Monthly Archive for April, 2008

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Gameplan Doesn’t Change With Kleiza Hurt

Denver’s Linas Kleiza is expected to start today even though he suffered a hyper-extended left elbow at the end of the first half in Game 2. The injury to his shooting elbow clearly limited Kleiza during the second half of that game and reports are that it’s still bothering him today.

Phil Jackson doesn’t see a reason to alter the gameplan because of this. “We’ll approach the game like he’s 100% and see how it goes from there. I noticed he didn’t shoot the ball much the second half, obviously it was bothering him.”

Kleiza torched the Lakers in Game 1 for 23-points on 9/13 shooting.

Turiaf To Go

Ailing forward/center Ronny Turiaf, who was not even present in the building for Game 2, is ready to go for Saturday’s Game 3 contest.

Turiaf was able to eat and regain some of the strength that he lost while suffering a sore throat that caused him to lose 11 pounds.

“I feel alright. I’m ready to go,” said Turiaf.

Phil Jackson didn’t express the same confidence, but expects Ronny to be on the court today.

“I don’t know if he’ll lead them in cheers coming out of the locker room and going out to the court, but he’ll be able to play he says.”

Game 2: What Went Right/Wrong

What Went Right:

•• Kobe Bryant’s 49 point, 10 assist performance mesmerized the STAPLES Center crowd and was arguably his greatest playoff game ever.

•• The triangle offense has been money for the Lakers in both games so far as evidenced by their 33 assists on 46 field goals compared to only 12 dimes for the Nuggets.

•• Once again, Luke Walton proved himself as a huge X-Factor in this series, following up his unexpected 16 point Game 1 effort with another 18 in Game 2.

•• While it wasn’t as monstrous as his 36 point, 16 rebound Lakers playoff debut, center Pau Gasol had a very efficient 18 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2.

•• Although turnovers were a problem for the Lakers at times during the regular season, they did an excellent job of taking care of the ball in Game 2, committing only 12 turnovers.

•• The poised Lakers attack caused two more Denver players to pick up technical fouls with Iverson and J.R. Smith each being whistled

•• Denver’s bench outscored the Lakers’ bench mob in Game 1, but Walton, Vujacic, Farmar and Co. answered back in Game 2, posting 43 points.

What Went Wrong:

•• For the second game in a row, the Lakers allowed 35+ free throws to the Nuggets. Denver did a much better job of making them in Game 2 too, nailing 29-36.

•• The Lakers allowed Allen Iverson to exceed 30 points for the second straight game, but did a better job of holding Carmelo Anthony in check (23 points) in Game 2.

•• Lamar Odom was quiet in Game 2, only scoring four points and pulling down six rebounds. Luckily, Kobe’s 49 points more than made up for the unusually quiet night for the forward.

Bryant, Odom Ready for Denver’s Best

After seeing Houston, Toronto, and Washington all win Game 3 after falling 2-0 in their playoff matchups, the Lakers know they have to be ready for Denver’s best shot. “We expect them to come out and play,” said Bryant. “They’re competitors.”

Lamar Odom recognizes that the Nuggets aren’t going to give the Lakers the series after being down 2-0, and feels that the Lakers need to be “really focused to pull this one out” and grab a playoff win on the road. He does however believe that the team is feeling a little more confident after going up two games to none. “Whenever you have a lead period, you’re going to have a little more confidence, but if you watched playoff basketball last night every team that had a 2-0 lead, lost.”

Kobe remained confident in his team and is prepared to go on the road. “We’ve been a pretty solid road team.” Bryant added. “We’ve had some big games on the road – Utah, Dallas, Denver and some other places that are tough to play and I think it helps because you understand how to get it done.”

Kobe, Hungrier Than Ever for 4th Title

After watching the first two games of the first round series against the Denver Nuggets, it is easy to see that Kobe Bryant wants to win; but how does that desire to win another ring compare to his passion for the first time he went through a championship run in 2000.

“It’s different. The first one, I was so young. Plus I was sharing that pressure with somebody else.” Bryant said. “Now, the pressure is squarely on my shoulders to try and bring another championship here. It’s something I accept. I’m a little hungrier now than I was the first time.”

Does he like having all of the pressure rest on his shoulders? “It comes with the territory.” Bryant added. “Can’t be superman and not deal with the pressure of dropping somebody when you go to rescue them.”

When asked about the hunger Coach Phil Jackson has to grab his tenth championship, compared to his first title with Chicago or the Lakers in 2000, Jackson responded saying he is very hungry. “I haven’t had breakfast since 8:30 a.m. actually” and pointed out that “it’s past my lunchtime.”

Lakers Aware of Denver’s Energy Turning into a Strength

Allen Iverson has already received three technical fouls, including being tossed from Game 1, as the Nuggets (who have a total of six technical fouls) have dropped the first two games of the series in Los Angeles. Several Lakers realize that emotion could turn the other way once they arrive in Denver.

“They’re an emotional bunch. We have to understand that could work against us, particularly in game 3;” said Bryant. “Once they get the crowd behind them and they gain momentum, their emotions all of a sudden now becomes their biggest strength. What we have to try to do is keep it quiet as much as we possibly can.”

“In the playoffs you get a little more emotional, can’t help it;” added Odom. “Every game is important. When we’re up there and facing their crowd, we will try to keep our composure so that doesn’t happen to us.”

Luke Walton did not seem to be as worried about the tables being turned in Denver as he has his relaxation methods down to a science. Taking deep breaths usually works for him, but in dire needs he suggested that he might have to rub his ears to calm himself.

Jackson Hopes Turiaf Can Return to Lineup

Ronny Turiaf may have looked “slow and lethargic” on the court today, but according to Coach Jackson, he hopes to have Ronny be active for Game 3. “I thought he got a sweat today and I think he looks better.” Jackson noted. “He says he feels better.”

Turiaf has lost 11 founds due to the illness.

Away Game Viewing at STAPLES Center

The Lakers will not be having away game viewing at STAPLES Center (called Home Court Advantage in the past) during the 1st Round of the playoffs.

Please check back to Lakers.com for updates on Home Court Advantage should the Lakers progress in the playoffs.

You can find the playoff schedule here. The schedule will update with specific game times for Round 1 when the information is released.

Game 2: Lakers vs. Nuggets Post-Game

The Lakers used a stellar second half surge for the second game in a row to topple the Nuggets in Game 2 of the teams’ best of seven Western Conference Quarterfinal series. Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers, scoring 25 points in the first half and adding another 24 after for a total of 49. Pau Gasol and Luke Walton had 18 points a piece to back up the Lakers’ superstar guard.

“Kobe–when he’s making his jump shot–is somewhat undefendable,” said an exasperated George Karl after the game.

After being bothered throughout Game 1 by Kenyon Martin’s defense, Phil Jackson said Bryant obviously entered tonight’s game with a completely different mindset.

“I would imagine if I were Kobe Bryant…he was out shooting early before practices started today getting himself revved up for tonight’s game,” said Jackson.

Jackson said that despite leading by 10 at halftime, the Lakers were not able to build on their advantage in a a back-and-forth third quarter in which the Nuggets actually took the lead at one point.

Continue reading ‘Game 2: Lakers vs. Nuggets Post-Game’

Game 2: Lakers vs. Nuggets In-Game

Inactives for Today’s Game:
Nuggets: Taurean Green, Bobby Jones
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Trevor Ariza, Ronny Turiaf

1st Quarter:
10:56 Fisher starts off the scoring for both teams, stealing the ball from Martin before taking it to about the free throw line and drilling a jumper that sends a raucous STAPLES Center crowd to their feet. Derek had a quiet opening game so look for him to come out with a much stronger effort in Game 2.

8:30 Kobe gets his first two of the game, confidently shooting over Martin for an eight footer that falls in off the backboard. On the Lakers’ ensuing possession, Bryant nailed a long range jumper that puts him at 2-3 on the night from the field. The Nuggets still lead early though 10-9.

6:41 After a wild sequence of bobbled balls following Gasol’s miss in the lane, the center finally regains control of the ball and throws up one of his signature baby hooks for his first points of the night. Pau also had two rebounds on the night to lead the Lakers almost halfway through the first quarter.

Continue reading ‘Game 2: Lakers vs. Nuggets In-Game’