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Opening Credits 6/9/09

Here are today's Lakers Links:

Preview: NBA Finals Game 3 - Silver Screen and Roll
Previewing Game 3 of the Finals, in light of Games 1 & 2 and each team's playoffs and recent tendencies.

NBA Finals: Show time varies but Lakers are still best - Salt Lake Tribune

Stan Van Gundy's smarts, Magic's quality will keep Finals going - Jack McCallum -
There have been eight sweeps in the 63-year history of the NBA Finals. This will not be No. 9.

X’s & O’s of Basketball: Magic Turnovers and Poor Transition Defense Doom Them in Game 2
Obviously, what doomed the Magic in Game 2 were the turnovers which led to points for the Lakers the other way. The one turnover by JJ Redick late in the fourth quarter was probably the biggest one overall. Though Dwight Howard was charged with 7 turnovers overall, I think some of those were a result of poor spacing and poor post-entry passes.

(X's & O's uses video to breakdown the Magic' problem.)

Commentary: Lakers matter more than any team anywhere - Michael Wilbon
LOS ANGELES – There’s no place in America where pro basketball matters as much as the Lakers do to Southern California in June. The Lakers aren’t secondary to the folks here, as the Celtics are to the Red Sox in Boston. There’s no pro football team consuming the local passions here like there is in Washington or Dallas.

(There's a mention of the Lakers' celebrity fans.  I've always maintained that any ridicule of the Lakers' crowd not being as boisterous as some arenas is ridiculousPlaying in front of A-list celebrities is definitely better than louder average joes.  You cannot tell me otherwise.  There's a reason every player want to be a Laker.) NBA Blogs - Roland Lazenby » It’s that old Zen again
Tex Winter's Triangle and his influence on Phil and the Lakers.

Scoop Jackson: Kobe Bryant thrives on all our hate - ESPN
Ever notice that the more people hate on Kobe Bryant, the better he plays?

Much more after the jump...


Daily Dime: Different game for Dwight Howard - NBA - ESPN
Dwight Howard responded to the question with a weary laugh, presumably because all of the questions were starting to sound the same. This long series for Howard only gets longer if he keeps getting asked about the Los Angeles Lakers' mobile big men and fast-changing coverages ... and how much harder they've made his life than Cleveland's bigs and schemes did. ...He's flummoxed and angry that the "crazy things" L.A.'s bigs can do, as Dwight described them, are working so well in Howard's first visit to the Finals, restricting Howard to a mere six baskets so far. Force Howard to rely on his down-low moves and free throws and you see the results.

Stan Van Gundy's Star Search - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
An early theme of these Finals has been bad Magic guard play. The needs are many -- Rafer Alston's shooting, J.J. Redick's finishing, Jameer Nelson's timing and Courtney Lee's aggression -- could all use improvement. All have looked skittish compared to how they played just a week or two ago. There could be a thousand reasons for this, but the most obvious one has a mustache and prowls the sidelines. As has been written, Stan Van Gundy's improv comedy guard rotation could give every guard a victim complex, after sitting when they would normally play -- even while watching the team lose two in a row.

The Los Angeles Times:

Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw sees lots to correct - Los Angeles Times
Looking ahead, here's what Shaw wants to see from the Lakers: 1) Better recognition on defense. The Lakers were baited into double-teaming Dwight Howard in the post and were not quick enough getting back out to Magic shooters. If Orlando shoots well from the outside, the Lakers have to play Howard straight up and not give up open looks. 2) Play defense without fouling. "For a stretch there, it was just a foul-shooting contest," Shaw said. The Lakers committed their fifth foul with 7 minutes 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter, putting the Magic at the free-throw line with every foul thereafter. Andrew Bynum and Odom each finished with five fouls. 3) Execute on offense. The Lakers didn't move the ball or their bodies enough. They force-fed Bryant too much, then stood and watched him. "Execution-wise on offense for us, it wasn't there," Shaw said. The Magic has to feel better about how it played in Game 2. Now it returns home more determined that it can compete with the Lakers.

Magic pays no attention to 2-0 deficit in Finals against Lakers - Los Angeles Times
The Magic trailed Boston, 3-2, before rallying to win an Eastern Conference semifinal in seven games. Philadelphia had a 2-1 lead on Orlando in the first round but didn't win another game. The stakes are obviously higher now, but the Magic players and their coach, Stan Van Gundy, don't seem horrified by a 2-0 deficit in the NBA Finals. "Coach talked about that in the locker room," forward Rashard Lewis said. "This is nothing new for us."

Controversies arise over goaltending non-calls - Los Angeles Times
Fans of both the Orlando Magic and the Lakers found reasons to complain about officiating after the Lakers' 101-96 overtime victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. The subject: goaltending.

The Orange County Register:

Lakers' happiest place could be Orlando -
It also leaves the Lakers with something to figure out if they wind up in position to pop champagne here: If Buss isn't here — and daughter Jeanie, an increasingly prominent face for the organization, isn't scheduled to come either — who accepts the Larry O'Brien Trophy? But easily superseding Buss not being here is the fact his team is here for perhaps an entire week beginning with Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight … and feeling quite good despite landing in a torrential downpour Monday.
They have two good reasons: 1. It's 2-0, Lakers. 2. The Lakers are a great road team. One of the NBA's best ever.

From Staples Center, a top 10 NBA arena, to awful Amway Arena - Lakers blog -
I don’t know if you’ll be able to tell via TV, but Amway Arena is a total heap. It’s tiny, too, which had NBA officials sighing at the prospect of staging a championship series in such a pitiful little box. The Magic is moving to a new building for the 2010-11 season.

LA Daily News:

SHELBURNE: For Lakers and Magic, a little means a lot in this series - LA Daily News
The plays are only noticeable in hindsight. On replays. In memory. And sometimes not even then. Little plays that could be pivotal if they don't go the right way. Some call them "veteran plays." Others use terms like "heady" and "mature" or "cerebral." It sounds vague and arbitrary, but tell that to the team that doesn't know how to make these kinds of plays. It's even harder to explain how some players learn to make them and others don't. Whether it's instinct or experience, natural poise or acquired savvy. Only one thing is certain: Championship teams make them, everyone else watches them later in the film room. And right now, the Lakers are the team in these NBA Finals keeping the opposing video technician busy.

Lakers assistant Shaw sees Magic moments end with cautionary tale - LA Daily News
More than a decade has passed, long enough for Brian Shaw to win three NBA championship rings and begin a second career as a coach. But he can't help but reflect back on his years with the Orlando Magic with a sense of loss.

Lakers forward Gasol flashing signs of strong personality - LA Daily News
Spanish star quiets his critics who said he was too soft in last year's NBA Finals

Goaltending? Seriously? - Inside the Lakers
Our friends at the Orlando Sentinel have a lengthy piece today based on the notion that the series would be tied if not for the referees missing a goaltending call against Pau Gasol of the Lakers on the blown layup by the Magic's Courtney Lee at the buzzer of regulation in Game 2. Actually, when I saw the headline, I thought it was a story about the hockey playoffs. Goaltending? Really? Seriously? I've seen the replay of Lee's miss a couple of times on the teevee this morning and I see Gasol flick the net, but that's a call for a high school game. That's my opinion. What do you guys think?

The Sporting News:

Finesse Players Are Not Necessarily Soft - - The Baseline
Did you catch that? In Medialand, "soft" and "finesse" are used interchangeably. "Versatile," while a little more respectable, can also be euphemistic. But here's the thing: Players can be tough and yet have some finesse to their game. It's icing on the cake of brute force, a way of diversifying so the player's more unpredictable, or just generally more skilled. "Versatile" is along those same lines. It means that, in addition to having some "finesse," a player can take it even further, and dribble some, shoot a three, all that jazz. Really sucks, I know.

Point Guard Switch Backfiring On Magic - - The Baseline
Just before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, when Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy learned that All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson was feeling well enough to suit up for the series after four months off with a shoulder injury, it seemed as though the Magic—with Rafer Alston starting and Nelson off the bench—suddenly had an embarrassment of riches at the position. Turns out Orlando has had only an embarrassment. There really is no other way to describe the point-guard play the team has gotten in the first two games of this series.

Other Links:

KNOTT: Jackson again proving his masterful abilities - Washington Times

Sports of The Times - If Gasol Gets an N.B.A. Ring, the ‘Soft’ Label Will Disappear -
Regardless of how well Gasol performs, until Los Angeles wins the championship, Gasol will have to live with the all-finesse label that has followed him since he entered the N.B.A. in 2001.

Finally, Orlando's time - Ball Don't Lie - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
It's been a fitful 20-year run for the Magic franchise, and though you'd have to assume the team and the fan base are awfully happy to be in this year's Finals, you also get the feeling that they might regard their matchup with the Lakers as the most recent in a series of calamities.

For Magic’s Turkoglu, the Highs Can Be Fleeting -
In Game 2, the line between success and setback blurred again for Hedo Turkoglu, who has developed into a clutch shooter for the Orlando Magic.

Lakers' Gasol, Odom Providing Assistance Worthy of a Champion
All the talk about Kobe Bryant trying to win an NBA championship without Shaquille O'Neal obscures something more important this season: Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers wouldn't be two more wins from a 15th title if not for the players acquired -- directly and in a roundabout fashion -- for O'Neal.

Van Gundy Says Comeback Is Possible
The situation appears bleak, with his Orlando Magic becoming the 31st team to go down 0-2 in the NBA Finals. But Coach Stan Van Gundy didn't have to search hard to find a source of inspiration for his team to rally around. Only three teams in that position have come back to win an NBA championship, but Van Gundy was part of -- on the payroll, at least -- the last team to pull it off, the 2006 Miami Heat.



710 ESPN Los Angeles

The Dan Patrick Show Playoff Podcast #23

NBA TV's Game 3 Preview (w/ Ahmad Rashard, Chris Webber, and Gary Payton) Game 2 All-Access

NBA Fanhouse Roundcast

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