On February 15, 1898, a 6,682 ton pre-dreadnaught class battleship, the USS Maine, exploded and sank in Havana Harbor. Blamed in the press on a Spanish mine, the explosion was actually the contrivance and achievement of a "black operation" conducted by a rogue unit of United States Secret Service agents headed by a young Dick Cheney, off-the-books operatives taking orders from Republican President William McKinley himself.
Why was the Maine sacrificed? Ah, let's just say that the current American military facility in Guantanamo is no accident and move along.
The sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 14, 1912 on its maiden voyage? The official story is that it hit an "iceberg." Let's just leave it at that, shall we? There's no sense in getting you all involved...
The torpedoing of the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915 — an event which inexorably drew America into the European War? Have you ever wondered how a primitive German U-boat knew exactly where that ship would be on that date? Well, don't think about such things, no good can come of it...
You see, this is all part of a conspiracy so old and so vast that none have set it down in full. Pearl Harbor? Area 51? Fins on the back of 1957 cars? Ugly 1970s polyester clothing?The Internet? 9/11?
Yep, it's all part of The Plan — as are hundreds of other incidents and artifacts of which I am not even allowed to intimate in this public forum. In fact, I've probably said too much already. Please pay me no mind.
Last night there was an accidental leak about one small current aspect of The Plan here on SS&R and my superiors have tasked me with its suppression.
It started simply enough. We all "thought" the NBA Finals would be between the Kobe Bryants and the Lebron Jameses (as seen in the ubiquitous TV spots for Nike and that vitamin water stuff). Actually, however, the 2008-09 Finals were predetermined at the March 2007 plenary session of the Athletic Entertainment Division to be between the Kobe Bryants and the Dwight Howards — a matchup so unexpected that it would thus conclusively establish in the popular imagination that NBA results are not predetermined.
Unfortunately, one overly inquisitive SS&R regular observed last night the contradiction between the actual NBA Finals and the Official Legend and suggested, and I quote, "Let's reverse engineer this conspiracy." (Gils Keloids — you will be winning a free educational gift from your government shortly. You don't need to do anything to claim your prize. We'll be in touch.)
This prompted Hertagnism to blurt out words which should have been left unspoken. He foolishly free-associated the following: "Wait a minute... the Magic is based in Orlando… Orlando has Disney World…. Disney owns ABC and ESPN…. Oh what have I just uncovered?!"
This severe misstep was compounded when Justin N. added, and again I quote precisely: "Disneyland in Anaheim... It all makes so much sense now." (You two are also lucky winners of an extra special treat from your friends in federal service. Please keep yourselves available for your valuable vacation opportunity.)
So just turn your brains off and shut up already, all of you. Watch a sitcom. Think happy thoughts about President Obama, who loves basketball just like you do... Have a nice, stiff drink. We all know it's gonna be the Kobes vs. Lebrons because the puppets are funny! And the boys get their vitamins! The Lakers won yesterday's game fair and square and the referees didn't help them at all.
Here's the Popcorn Machine LINK to prove it.
This is true no matter what those un-American authority questioners from Denver are saying.
Oh, crap, I forgot to check — what are they saying, anyway?
(Find out after the jump...)
by Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
LOS ANGELES - Tipoff on Friday is 7 p.m. It'll feel like 11:59 to Nuggets fans. It's been a fairy tale season for the Nuggets, but midnight looms after Wednesday's 103-94 Game 5 loss in the Western Conference finals to the Lakers.
The only way to enhance this season's enchantment is to win at the Pepsi Center on Friday and force a decisive Game 7 back here in LaLa Land.
The Nuggets remained upbeat after the loss despite their fourth-quarter melt down in a game that had been tied going into the final period.
"We're going to go home and do what we've got to do — play hard and continue to play the way we've been playing," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony said. "A lot of intensity."
The Nuggets had a superb chance to take the series lead until going cold from the field in the fourth quarter. The odds are not with them. Entering these playoffs, there had been 145 times when a seven-game series began 2-2, and the Game 5 winner ended up winning the series 121 times.
What happened Wednesday night? A collapse.
A collapse by the Nuggets' offense, thanks to the collapsing defense of the home team, which clamped down on Denver's shooters and turned a tight game into a breather with an 11-0 spurt to start the final period.
From 76-all to start the fourth, things got away from the Nuggets in a hurry during a stretch in which they missed 11 consecutive shots. * * *
by Mark Kiszla, Denver Post
LOS ANGELES - The NBA has an integrity problem, as shrill and annoying as a referee's whistle.
If the competitors don't trust the truth in the final score, why should we?
Did the Nuggets lose to the Los Angeles Lakers 103-94, or were they robbed by referees who gave favorable calls to a marquee franchise that pumps up television ratings?
Does the league want to see superstar Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals rather than the tattooed bad boys of Denver?
In an accusation that goes straight to the heart of the sport's integrity, one member of the Nuggets shook his head in disgust after the game, and could not believe how cheap it was for Los Angeles to buy a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.
"The Lakers paid $50,000 to win that game. They got their money's worth," said a Denver player, not wanting to be identified for fear of retribution from the league.
Was the outcome rigged? I refuse to believe it was.
The 16 field-goal attempts the Nuggets missed during the fourth quarter had much more to do with the defeat than any of the 30 personal fouls called against Denver by the referees.
Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson and the Lakers organization were fined $50,000 by the NBA for complaining about the calls in Game 4, won decisively by the upstart Nuggets.
Asked prior to Game 5 if he was playing mind games and planting seeds, Jackson laughed and said: "I'm a gardener. I like planting seeds . . . constantly." * * *
by Anthony Cotton, Denver Post
LOS ANGELES - Throughout the last two rounds of the NBA playoffs, Lamar Odom has been portrayed as either a star or a stooge, often hitting both marks within minutes of each other.
Monday against the Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Odom was definitely the latter, making 1-of-8 shots and scoring five points. On Tuesday, the nine-year veteran owned up to his odorous play, saying he had to play better in order for his Los Angeles Lakers team to win.
On Wednesday, in what may prove to be the pivotal contest in the series, Odom put his words into action. Playing 32 minutes, Odom took 15 shots, more than anyone else on the team — even Kobe Bryant. Odom made seven shots en route to 19 points. And, in adding 14 rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots, it was clear Odom may feel sufficiently emboldened to once again show his face around town.
"I had to suck it up," Odom said after his team's 103-94 win. "Couldn't pick up the paper anymore. Didn't want to answer the phone. Couldn't watch ESPN. Couldn't watch TV for a little bit.
"I took it like a man. I had to.... I haven't been playing well. My back's to the wall. I put my focus cap on, came out and went after it." * * *
by Chris Dempsey, Denver Post
Jackson: He sure knows how to make $25,000 go a long way.
The Nuggets were whistled for 30 fouls Wednesday night in Game 5, resulting in 35 free throws for the Lakers. While that was just five more free throws than the Nuggets shot, Denver coach George Karl seethed at what he said was a game turned on Jackson's craftiness after Game 4 in complaining about the officiating.
"It just seems very frustrating for me to sit here and have to worry about every — like it's the gamesmanship in the press conference on refereeing," Karl said after the Lakers won 103-94. "I just wish it wasn't. That's not part of coaching for me."
Jackson was fined by the NBA for comments he made about the officiating after Game 4. He said: "That kind of disparity we don't like in ballgames. That's not equal refereeing, and those are the things that changes the courses of games. We don't like that. We want the game to be fair and evenly played."
The result, in the Nuggets' eyes, was a crew that saw things the Lakers' way Wednesday.
"(Carmelo Anthony) got beat up," Karl said of the Nuggets star. "The same type of attitude and actions that we had that got us to the rim and got us a lot of easy baskets, tonight they defended better, at least from the standpoint of the scoreboard.
"The stat sheet says they defended it better. They blocked more shots. We didn't get as many paint points. But I'm not sure that's the case."
The fourth quarter was particularly lopsided in fouls called. The Nuggets were whistled for 11 fouls in the period, while the Lakers were called for four. The Lakers shot 16 free throws in the period and made 13. Meanwhile, the Nuggets shot seven and made them all. * * *
by David Krause, Denver Post
* * *
Not so fine.
Whether it is $10 or $25,000, Jackson doesn't like opening his wallet for fines.
The Lakers' coach, who was fined Tuesday because of his postgame comments about the officiating in the Game 4 loss, said Wednesday his $10 million a year contract doesn't mean fines are any easier to take.
"If it was a $10 fine, it's still bothersome," Jackson said before Game 5.
by Dave Krieger, Denver Post
* * *
The Nuggets' improbable journey became your basic Hollywood script Wednesday night. After playing the favored Lakers even for three quarters and then succumbing in a dyspeptic fourth, the Nuggets are down three games to two in the best-of-seven series. All odds are against them.
Cue Phil Collins. The Western Conference finals are now the template for the modern sports movie.
Of course, in the movies, the underdog with no shot always wins in the end. Moviegoers don't put down their cash to see Goliath squash David, even if Jack Nicholson seems to have gone over to Nurse Ratched's side.
The Lakers have played in the NBA Finals 29 times. The Nuggets never have. If you were trying to create an arrogant favorite and a plucky underdog, you couldn't do much better.
How arrogant are the Lakers? Thanks for asking.
So arrogant that they feel free to change the lyrics of the national anthem.
Now, fans cheer different parts of the anthem for partisan reasons all over. In Baltimore, they cheer the "Oh" in "Oh, say" because of the Orioles. In Houston, they cheer the rockets' red glare because of the Rockets. But in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, singer and actor Tyrese Gibson changed "our flag was still there" to "our Lakers were still there."
I think we can all agree that's just not right. Up the road, on the sound stages of Hollywood, such arrogance is guaranteed its comeuppance, but not until the last 10 minutes of the movie.
And let's be honest: If you were writing a script in which the world was ganging up on the underdog, you would have the referees conspire against them, too. With Game 5 tied after three quarters, the Nuggets had attempted 23 free throws to the Lakers' 19. In the lopsided fourth, the Lakers got 16 more. The Nuggets got seven. * * *
by Chris Dempsey and Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
Game 4 on ESPN was the most-viewed NBA game in the history of cable television. It earned a 6.9 rating, representing an average of 6,746,000 households and 9,883,000 viewers. The telecast was the most-viewed program this year on cable and also became ESPN's most-viewed basketball game ever (college or pro).
by Nate Timmons, Pickaxe and Roll
* * *
A lot of the talk before Game 5 centered around Kobe Bryant. Local talk radio in Denver said they could see Kobe trying to go for 45+ in last night's game. The Nuggets had been gooding a job of making their playoff series ... Chris Paul vs. the Nuggets, Dirk Nowitzki vs. the Nuggets, and Kobe Bryant vs. the Nuggets.
But if you watch the Lakers ... they are at their best when Kobe is acting as a facilitator and not trying to carry the team. It's been a role that has taken him some getting used to, but when he trusts his teammates and they play how they are capable then the Lakers are very tough to beat.
Tonight Denver played Kobe like he was going to try to beat them himself ... in a way he did. Denver looked to double Kobe quite a bit and to double the ball quite a bit and the Lakers made Denver pay for that strategy.
The Lakers racked up 25 team assists and Kobe turned in a series high with 8 assists himself. He did a great job of passing the ball out of the double team all night and of passing up shots to get the ball to teammates open in the paint.
In an email exchange earlier in the game-day I said that if Kobe went for 22 points that Denver would be in great shape. I said this thinking that if Kobe only got 22 points that it would mean he was missing a lot of shots. Well, Kobe did only score 22 points (his series low), but he did so on 6-13 shooting. Those 13 shots were also a series low for Kobe as he averaged 20+ shot attempts in the first four games of the series. * * *
Is NBA officiating good? No. Is it deciding games? No.
In the game thread and in George Karl's post-game interviews there was a lot of talk about the officiating. Carmelo Anthony said it best in his interview stating that, the Nuggets can't worry about the calls that happen. Nothing is going to change what happened and you must focus on the road ahead.
Going into the 4th Quarter the personal fouls sat at 19 for Denver and 18 for the Lakers. Denver was whistled for 11 fouls in the final period and the Lakers were whistled for 4 bringing the totals to 30 for Denver and 22 for the Lakers.
Los Angeles finished the game just +3 in makes at the foul line (25-36 for L.A. compared to 23-30 for Denver.)
The bottom line is that the refs did not cost Denver the game. Did L.A. get away with some physical play in the paint? You bet. Did Denver get away with some physical play in the paint? You bet.
The Nuggets should not have taken so many long shots and gone away from aggressively attacking the rim. Too often did I see Nuggets go into the paint and not attack the rim. You are never going to get calls when you double-clutch or turn down a dunk for a lay in attempt. There is a difference between getting into the paint and attacking the rim and Denver must get back to knowing that difference in Game 6 at The Can.
You want more calls? Go get them. Attack the rim and force your opponent to foul the crap out of you. * * *
by David Ramsey, Colorado Springs Gazette
LOS ANGELES • All the Denver Nuggets have to do is defy history. All they have to do is conquer one of the greatest franchises in sports history.
After falling, 103-94, to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nuggets face horrific odds. We're talking about the same kind of odds the Israelites faced as they fled Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
Does hope linger?
Well, sure. Hope always flickers. Maybe the Red Sea again will be parted. Maybe a basketball miracle will leave Colorado stunned and uplifted.
The Nuggets can win Friday at Pepsi Center, but that's not the game that matters.
The reward for a win in Game 6 is a return trip to Staples Center Sunday evening for Game 7.
So, don't start jumping for joy yet. The Lakers are 13-1 in their storied history in home Game 7s. They haven't lost one since Bill Russell and the Celtics pillaged them in the 1969 NBA Finals.
George Karl, Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony must devise a revolutionary two-game plan. They must find a way to shock the nation. * * *
by Johnny Domenico, Nuggets' Nuggetz
Turned out to be a great game, and a terribly frustrating 4th quarter, but in the end, Los Angeles protected their home court and now it's time for Denver to do the same.
The most frustrating aspect was definitely Carmelo's inability to draw fouls in the lane. You can argue about whether that's due to the Laker's interior length or the referee's decision not to call fouls on contact on drives to the hoop, but as a Nuggets fan, you can probably guess where I fall in that category.
Regardless, the score was tied at the end of each quarter, and the Nuggets put themselves into a position to take another game in LA, but just couldn't hold it together in the 4th. * * *
Overall I'm disappointed, but by no means did this game make me feel as if this series is over. It's going to take another great home effort as well as a complete game in Los Angeles in the possible Game 7, but I still like how this team is playing overall, and I still like the Denver Nugget's chances to advance to the NBA Finals in 7 games.
by Andrew, Denver Stiffs.com
As I'm writing this I'm watching Nuggets head coach George Karl's postgame press conference and he's whining profusely about the officiating. Karl has every right to be upset about the lack of calls or bad calls the Nuggets received while trying to be aggressive offensively (Pau Gasol finishes the game with one foul? What a joke).
But (a) Karl should have stood up for his players and worked the refs during the game... and (b) ultimately, the refs weren't the reason the Nuggets lost the most important game in their franchise history. Their own poor decision making — from the coach down through the players — cost them this golden opportunity to closeout the Lakers at Denver on Friday night.
So many things went wrong in Game 5, notably the Nuggets ice cold stretch from the 5:12 mark in the third quarter through the 8:11 mark in the fourth during which the Nuggets committed five turnovers, shot a ghastly 1-12 from the field and 1-6 from the three-point line. That was some of the worst basketball we've seen all season. * * *
In his franchise's most important game to date, Karl again did his Phil Jackson impersonation again (or maybe we should call it his "anti-Doc Rivers" impersonation) by sitting quietly still throughout much of the contest and letting the players "figure it out." If ever we needed "Fiery George" from his Seattle days it was on Wednesday night, and he was nowhere to be found.
Doesn't Karl know that by drawing a technical you get three benefits?!! Not only do you show your players that you have their back against bad calls, but you put yourself in position to get a big/favorable call later on (such as that awful foul on Nene when Gasol elbowed and rolled over him in the fourth, fouling Nene out) and you stop play to collect your team if they're playing out of hand. This is Basketball 101.
My friend Justin whom I watched the game with had a classic line during that awful third-to-fourth quarter stretch: "How much do you think Karl could have sold his seat on EBay for? Because anyone could just sit there like he is." * * *
by Mike Wolf, Denver Nuggets Examiner
To continue with the Batman theme I explored in my Game 5 recap, seeing Jack Nicholson in a purple top for the first time since his role as the Joker in Tim Burton's "Batman" adaptation — like his team, he steals the show toward the end — was downright terrifying. Nicholson rarely dons team colors in the court side seat he's occupied since "The Shining." This was the first sign that game 6 was not going Denver's way, despite the score.
The Lakers won the fourth quarter, and the game by nine 103-94. They lead the series 3-2.
The second ominous sign was an agitated and worn-out Kobe Bryant, who seemed content to let his teammates carry the load — not a good sign for Denver. This is the Lakers team that the Nuggets, Cavs and Magic are scared of. Passing like crazy (25 assists), making easy shots and heeding Pau Gasol's suggestion to get the "inside game" going (L.A. scored 54 points in the paint to the Nuggets' 36), this team reminds me of the early-regular season Lake-show who beat teams in one of three ways:
What's disconcerting to Nuggets fans is how the Lakers won Game 6 even though they couldn't shoot threes (3-16, 18.8 percent), got outrebounded (43-42) and needed only 22 points (1-6 on threes) from Catwoman Bryant. * * *
- By breaking them down with depth in the first three quarters to ensure a blow-out and rest for Kobe Bryant in the fourth.
- By playing just well enough for Bryant to win the game with four or five ridiculous shots in the last three minutes.
- Overwhelming you with Gasol, Bynum and Odom until you realized that Kobe had 28 points in 28 minutes.
by Butterfield, The Chris Andersen Files
Do you know any good plays? Do you know any plays?
You killed us in the 4th quarter last night. That 12 minutes was completely disorganized on both ends of the floor. On offense your players ran around in a freelanced frenzy, thus missing 16 unplanned shots. On the other side of the ball, you never adjusted. You allowed Kobe to win the game, as you stubbornly insisted on trapping and doubling him on the perimeter. Possession after possession.
The fourth quarter in all of these playoff games is about match ups and adjusting sets and running plays, especially after timeouts. * * *
Run a play, Porky. Coaching the 4th quarter isn't only about substituting, working the refs and Montessorian blabbering about "energy" and "sharing." It is about grabbing the whiteboard and showing your players HOW to exploit the opponents' weakness. * * *
posted by "Crounsa810" to Nuggets Talk message board
Fouls per quarter
Quarter 1: Denver 6, Lakers 5.
Quarter 2: Denver 9, Lakers 7.
Quarter 3: Denver 4, Lakers 6.
Denver: 11 plus 2 T's (no foul shots on 1 of the 2 T's)
Lakers: 4 plus 1 T (no foul shots on double T)
posted by "Anon" to Nuggets Talk message board
The reffing wasn't great but it wasn't what lost us the game. We haven't been shooting very well from the 3 point line this whole series. And our offense has stagnated for long stretches at a time and it's definitely not because of the Lakers' defense. I still think we tighten up under pressure. Compare the way we've played this series to the Dallas and New Orleans series and the tightness is obvious .
The thing is, if we could just go on a little run where shots started falling, we'd loosen up in a hurry but as it is, I feel that we run too many isolation plays and 2 man games, instead of the nice ball movement leading to dunks for Nene/KMart that got us here earlier in the play-offs.
posted by "Ruru Revenge" to Nuggets Talk message board
It's hard to understand why Nene gets such a bad whistle [in the 4th Quarter for his 6th foul]. I do think it changes over time,. But the guy's paranoia is starting to become a realized prophecy.
HE is very important. But championship teams are unfazed by such things. We simply lack the championship mettle at this point. That shouldn't be surprising.
But, what we call all take pride in is that we are the better team. And we have a real chance with this core to be at this point numerous times down the line.
And I still think we can win this series.
posted by "Phil77" to Nuggets Talk message board
- Melo should have been to the line 6-8 more times.....
- Nene played like a pussy and got called for pussy fouls....
- Billups played like AI in the second half without the scoring....
- JR sucked assholes...Is he steady enough to start next year??? I really dont know....
- Martin missed like every shot since the 1st quarter or at least it seemed....
- LK is the single worst defender in the NBA...
I thought Melo played well enough to win but I thought everyone else played like dipshit. THAT IS f***ing EVERYONE!!! The all sucked besides Melo.....I cant think of one person that played average.....
So nobody played good and we are blaming the refs...I am just happy it was that close....How much difference would Nene make?? He played like a pussy all night??
I am very disappointed in out team's effort.....There refs were bad but not bad enough to blame for the loss......IMO
** ADDENDA **
posted by "Beefy Swats" to Pickaxe and Roll
Throw out Kobe Bryant hitting a three immediately to tie the game at 76 to end the third quarter and listen to the next nine shot attempts by the Denver Nuggets:
- Kenyon Martin misses a 20-foot jumper,
- J.R. Smith misses a 26-foot three point jumper,
- J.R. Smith misses a 28-foot three point jumper,
- J.R. Smith misses a 29-foot three point jumper,
- Kenyon Martin misses a driving lay-up,
- Kenyon Martin misses an 8-foot jumper,
- Chauncey Billups misses a 27-foot three point jumper,
- Carmelo Anthony misses a 25-foot three point jumper, and
- Carmelo Anthony misses an 11-foot two point jumper.
Shot selection. That's it. That doesn't even include the turnovers we made. We lost on 3 consecutive 3 point misses by JR, two bunnies by Kenyon, then 2 more 3's by Carmelo and Chauncey.
If you're counting, that's 0-5 from 3, and 0-4 from inside the arc over a 7+ minute span. 0-9, plus turnovers.
And that was it. * * *
by Jeremy, Roundball Mining Co.
The Denver Nuggets suffered a heart breaking 103-94 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in game five of the Western Conference Finals, the question we will not know for a another couple of days is if it was a back breaking loss as well.
The sad thing is it was Denver's game to lose. After going up 71-64 and 7:23 remaining in the third quarter Denver crumbled like a week old muffin.
The Nuggets would only score 23 more points over the final 19:23. Conversely during that span the Lakers poured in 39 points flipping a seven point deficit into a nine point victory. Denver was able to maintain their seven point lead for a couple more minutes, but turned the ball over on four straight possessions over 1:20 allowing the Lakers to tie the game at 73. Denver would never recover.
Los Angeles, lead by the team play of Kobe Bryant and the determination of Lamar Odom, played with a great deal of intensity on defense and unselfishness on offense. The Nuggets on the other hand struggled with their communication on defense, a big point of emphasis in training camp, and turned more and more individualistic on offense.
The one Nuggets player who tried to will Denver to a victory was Carmelo Anthony. He did his best to carry the team on his shoulders as he ferociously attacked the rim over and over in the fourth quarter, but only had a gaggle of missed shots, a few free throws and some bumps and bruises to show for it. * * *
The Bottom Line:
1. The referees jobbed the Nuggets in the 4th Quarter, with the call the fouled out Nené being the straw that broke the camel's back. Arrrrrrrrrrrrgghgghght!!!!
2. But this is not to say that the Nuggets didn't play badly enough to lose this game. At the end of the 3rd Quarter and the start of the 4th they most certainly did — missing everything and turning the ball over like it was contagious. But still, you can't come back if the refs won't let you...
3. Home to Denver, where the Lakers will get their asses kicked, and then our Nuggets will try to beat the odds again in Game 7...