Here are today's Lakers Links:
NBA Finals: Game 4 Preview - Silver Screen and Roll
The bottom line: Regression to the mean will result in Kobe playing better, the Magic not playing as well, and the Lakers' bigs actually getting a few rebounds. L.A. took Orlando's best shot and nearly won the game; the Magic will play well again tonight, but this time it won't be enough.
X’s & O’s of Basketball: Alonzo Mourning Talks About Kobe the Coach
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant(notes) has developed such a floor presence that Alonzo Mourning can’t figure out what exactly it is Lakers coach Phil Jackson is doing on the bench.
"To tell you the truth, Phil doesn’t have to do anything but call time outs," said Mourning, the former NBA star who helped lead the Miami Heat to the 2006 championship and twice was the league’s defensive player of the year. "Kobe is the facilitator. He is the one driving the mission of this particular team right now," Mourning said. "The communication level he has with his teammates out there, you can just see it."
"I think Phil is just showing up, to tell you the truth, and Kobe is doing all the work to make this team successful."
HoopsHype.com NBA Blogs - Roland Lazenby " Protecting Kobe from himself
Asked about Bryant’s turnover at the key moment of Game 3, Jackson observed afterward that the star is only human. Jackson’s longtime mentor, Tex Winter, liked to point out that Bryant and Michael Jordan possessed a similar competitive nature that made each game an adventure. Would they try to do too much by themselves, or would they find the right balance to help their teams win? That was first the central drama of Jordan’s career, just as it’s now the central drama of Bryant’s career — and the central issue of these NBA Finals.
Gasol needs more shots - OCRegister.com
He talked about it Wednesday first in Spanish and then later in English. Just like he talked about it briefly during the Utah series, a little more during the Houston series and a lot more during the Denver series. There's only one way to get Pau Gasol to stop talking about it, and that's for us to stop asking about it. So, entering tonight and Game 4, here's the deal Lakers: If he's allowed to put up, the rest of us will shut up. Got it?
- Defining Pau Gasol's martyrdom - Ball Don't Lie - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
Lakers Too Good, Too Hungry to Lose -- NBA FanHouse
All the Orlando Magic did on Tuesday night at Amway Arena was delay the inevitable, and they barely did that. I mean, how do you set an NBA Finals record by shooting 63 percent from the floor (including 75 percent in the first half), dribble before a ridiculously loud home crowd and survive by just four points? Here's how: The Magic would LIKE to win it all, but the Los Angeles Lakers HAVE to do so, and the Lakers will. In addition to the Magic owning the wrong mindset for dribbling in June, they live and die by the outside shot. Odds are, following Tuesday's shooting spree, they'll slump before long. They'll spend more time in the grave the rest of the way toward playoff extinction than out of it.
Forum Blue And Gold » Lakers/Magic Game 4 Preview
...But there are things they can execute better. The most obvious step is to keep exploiting Gasol on the offensive end, no matter who is covering him. He has shown he can score on Howard or whomever is guarding him. But as Kwame a. has been saying since before the series started, it should especially happen when Lewis is on him — make Rashard work at both ends. Make the jumpshooter use his legs a lot of defense. And the Lakers need to establish points in the paint — the Magic have made a point of not allowing Kobe to score on drives after game one, and he is 4 of 13 in the paint the last two games. Gasol on the other hand is 17 of 26 in the paint this series.
Much more after the jump...
The Los Angeles Times:
Lakers must stop a monster
Jackson is interspersing clips of "Hellboy 2" into video sessions, his message something along the lines of the Lakers reclaiming what is rightfully theirs after losing in the Finals last season to Boston.Hellboy, the demonic-looking superhero, and his team of ghastly cohorts try to save Earth from falling into the hands of a bunch of miscreants, though the Lakers don't have to be world conquerors to figure out what happened Tuesday in Game 3 of the Finals. The Orlando Magic made a lot of shots, a historic percentage of them, actually, as center Dwight Howard finally solved the Lakers' array of double teams and successfully kicked the ball out to the Magic's shooters for open shots.
Film gets a bad review from Brian Shaw
Shaw had watched film of the Lakers' 108-104 loss to the Orlando Magic in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday and didn't like what he saw.Here are some things Shaw wants the Lakers to clean up for Game 4:
Lakers would rather let it be drawn out
Why can't the Lakers ever get that commanding 3-0 lead on a playoff opponent? They used to do it all the time. Ankur Desai, a reader from New York City, sent an e-mail summing up all the times the Lakers have had home-court advantage, taken a 2-0 series lead, and won Game 3 on the road. "Current Lakers (2008 and '09): One out of five times (20%). Shaq/Kobe/Phil Lakers: Six out of nine times (67%). Showtime Lakers: 16 out of 22 times (73%) . . . some were best-of-five close-outs in round one, but still, they got it done."
(Thinking like this is absolutely ridiculous. Like every series is supposed to be a sweep? Is that what it's come to?)
Kobe Bryant shows many faces, but is this finally his time?
If Michael Jordan was the best ever, it was because of his consistency at a level no one had ever reached. Bryant goes to Jordan's level all the time -- and beyond, where no one ever went before -- between dips. If Jordan was a straight line across the top of the graph, Bryant is a wavy line, with the highs going off the chart, as in Tuesday's first quarter, in one of the great 12-minute bursts anyone has ever played.
Basketbawful - Pre-Game 4 Press Conference: Kobe Bryant
"Okay, maybe I was a little tired..."
LA Daily News:
SHELBURNE: Lakers still feel in control of series
As good as the Magic felt about winning their first Finals game in franchise history, with one of their best games all year, it had to be equally disturbing that the Lakers were so hard to put away. "It's present on our mind," Magic guard Rafer Alston said. "We talked about it at film session. It's unbelievable because they shot above 50 percent. Both teams were really hitting." ..."I thought we controlled the tempo of the game, the way we wanted to play the game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after Game 3. "They were able to come up with some plays at the end of the half to take that lead, but we told the guys at halftime `We're playing the way we want to play."' Read that quote again. At halftime, after a first half in which their opponent shot 75 percent, the Lakers felt they were playing the way they wanted to play. Jackson isn't wrong, either.
Lakers looking to counterpunch in Game 4
Now, it's the Lakers' turn to adapt. It is their chance to put right tonight in Game 4 of the NBA Finals all that went wrong during their narrow loss to the Orlando Magic in Game 3 Tuesday. It's a familiar position for the Lakers, who have grown accustomed to bouncing back from defeats during the playoffs. So far, they are undefeated after a loss. They haven't lost consecutive games yet in the postseason.
Marcin Gortat Drives Fastest Car in NBA -- NBA FanHouse
(I'm a fan of Gortat's now. He has my dream car. Haha.)
NBA Finals: This Year Is Outrating 2008's Matchup - Sports Biz with Darren Rovell - CNBC.com
What a disaster that the Orlando Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers! Poor David Stern and the NBA!
Well, we just got the ratings from the folks at Nielsen and check out this news bulletin: Lakers-Magic is outrating last year's ultimate matchup of the Lakers-Celtics.
(I said this before. This was better for the NBA - he fact that LeBron didn't make it.)
Daily Dime: Can the Magic pull even? - NBA - ESPN
What To Watch For In Game 4
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Dwight Howard's play with Orlando Magic 'predictable' - ESPN
The NBA's career scoring leader would like to see Howard not rely so much on his size and athleticism and make himself a player his team can turn to when it counts. Maybe even throw in a skyhook or two. "He's still offensively kind of raw," Abdul-Jabbar said Wednesday. "He doesn't have a go-to move yet. Right now, he's kind of predictable."
Kobe Insists He Isn't Wearing Down - SportingNews.com - The Baseline
Tired? Who’s tired? Not Kobe Bryant. In fact, he might give you a swift kick in the can for even asking.
- SLAM ONLINE | " They’re Ready for the Title Parade in L.A.
- I need to make a confession: I’m not a very big fan of Laker fans. Love the team; its supporters…not so much. There’s too much entitlement within the group, which I suppose can partially be blamed on 14 team titles and more than twice as many Finals appearances.
(So? First it's a matter of the city being prepared. Second, should we prepare to lose? Why shouldn't we feel our team should win? Isn't that why we are fans?)
Dwight Howard, Lakers' structure hard building blocks to copy - Steve Aschburner - SI.com
In the NBA, though, calling someone -- hey, calling everyone -- a copycat elicits reactions that range from nods all the way to shrugs. Big deal. Yawn. It's the way of their world.
- Five questions for NBA Finals, Game 4 : FoxSports.com Photo Gallery
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