Monthly Archive for May, 2008

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WCF Game 3: What Went Right/Wrong

What Went Right:
• Kobe led the team in scoring once again with 30, including a stretch in the fourth quarter in which he connected on four consecutive three pointers to nearly put the Lakers back in contention in a game that was quickly becoming a rout at the hands of the Spurs.

• Jordan Farmar continued his Western Conference Finals resurgence with another double-digit effort, this time scoring 10 points to lead all Lakers reserves, including 2-3 from beyond the arc.

• The Lakers showed they can handle the Spurs on the boards once again, beating the San Antonio in the rebounding department by three, 42-39, including an 8-3 edge in offensive rebounds.

• Vladimir Radmanovic played a solid all-around game, contributing nine points and nine rebounds. Moreover, the forward showed an increased willingness to drive his way to the hoop instead of simply relying on his three point shot.

• L.A. played a productive first quarter, matching San Antonio’s early intensity by outscoring them 24-21 in the first 12 minutes. However, the purple and gold were dominated in the second quarter, 28-15, giving the Spurs the lead for good.

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WCF Game 3: Lakers at Spurs Post-Game

The defending champion Spurs came roaring back in Game 3 at home, using a 28-15 edge in the second quarter to catapult themselves back into the series with a 103-84 win. For the Lakers, the game marked a stark contrast from Game 2 in which they scored 101 points in a balanced offensive attack.

“I think it was more our fault than their credit,” said Pau Gasol, who scored only 15 points on a poor 7-18 from the field. “They did a good job contesting shots and trying to protect their rim, but we didn’t finish. We should have finished much better than we did tonight, especially by the rim. We were not strong enough, decisive enough, aggressive enough to be able to finish those plays, because we are not going to get the benefit of the doubt on any calls. We just have to go out there and finish no matter what.”

Manu Ginobil led the Spurs’ attack with 30 points off the bench on an efficient 9-15 from the field. Tony Parker also made 9-15 shots to score 20 points after being called out by Spurs Coach Greg Popovic for a dismal 13-point effort in Game 2.

“He (Ginobili) made a conscious decision to play aggressive no matter how he played,” said Lakers guard Derek Fisher. “He didn’t seem to be tentative, he seemed to go right at it the second he checked into the game. He played the kind of game he’s capable of playing. It really made the difference in the game in terms of the energy with which they were playing.”

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WCF Game 3: Lakers at Spurs In-Game

Inactives for Tonight’s Games:
Spurs: Matt Bonner, DeMarr Johnson, Ian Mahinmi
Lakers: Coby Karl, Ira Newble, Andrew Bynum

1st Quarter

  • It’s a “Grey Out” here in San Antonio tonight as every seat in the arena was adorned with a grey Spurs playoff shirt sponsored by H-E-B (a local grocery store).
  • Popovich kept Michael Finley in the starting lineup tonight but quickly inserted Ginobili five minutes into the game.
  • There’s a lot of clapping in unison going on here. Pre-game the crowd clapped all through the home team’s intros and pretty much until tip. Now the upper level has it going again for the Junior Jammers. The Grey Out is working pretty well. Even the lower level is on board for the most part (save the Lakers fans in the Purple & Gold). I’m always a fan of this working… maybe just because it never works that well in LA.
  • The crowd is still firmly behind Manu even after he tossed out back-to-back stinkers in Los Angeles. He’s rewarding the support by canning his first two three pointers. Previous to those two he had been 2-10 in the series.
  • Jordan Farmar & Sasha Vujacic, who both had solid performances in Game 2, enter at the three minute mark. A little earlier than normal for the duo, showing the confidence that Phil has developed in them over the course of the year. Once again Sasha goes to work on Ginobili, while Jordan is left to guard the taller Brent Barry.

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  • WCF Game 2: What Went Right/Wrong

    What Went Right:
    • The Lakers outscored the Spurs, 55-34 in the second half, including a 27-14 fourth quarter that sunk San Antonio’s comeback hopes once and for all.

    • Jordan Farmar continued his upward swing in Game 2, following up a solid effort in the series opener by scoring 14 points–a new playoff career high for the second year guard. As a whole, the Lakers’ bench outscored the Spurs’ reserves by a 34-26 margin.

    • Unlike Game 1, the Lakers found a way to stop Tim Duncan on offense, holding the perennial All-NBA player to just 12 points. However, Duncan did manage to pull down a game-high 16 rebounds. Similarly, Tony Parker also wasn’t a big factor in Game 2, only dropping in 13 points.

    • After a close game throughout the majority of the first half, L.A. mounted a charge in the final two minutes of the second quarter that turned a 37-37 tie into a nine-point halftime advantage–a lead the Lakers held onto for the rest of the night.

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    WCF Game 2: Lakers vs Spurs Post-Game

    The Lakers manhandled San Antonio in Game 2, outscoring the Spurs 55-34 in the second half on their way to a 101-71 win. For L.A., all 11 players who stepped foot on the floor scored, led by 22 from Kobe Bryant.

    Lamar Odom rebounded from a poor Game 1 effort, scoring 20 points to go along with a team-high 12 rebounds. Meanwhile, the Lakers held the Spurs to just 35% shooting and only 26% from beyond the three point line.

    After the game, Coach Jackson said the poor shooting night was a combination of the Lakers’ defense and the Spurs simply missing good opportunities.

    “I think they had an off night,” said Jackson. “I think they had some tired legs and I think that’s what happens sometimes. You get to playing a lot of playoff games back-to-back. We’re every other day here in this situation. Kind of crept up on them perhaps.”

    Spurs Coach Greg Popovic said that the second game in the series was the one in which fatigue finally caught up to them, not Game 1.

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    WCF Game 2: Lakers vs Spurs In-Game

    Inactives for Tonight’s Games:
    Spurs: Matt Bonner, DeMarr Johnson, Ian Mahinmi
    Lakers: Coby Karl, Ira Newble, Andrew Bynum

    1st Quarter:
    11:43 Odom makes good on his pre-game promise of coming out more aggressive in Game 2, putting a great spin move on Oberto before gently laying the ball in off the glass for the first basket of the game for either team.

    10:00 After practice yesterday, Coach Jackson said that he expected Bryant come out in Game 2 looking to score more out of the gates and early, on Kobe makes him look like prophet, making a strong move to create some space from about ten feet out before nailing the open jumper.

    7:54 The Lakers are playing well on both ends of the floor through four minutes of play, with Bryant answering Parker’s driving layup by making a rare bank shot from about twenty feet out to give the Lakers a 13-8 lead. Kobe’s four points are second on the team to Fisher’s five.

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    Ariza in Uniform Tonight

    Before game 2 tonight, Coach Jackson said that there is a chance that Trevor Ariza will see playing time, noting “He’s going to be dressed in uniform tonight.”

    Jackson said the athletic forward displayed the necessary level of energy in practice this week, but he is still working on getting back in sync with the rest of his Lakers teammates.

    WCF Game 1: What Went Right/Wrong

    What Went Right:
    • After scoring only two points in the first half while he was “letting the game come to him,” Kobe went on one of his vaunted tears in the second half, scoring 25 points, including a pivotal basket with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

    • Looking lifeless throughout much of the first half and a third quarter in which they trailed by 20 points midway through, the Lakers embarked on a 14-0 third quarter run on their way to their largest comeback in a playoff game since Game 4 against the Kings in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

    • Two players that struggled at times in the Second Round—Farmar and Radmanovic– had effective Game One’s against the Spurs, with Jordan scoring eight points and Radmanovic scoring 10 first half points.

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    Kobe Plays Decoy in Game One

    After scoring only two points in the first half and repeatedly deferring to his teammates, both Kobe and Coach Jackson defended the Lakers’ early game plan.

    “I like the fact that he’s looking for his teammates,” said Jackson, noting that he believes Kobe did pass up three or four good shot opportunities in the first half though.

    Bryant said that he wanted to make sure his teammates were involved on offense early on before taking over in the second half on his way to 27 total points.

    Looking ahead to Game 2, Jackson said that he expects his MVP guard to come out with a little more aggression on offense early on, but that he is pleased with Kobe’s overall game plan.

    Lakers Expect Spurs to Come Out Firing in Game 2

    While many teams would be demoralized after losing a twenty point lead in a pivotal playoff game, the Lakers don’t expect the blown lead to affect the Spurs much, if at all.

    “We expect them to come back with renewed energy,” said Coach Jackson after today’s practice, noting that the Spurs came to Los Angeles hoping for a split and they still have an opportunity to get one in Game 2.

    Derek Fisher praised the youthful Laker squad’s ability to muster up the strength to make a big comeback against such a formidable opponent.

    “Those are the type of wins–at least for the men in the room–that puts a little hair on your chest,” said Fisher, revealing that he believes the win will help foster a winner’s mentality with this current team.

    Although Jackson’s teams have never lost a series after winning the opening game, Jackson reiterated that you can’t take anything for granted despite his amazing track record.

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