Posts Tagged ‘Pau Gasol

03
Jun
09

Don’t worry Orlando, we have you covered

Besides being healthy in the NBA finals, the biggest difference from last year opposed to this year for the Lakers, is the variety of teams they played against and styles they saw in the post season.  Each round was a different style and match up that the Lakers had to play against and make adjustments.  These various styles thus have prepared them to match up and know how to play the Orlando Magic.

The Magic starting five for the post season has consisted of Rafer “Skip to my Lou” Alston, Rashard Lewis, Courtney Lee, Hedo Turkoglu, and Dwight Howard.  Lets start by breaking down each player and who they most resemble from the previous teams the Lakers have faced.  Alston is most like his young counter part who took over his spot in Houston, Aaron Brooks.  The guy is a great ball handler and very quick.  Like Brooks this guy will take an open shot so you have to stick home with him.  I feel that Fish will do a decent job on him, but we will be looking to let Farmar get most of the minutes due to his speed on the defensive end.

Courtney Lee is shooting 45% from the field in the playoffs and 30% from down town.  Out of the four shooters on the floor for Orlando he is the one Kobe will be helping off of.  We want to make him beat us.  On the offensive end this is where we will have our best mismatch with him defending Kobe.  I find Lee very similar to Ronnie Brewer of Utah.  Kobe will be free to roam around and help with other defensive assignments simialr to what he did in Utah.

Rashard Lewis, is big and can shoot lights out.  He reminds we of a better shooting Lamar Odom.  Lewis shoots well for a big man and spreads the floor for the magic.   The player most like Lewis in which the Lakers have faced would be a guy similar to Okur.  Even though Lewis is quicker than Okur, chances are Gasol will be able to keep up with him.  If they decided to pick and roll then the Lakers will be fine to switch on the pick with the lengthy Ariza and Gasol.

Hedo, I despised this guy back when he played for the Kings.  Another bigger forward who can score from any where on the floor.  Ariza got a great warm up defending Mello in the previous series.  If Ariza can slow down Mello then for sure he can have an impact on Hedo.  I feel that this is the X factor.  If we can keep Hedo quite we can win this series.

Time to break down Dwight.  Dwight is a man child, a super freak.  The dude takes his vitamins.  Luckily we have two seven footers to clog up the lane and make the paint a living night mare for Howard.  Where he will get his points is late switches or slow to help.  It is essential Bynum stays out of foul trouble.  There are possibly chances that Phil will suite up Mbenga to throw one more man at Howard with size.

The Lakers trip to the finals is four wins away.  Lets see if they can do it.  Game time tomorrow at 6…..

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10
May
09

Where is the heart?

I have been dreading opening up the laptop and pushing these keys for the last hour and a half.  Emotions running through my body as though I have been dumped, cheated on, and let down.  For ninety-one games I have sat quarter-by-quarter watching the “most talented” team in the NBA attempt to make it back to the NBA Finals and hang one more banner in the rafters of Staples Center.

All season long we knew this could be the year.  We had the pieces put into place and the motivation of being embarrassed from the previous years Finals fueling our fire.  The Lakers came out of the gates hot and on a mission.  The first fifteen games of the season, the Lakers looked unstoppable and hungry, the way King James and the Cavs look now.  Then the boys in purple and gold got complacent, got relaxed, and developed a very bad habit.  It was the first time since the departure of Shaq where the Lakers seemed as though they could score at will.  We had Bynum and Gasol putting up All Star like numbers inside.  Kobe and Fish held down the outside.  Odom and Ariza averaging double doubles.  Vuj and Farmar off the bench, making them look like the Bench Mob of the Kings back in the early 2000’s.  It was pure offense.  Yet we all know pure offense does not win Championships.

This season in Laker land was good, not great.  We did not drop a game to Cleveland of Boston. Yet in the back of my mind as much as I wanted to ignore it, we took trips on the defensive end off.  We relied to heavily on our offense.  All season long I have had to listen to Jeff Van Gundy and Marv Albert say the Lakers took plays off, settled for threes, and did not close teams out.  The Lakers would turn it on when they needed to and turn it off when they were up by sizeable leads.

All season long the Lakers would get up twenty in the fourth, have Kobe and Gasol on the bench, and some how be up by five with three left.  It even got to the point in several games where the guys knees were iced up and they had to take the ice off to bring the starters back in.

Why could the Lakers not hold the lead?  Why could the Lakers not show that intensity that we all know they are capable of?  Why do they take plays off on the defensive end?  Is it because they are too talented?  Is it bad habit?  Is it the laid back nature of this city and state I love so much?  What ever it is, it needs to change.

What I witnessed today, as Erving “Magic” Johnson said at halftime was straight up “embarrassing”.  I know I am not in that locker room, and I do not play professional sports, but seriously Lakers.  What is the deal?  You were up 2 games to 1 and Yao is out for the remainder of the playoffs.  You had a chance to put Artest and the Rockets on the ropes, yet you did not.  The game was over after the first five minuets of play.  Did you think the Rockets were going to give you the series?  Did you think they were going to just not show up?

I thought that the game one loss was a good thing for Los Angeles.  I thought it was going to be their wakeup call.  I thought it was going to fuel the fire.  I was correct, well for two games.  Yet as the Lakers have done all season long, they have blown the lead, they have let the “underdog” back in it, and given the guys in Houston confidence.

I have to hand it to Battier and Brooks.  They straight up killed it today and sent yet another message to Los Angeles.  They played great.  Houston came and laid it on us from the tip off.  As the series shifts back to Los Angeles all I can do is sit around and wait.  Wait to see how the Lakers come out, with their backs against the wall while the Rockets are playing with house money.

Can the Lakers play like we all know they can or will they play like we have seen them play all season long?  Do the Lakers have that killer instinct?  Allen Iverson said it best; “I would rather have more heart than talent any day.”  Today the heart beat out the talent.  Lets see if the talent can get that heart, lets see if there is any heart in Los Angeles.  As a die-hard fan it is difficult to question my team like this but when are they going to play the way we know they can?

I guess we will find out Tuesday at 7:30.

02
Feb
09

MVP MVP MVP MVP

 

MVP

MVP

For Laker fans all year long, we have been waiting for a night like this. Kobe finally dropped big points and it could have not come at a better time. He dropped 61 pts in the Mecca of basketball Madison Square Garden including a perfect twenty for twenty performance from the free throw line. He scored the most points ever in this gym passing Jordan who dropped a double nickel and Bernard King who had 60.
As a Laker fan this is awesome but as we saw tonight the true basketball fans in New York also appreciated the performance. When Phil pulled Kobe out with under a minute to go the crowd started chanting MVP and truly meant it. Spike Lee, Mr. New York Knick, gave Kobe a standing ovation, and even the zen master gave Kobe a humble slap on the ass. It truly was a great night for the NBA and basketball fans world wide.
I know that Bron Breezy has been leading the leauge in the MVP race but tonight this performance will hopefully close ground between Lebron and Kobe. No more is Kobe the guy that hoists up fifty shots a night and averages thirty seven points per game. On most nights he leads the team in points and assists averagins 27 and 6 per game. His defence is stellar, he gets his teamates the ball, and similar to Air Jordan himself, Kobe is now making the players around him better.
He if finally playing the game the way it should be played and efficiently. Tonight Kobe knew that his team needed something positive to look towards with the news of Andrew Bynum going down for possibly three months. They needed this momentum to carry them through Toronto and Boston. Now as Kobe so many times has led by example, it is time for his team to step up. Time for Lamar and Pau to play some interior Defense, time for Luke and Vlad, to hit those open threes, time for Trevor to keep doing what Trevor does, time for Fish and Farm to get the ball where it needs to go, and finally time for the Lakers to put all doubts aside that they can win and win big with out Bynum.
This I feel is only a start to a brilliant performance that we are about to wittness from Kobe Bryant. Lakers fans, NBA fans, basketball fans, get ready to wittness basketball the way it should be played, the way the greatest player in the world plays. It is time for Kobe to reclaim his MVP.




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