being what it was cracked up to be.
He would’ve again tip-toed out there for Game 2 and played not to lose."
(*These "what's wrong with Bynum" articles are every other game now. Have people forgotten it took him 15-20 games in each of the past 2 years [when he was healthy] to get in the groove? Tonight's game will make 19 since he came back. He's coming. I'm sure of it, and it will be right on time.)
LA Daily News' Elliott Teaford: Lakers star Bryant makes strong statement about Anthony
"Less than 24 hours after their compelling one-on-one battle down the stretch, Bryant couldn't stop talking about Anthony's brute strength on the court. And get this: Bryant said Anthony is stronger than LeBron James...
'He's a strong (dude),' Bryant said of Anthony on Wednesday afternoon, using a far more colorful adjective for the word "dude."
'LeBron is strong up here (in the shoulders and chest). Carmelo is strong all over.'"
Forum Blue and Gold: Breaking Down the End Of Game One
"Sure, there were a lot of things I didn’t like. I didn’t like that when the Nuggets were aggressive with cutting off easy post entry passes the Lakers didn’t counter (late moves across the lane, cross picks). I didn’t like that early when Gasol and Bynum did run the floor and get early position they were not rewarded with the ball. I did not like Spike Lee cheering on the Lakers. I did not like how much the Lakers ran the pick and roll instead of their standard offensive sets.
But it’s a win. And we can get into more detail of the likes and dislikes in this breakdown of the end of the game. We join the action with 3:20 left, after Phil had called a timeout to remind everyone that Melo just scored, again, and maybe they should try to stop him (it worked, he didn’t score again)..."
The Sporting News' Bethlehem Shoals: Kobe send message to Martin, Nuggets
"After a Nuggets miss, and Lakers rebound, all of a sudden K-Mart was kneeling, trying to catch his breath....The question, though, was how it happened, and who was to blame?
Big surprise, when the replay came on, you saw Kobe see his chance to throw a sneaky, deliberate arm/elbow in the direction of Martin's mid-section....
...It reminded me of something I heard Steve Earle say at his live shows: "When you go to prison, the first thing you do is go into the yard, find the biggest, baddest dude you can, and fight him. Because then no one will mess with you." Granted, Kobe's was a cheap shot, but if the Nuggets are considered the more physical, tough team, and will make their fair share of questionable plays, this is a way of telling Martin, and the Lakers, that two can play at that one."
(Make sure you visit his FreeDarko store to get this, or this, or this.)
Lakers Practice Report 5/20/09
Lakers.com Playoff Podcast #15
New Kobe/LeBron puppet commercial: