Posts Tagged ‘Yao Ming

17
May
09

The Nuggets are good, the sole reason the Lakers will not lose

The Lakers took possession’s off, they didn’t play defense, and they barely escaped the undermanned Houston Rockets.  What is going to happen in this next series?  According to Chuck (Sir Charles) Denver wins.  We all know the Lakers are the most talented team in the NBA, yet as we have come to ask the whole Houston series, where is the heart?  Where is the intensity?  Where is the fight?

According to everyone the Lakers will not match up with Denvers physicality, intensity, or day in and day out fight.  I beg to differ.  As I said earlier and as we all know the Lakers are deep and extremely talented.  They have a history of getting a big head and thinking that they are entitled to get to the finals again.

Going into the Houston series, the Lakers were laid back.  They had not lost to this team once during the regular season and felt as though they would walk all over them.  Game one was an eye opener as Houston stole home court and the first game.  Phil and the boys made their adjustments and went on to win games two and three.

Yao Ming goes down with an injury and the Lakers get complacent once again.  The Rockets stomp on the show and the Lakers answer back with an even bigger spanking.  Game six the Lakers had the Rockets with their back against the wall, and once again the boys in Purple and Gold got complacent.  Game seven well the Lakers new they had to come to play and that is what they did to clinch the series.

The reason the Lakers will win the Denver series is because Denver is good.  There were four must win games for the Lakers this season.  Two against Cleveland and two against Boston.   The Lakeshow won all four of those “statement” games.  When they have to come and play they will do so.  As bad as that sounds, this is the Los Angeles Lakers team we have become used to seeing.

The reason the Lakers will not be complacent to the Nuggets, because they are a good team.  The Lakers almost lost this last series to a not so good Rockets team.  If they do the same against this team, well its game over.  Due to the fact that the Nuggets are far better than the Rockets it then makes the Lakers all that much better and have them bring their intensity.

Houston was that wake-up call in which all Lakers and Laker fans were looking for.  With a small line up, it allowed Bynum to get extra minutes to get his confidence back to a level near what it was when he got injured.  A speedy Aaron Brooks helped the Lakers figure out how they best defend against the pick and roll.

If Bynum comes out and plays the way he did in game seven, the Lakers play with energy, and they guard the pick and roll the same way they shut down Brooks in game seven they will get the series 4-1.   After all that said I am hesitant in even remotely thinking that there will not be a repeat performance of games four and six from the Lakers.  Lets see what they are made of.

Buttnuggets here we come-

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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.

08
May
09

Lakers Answer with physicality

I still have nightmares of the NBA finals from last year.  The Celtics held serve at home.  The Lakers won game three, lost a million point lead in game four, and won game five.  Game six, well that’s when the nightmare started.  The Lakers were soft, under tested, and humiliated.

As I said in my previous Lakers Rockets article, I think that game one was a great thing for the Lakers.  They found out that they can not cruise through the playoffs the way they did through the season or the previous year.  They are finally being tested.  Last game the Lakers got up fifteen and the Rockets would not go away.  Luckily they went into half with a nine point lead and maintained it in the second half of play sealing the victory.

In that half, the Lakers looked like a team from the 70’s and 80’s.  They had a similar resembelance of the Celtics last year.  They got in the other teams face, played physical, and showed them that they were not going to be pushed around by the NBA bad boy Ron Artest and the Houston Rockets.

As we all know Derek Fisher will be gone for tonight’s game after De Cleating Louis Scola.

Fish has been kicking it with Rey Maualuga....Fight on

Fish has been kicking it with Rey Maualuga....Fight on

I feel that this will once again benefit the Lakers.  As much as I love Fish and his leadership on the court his shooting has not been there for the playoffs.  He has shot 26% from the three point line and 42% from the field.  His defense has been in question going against the speedy Aaron Brooks.  Shannon Brown will most likely get the start.  Shannon is faster and a better defender than Fish, he also has been shooting the ball relatively well and brings an energy to the court.  Did anyone see him hit is elbow on the rim going for that block against Scola in the first half last game?  Yeah the guy has hops.

With Fish out Farmar and Vuj will both get significant PT and hopefully will step up to the challenge.  They will not be playing in “dead time” and trying to prove themselves yet playing within the offense when it counts.  If either of their games are on it should be  a lot of fun for Lakers fans.

Last but not least, lets look at Kobe and Ron Ron.  Ron has a short fuse and Kobe knows how to get under his skin.  Artest has been killing it from the field as of late and the Lakeshow needs Ariza and Odom to step the D up on him.  When it comes to defending Kobe, Artest and Battier are the toughest it comes.  They will ware Kobe out and make him trust his teamates.  As long as the other Lakers are knocking down then they shall be fine.

The Lakers once again need to pound the ball inside and get Yao into foul trouble.  With Yao in foul trouble that keeps Bynum out of foul trouble and on the floor longer.  If we can do this then the Lakers will force the Rockets into a shooting team which makes the odds stack up even more against them.

Tonight is going to be a hostile environment to say the least.  The refs are going to call a tight game, making the chances of Yao and Bynum to pick up some cheap fouls.  If the Lakers execute and stay tough, then there should be no problems getting one if not two W’s in Houston.

Game time 7:30 pacific, lets go lakeshow-

30
Apr
09

Ron Artest bites his toungue once again

The Houston Rockets, what can I say about them?  The first thing that jumps to mind is the Dream shake and Clyde the Glide ripping it in H town.  Then there was the draft which brought Yao over to the states.  A dude who is seven eight and has a jumper, quite impressive.  Then there is the saga of T-Mac, a superstar brought in from Orlando to only fall in the first round of the playoffs time and time again.  Finally, we are brought to the present.

The Houston Rockets have finally won a playoffs round, the first since 1997.  It has been a tough road, and a straight out battle against Brando Roy and the Portland Trailblazers.  Next, they face my Los Angeles Lakers.  Coming into the opening game of the series the Lakers will have had three more days of rest than the Rockets.  This rest was a much needed break and gives our big man Bynum time to rest that knee, get into a good rhythm and match up with the Chinese giant down below.

Hey Yao, at least it isnt Nate Robinson

Hey Yao, at least it isn't Nate Robinson

Just yesterday reporters were allowed in the Rockets practice and none other than Ron Artest took an interview.  Among the typical questions being asked, Ron found a way to make a stir in the media once again.  No he did not rush into the crowd and throw hay makers similar to the instance in Detroit, but instead threw a different kind of punch.

Ron Artest has come out to say that Brandon Roy is the best player he has gone against all season.  When I first heard this as well as the reporters, they had to do a double take.  “Brandon Roy is the best player you have gone against this series, right?”  Artest replied, “hands down Roy is the best player I have had to defend this season, hands down the hardest player to guard in the NBA.”

Lets look at some of the players Artest has had to guard starting with the most obvious.  Kobe, LeBron, Pierce, Manu, Carmello, Hamilton, Wade, just to name a few.  The names that jump out the most are Kobe and LeBron.  Was Ron Artest really thinking that Kobe and LeBron were not listening?  If the Rockets did make it through game six which they did, does he realize Kobe is listening and taking note?  If the Rockets do get past the Lakers (which they wont) and meet the Cav’s in the finals does he think LeBron is not listening?

Ron Artest has just said to much for him to handle.  There is no player in the NBA that can turn something personal like this and make it rain like Kobe.  We have seen what happens time and time again when Kobe gets pissed in games.  The guy goes wild, crazy, takes over, and makes not only you but your team pay for this.

What happened when this occured? Yeah, Kobe went off

What happened when this occurred? Yeah, Kobe went off

All I have to say is thank you Ron Ron.  Thanks for sparking that camp fire the Lakers have going and turning it into an inferno.  All I can say is Kobe is waiting and ready.  Ron, once again you have turned yourself into public enemy one and once again you have acted without thinking (remember that night in motor city?).  Good luck in this next round, because you and Yao will be lucky to get a game.  On a side note, since the Rockets make it out of the first round and T-Mac is injured does that mean T-Mac made it out of the first round as well?

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