Monthly Archive for May, 2009

Page 5 of 10

Missed Shots? Nahh

Lakers assistant coach Craig Hodges knows everything you can know about shooting the basketball. That’s what he does.

As such, I thought his opinion on Derek Fisher’s 1-for-14 3-point shooting slump in L.A.’s second round series with Houston would be interesting. Perhaps most pertinent was his complete confidence that missing shots was far out of Fisher’s mind heading into Game 7, because that’s how it was for him.

Here’s part of our interchange:

MT: Coach, do you remember going through a shooting slump in a playoff series like Fisher’s?
Hodges: I couldn’t even tell you. I don’t remember misses. I only thought about makes, ever. The last thing I wanted to do was visualize the ball not going in the hoop.

MT: Really? Literally?
Hodges: I’m telling you. I didn’t even let one miss stay in my memory for one second. The only thing a miss does is prepare you for your next shot. That’s it.

If Fisher’s thinking like Hodges, you can erase his previous struggles. Sunday’s a new (shooting) day.

Game 7 Scouting Report

Lakers advance scout and assistant coach Rasheed Hazzard sat down with us to preview Game 7 on a step-by-step basis.

We picked ‘Sheed’s brain about what to expect from an adjustment perspective, the defensive focus of the Lakers, how Houston’s managed to be effective at times, how to involve Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol on the block and more.

Lakers Know What To Do In Game 7

Lakers The last time L.A. played a Game 7 at STAPLES Center, George W. Bush had just taken office, Y2K had failed to ruin the world and Andrew Bynum was 12 years old.

But Phil Jackson’s attitude hasn’t much changed.

The thesis statement from the head coach after Saturday’s practice was simple: His players were fully prepared, and knew precisely what was required of them leading into Sunday’s Game 7 with Houston.

“The guys on our team believe that we know what we have to do to get this accomplished. We came out in the third quarter (of Game 6) and got the game back in hand, but we lost it by a series of misplays that weren’t related to anything that Houston did but what we didn’t do. We were able to match the energy level in that third quarter, but we couldn’t sustain our mind set, how we’re going to play against them and what we’re going to do, so that’s what we have to do (on Sunday).

Of course, Jackson wasn’t interested in detailing exactly what adjustments will be made, but his general point that his players knew the onus was on them was confirmed by one Laker after another, including Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

“I don’t know, don’t care (what kind of Rockets team will show up),” said Bryant. “We know they’re going to come out fighting and we have to be ready. We have to worry about what we’re going to do.”

“We know what we’re facing and we’re excited about it,” added Gasol. “The mind set has to be really aggressive and confident.”

Now, if you had to pinpoint a single focus, you can guess what end of the floor it was on.

“We’re continuing to evolve, (but) I think in the second half of (Game 6) we picked up our defensive intensity and saw kind of what we’re capable of in playing as hard as we did,” Bryant continued. “Hopefully tomorrow that effort will be there at the start.”

FisherFisher’s Confidence Not Faltering
One common question of late has centered around the struggles of Derek Fisher, who had made just 1-of-14 3-pointers en route to 29.4 percent shooting in the series and struggled at times to stay with the younger, quicker Aaron Brooks. Yet Fisher’s been around the block too often, come through in too many big situations to feel anything but confident about his game heading into Game 7, as he intimated after practice. He certainly has the trust of Phil Jackson, who indirectly suggested that Fisher would again be on the floor at the opening tip.

“We want all our players to be ready to play,” Jackson said. “What we have as a starting lineup is certainly not going to be always the team that we’ve got in there, but these are the guys that we count on and we’re going to go with the guys we believe in.”

In other words, the starting lineup should stay the same, but other than Kobe Bryant (he won’t be sitting much), minutes will be determined by who’s playing well, which could well mean more burn for Jordan Farmar in particular.

Bynum - ScolaOn the Block
The tenor of the game may be decided not on the perimeter by Fisher and Bryant, but rather on the block with Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. After all, the Rockets took advantage of the physical nature of Game 6 after noticing early that heavy contact was allowed in the paint, but that may not be the case on Sunday.

With Odom, L.A.’s biggest concern is his bruised back, which Carl Landry took advantage of Odom’s in the second half of Game 6. Jackson said Odom’s pain is “a concern,” but won’t keep him off the floor. Phil had more to say about Gasol and Bynum:

On Gasol: “If he stands still on the post and receives the ball, Chuck Hayes is a big, solid, wide guy, a lot of power in there to get up underneath (Gasol) where he doesn’t have a lot of room to move. But if we get him moving, get the team moving and the ball moving, (Gasol) is fine, he’ll do a good job against (Hayes). We have to set him up, it’s not just going to be get him the ball and let him go 1-on-1.”

On Bynum: “The guys just have to look for him. He’s a great target, he has a big body, if he asks for the ball and guys rotate off him we have to get him the basketball. He was open in certain situations, and we were interested in 3-point shots because we got concerned with making up the distance. But I think the guys will have the right idea, they know what do to.”

The Meditator
When asked if the public confidence he’s portrayed throughout the series was different from his personal feelings, Jackson acknowledged the following:

Has my sleep pattern changed? Yes. But that’s why I meditate and work on the things I work on. You have to play with control, but you have to play at optimum speed, so if you get hyped up and are trying to play above the level at which you can play controlled basketball, you’re doing a disservice. So it’s a combination of two things. I think (John) Wooden said it best: “Be quick but don’t hurry.” That’s kind of the statement.

Eyes Wide Shut
Sasha Vujacic, who like Fisher has struggled with his shot in the playoffs (24.6 percent), was still on the court shooting an hour after the first interview was conducted. After hitting 13-of-14 shots in seven spots around the 3-point line, Vujacic made 10 straight free throws, then 10 more with his eyes shut. “OK, now I can go,” he said before finally walking into the locker room.

Pau Gasol Audio: Saturday

Pau Gasol explained his team’s excitement heading into Game 7, talked about the importance of helping Andrew Bynum get off to good starts and expressed clearly his desire to bring a maximum physical effort to the game.

Kobe Bryant Audio: Saturday

Kobe Bryant addressed the media after Saturday afternoon’s practice, displaying a game-ready focus in describing what his team needs to do on Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m.

Friday Practice Report

Surprise, surprise…

After dropping Game 6 in Houston 95-80, the Lakers weren’t in the best collective mood of all time at Friday’s practice.

A few adjectives used by Phil Jackson and Jordan Farmar to describe the mood: somber, sullen, anxious, angry, and annoyed.

But perhaps the most pertinent word going into Sunday’s Game 7, which tips at 12:30 p.m., was “determined.” Farmar explained that the Lakers, more than anything, were eager to get back on the court and again prove their poor overall performance to be more of an aberration than a rule.

But to do so, the Lakers will need a better effort in the paint at both ends of the floor. Since a very physical style of play down low worked to Houston’s advantage in Game 6 (even if it’s on the Lakers for not pushing back), L.A. saw on film that they’ll need to be more aggressive on the block, not conceding any territory. There’s no question that Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in particular need to exploit their length advantage as they did in Game 5′s 40-point win, and that’s precisely what they plan on doing.

The one clear advantage L.A. has other than the on-paper matchups?

STAPLES Center.

There’s a reason the purple and gold fought all season for home-court advantage, and what better chance to use it than the first Game 7 since the 2000 Western Conference Finals, which featured Kobe Bryant’s fourth quarter alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal?

That play helped push L.A. to its first championship of the decade; We’ll see in 48 hours what this year’s bunch of Lakers have in ‘em.

Bryant’s Game 6 Technical Rescinded by NBA

General Manager Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers appealed Kobe Bryant’s second half technical foul in Thursday night’s Game 6 loss to Houston, and on Friday, according to head coach Phil Jackson, were informed that the technical was rescinded.

It’s good news for Bryant and the Lakers primarily because Bryant was inching towards the 7-technical ceiling, which mandates a one-game suspension from the NBA.

Bryant currently has four technical fouls in the playoffs.

Pete Carroll Twitterview

57422918Do you know what a Twitterview is? I didn’t either until about an hour after I got done doing one with USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll. As the name would imply it’s an interview done over Twitter (if you don’t know what that is click here). It’s that simple.

Before the Lakers Game 5 peppering of the Rockets, Coach Carroll put out a message saying “going to the @lakers game tonight! will any other tweebes be there too?”

Carroll seemed excited for the game so Lakers.com reached out to see what he thought about that evening’s matchup. He was nice enough to sit with us for 30-minutes for a little Twitter back-and-forth.

Obviously the constraints of 140-characters make for a unique kind of Q & A.The purple text is Lakers.com, the cardinal text is Coach Carroll.

Hey Coach @PeteCarroll, so you’re coming to the game tonight, who are you most excited to see play?
@lakers farmar coming off the bench!

@PeteCarroll A UCLA guy? Wow… after a tough loss, what do you tell your young athletes heading into the next game?
@Lakers we’ve got to go right back to what we know… always compete and do what we do best… last game’s over, it’s about the next step

@Lakers is lamar playing?
@PeteCarroll @RealLamarOdom went through shootaround but is a gametime decision tonight

@Lakers phil is the master of game 5s… the crowd is going to bring it, it’s going to be rocking tonite… you agree?
@Lakers i hear jack is pumped for the game… yeah?
@Lakers if lamar can’t go, we expect to see kurt rambis out there

@PeteCarroll The crowd will definitely be pumped up for tonight’s game, do you caution your teams against coming out too excited?
@Lakers never–they’ve got to get as excited as they can get… feed off the crowd and the emotion

@Lakers by the way, jeanie buss is the best nba executive
@PeteCarroll Did you know that Jeanie is on Twittter too? @jeaniebuss

@PeteCarroll Who’s the best basketball player you’ve ever coached?
@Lakers best hoops player i’ve ever coached… a lot of guys would like this title… gotta go with steve smith…

@PeteCarroll Your teams come into each season with the same championship expectations as the Lakers, how do you maintain focus on that goal?
@Lakers practice is everything… the level of competition at practice on a daily basis forever makes us who we are

@Lakers just became a @jeaniebuss follower… jeanie rocks!

@PeteCarroll It seems like maintaining the guys emotion level during the playoffs is similar to the week leading up to a game, agree?
@Lakers it’s different because there’s not as much time between your games… you guys have to stay locked in for a longer period

@PeteCarroll Have you followed the Lakers for a while or just since you’ve been in LA?
@Lakers i’ve always liked the lakers, being in california… its hard to root for the warriors except when rick was there

@Lakers oh, want to send good wishes to tex winter (a trojan)… hope to see him tonite at the game… fight on to a great trojan!

@PeteCarroll Which current Laker do you think could help your program the most on the field?
@Lakers kobe–no brainer… he’s a great competitor… if he isn’t a go-to guy, then i don’t know who is
@PeteCarroll What side of the ball do you line #24 up at though?
@Lakers we’re throwing the ball to him… he’d play split end– like mike williams or jarrett — he’d be the big WR.. good for 80 balls a yr
@PeteCarroll How about 81?
@PeteCarroll #24 claims he could lineup at WR for the Eagles right now.
@Lakers i’d rather see him line up at the coliseum than lincoln financial… we got 93K… he has four years of eligibility left anyway
@Lakers they made a big deal about michael playing baseball… just think how huge it would be if kobe played for the trojans

@PeteCarroll What differences do you see in coaching between football & basketball?
@Lakers basketball’s cool because youre almost like another player… youre so close and you can make calls… it might be more fun to coach
@Lakers though i’d probably have trouble staying inside the coaching box or whatever its called

@PeteCarroll What’s your favorite part about coaching in LA?
@Lakers it’s a championship town… expectations are high and everyone’s counting on winning… its the only way to be… and the beach too

@PeteCarroll going back to an earlier comment, do you shoot your free throws like Rick Barry?
@Lakers no i shoot like hal greer

@PeteCarroll It has to be easier dealing with 15 players as opposed to 80 right?
@Lakers it’s just way different… you have an opportunity to get to know 15 guys better than the 105 we have

@PeteCarroll Did @ABetterLA have anything to do with Baron Davis’ new movie?
@Lakers no, @ABetterLA didnt but anything to create awareness for the good is awesome

@PeteCarroll Which NBA player would you compare your hoops game too?
@Lakers i think dominique wilkins once said “you lose your hops but you never lose your J”… and my hops left me a long time ago
@Lakers i wish i could be like ginobili though
@Lakers but in reality i’m more like a “hondo” type of player
@PeteCarroll at least you’ve still got the J. Thanks for joining us today Coach, maybe we’ll catch up with ya courtside tonight.
@Lakers good luck tonight, tear em up!

Follow the Lakers Official Twitter here, the cardinal text is Coach Carroll.

Lakers 80, Rockets 95: Postgame 6

Kobe BryantAt halftime of Game 4′s 99-87 loss in Houston, the Lakers trailed by 18 points after a horribly flat 24-minute performance.

At halftime of Game 6, the Lakers trailed by 16 points after a half that really wasn’t that bad despite a 21-3 start for Houston. In fact, it wasn’t a lack of energy that was killing the Lakers, but instead, an inability to stick a jumper. Particularly in the first, the Lakers just couldn’t buy a bucket, going 6-for-20 (30 percent) while Houston made twice that many shots (12-of-21).

Generally, those kind of numbers begin to even out in a basketball game, and sure enough, the Lakers stormed out of the halftime gates on a 16-2 run to cut the lead down to just two and seemingly change the tenor of the game, spurred by Andrew Bynum’s interior defense and Trevor Ariza’s activity on the perimeter.

But if L.A.’d learned anything about the Rockets, it’s that they won’t give up, and true to form, Houston pushed its lead back up to nine heading into the final quarter.

With a raucous Toyota Center living and dying with each possession, Houston got seven points in the first eight minutes of the period from Carl Landry to keep the Lakers at bay until 4:20 remained on the clock, holding onto a 84-75 lead that they’d protect all the way to a Game-7 forcing victory.

Luis Scola was fantastic for Houston in the first three quarters, scoring 24 points with 11 boards to pace the home team, while Aaron Brooks again served as a barometer for Houston in scoring 26 points, including two big jumpers in the lane late in the fourth.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant went for 32 points on 27 shots, while Pau Gasol managed just 14 points on 15 shots as both players grew increasingly frustrated by the physical play in the lane that was allowed throughout the contest.

Lamar Odom contributed 14 rebounds in 28 painful minutes, while Bynum failed to score (0-for-3) but did grab seven boards in 19 minutes, none of which came in the fourth quarter despite his effective third period.

Derek Fisher struggled once again for the purple and gold, connecting on only 1-of-7 attempts from the field (0-of-5 from three) in 21 minutes, while Jordan Farmar was a bright spot with 13 points in the same number of minutes.

The good news for the Lakers was that Game 7 would take place in STAPLES Center, where they’d beaten Houston by 40 just two nights earlier.

Until then, some numbers:

0
Times the Lakers led.

1
Point for the Lakers with 6:35 left in the first quarter. Houston had 17.

15
Offensive rebounds for the Lakers, which inexplicably led to only 12 second chance points. This stat exhibits L.A.’s poor shooting night as well as how physical the refs allowed the game to get in the paint, as many second shots came with a body.

18
Missed threes by the Lakers, who hit 5-of-23 (21.7 percent).

35.7
L.A.’s shooting percentage for the game, as the Lakers struggled to hit both open and contested looks throughout the contest.

Lakers – Rockets Running Diary 6

LakersRead about the Lakers vs. Rockets Game 6 as it unfolds. As always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Game 1
Lakers – Rockets Running Diary, May 4, 2009
Lakers 92, Rockets 100: Postgame

Game 2
Lakers – Rockets Running Diary, May 6, 2009
Lakers 111, Rockets 98: Postgame

Game 3
Lakers – Rockets Running Diary, May 8, 2009
Lakers 108, Rockets 94: Postgame

Game 4
Lakers – Rockets Running Diary, May 10, 2009
Lakers 87, Rockets 99: Postgame

Game 5
Lakers – Rockets Running Diary, May 12, 2009
Lakers 118, Rockets 78: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Adam Morrison, Sun Yue
Rockets: Tracy McGrady, Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Ariza, Gasol and Bynum
Rockets: Brooks, Battier, Artest, Scola, Hayes

Shannon Brown Pregame
Quick … Who’s leading the NBA in postseason 3-point field goal percentage? Um, Chauncey Billups? (nope, third) … Mike Bibby? (no, fourth) … Eddie House? (uh uh, seventh). It’s Shannon Brown, who’s nailed 10-of-16 bombs from deep for a 62.5 percent success rate (Trevor Ariza’s in fifth, by the way, shooting 53.1 percent). I spent a few minutes with Brown in the locker room before the game, and he first credited his teammates with getting him open shots, and rightfully so. While he said his stroke feels fantastic, he also made sure to credit each one of L.A.’s coaches (he named each individually) with helping him maintain confidence to take the shot when he’s open. Luckily for L.A., he’s been listening.

Adelman: All about “Activity”:
I asked Rockets head coach Rick Adelman why Houston got fewer good looks in Game 5 than in Game 4, and he said it was L.A.’s activity more than any switch in scheme or adjustment. Basically, the Lakers worked harder to get in lanes and contest shots, and Houston had trouble dealing with it.

ScolaFirst Quarter
12:00 Loved the short National Anthem. Always a boost. Alas, keep an eye on the first five minutes, because in Game 3, L.A. led 13-5 at that point. In Game 4, it was 12-4 Rockets.

11:20 L.A. could have had an open alley-oop to Bynum, but Ariza threw a bounce pass instead that went out of bounds. Scola responded with a jumper and then two free throws after Bryant missed a J, and finally capped a personal 6-0 run with a turnaround move on Bynum (9:59).

9:22 L.A.’s first point was an Ariza free throw, which Brooks countered with a floater and Artest a breakaway dunk when Gasol turned it over.

7:28 Really? Anyone else shocked that the Lakers were again unable to match Houston’s opening salvo? With the energy level extremely high for Houston on defense, L.A. started 0-of-6, including two really good looks from Bynum and four misses from Bryant. The Rockets had no such trouble in nailing 5-of-8 shots to open the quarter, including a Brooks three that forced a Phil Jackson timeout. Rockets 13, Lakers 1 (no typo).

7:20 Jackson inserted Walton and Odom in for Ariza and Bynum, but Fisher missed an open three and Scola first spun around Odom for a deuce, then turned another Fisher miss into another bucket in the paint. That gave Scola 10 points, and the Rockets a 17-1 lead.

6:20 Bryant’s basline drive made it 17-3, a point better than Houston’s 17-4 start in Game 4. But Scola scored again, easily, in the paint, and Gasol missed an open jumper. L.A. couldn’t get close despite having plenty of open looks.

2:46 Even Chuck Hayes (averaging 0.9 points in the postseason) was getting into it for Houston, but the Lakers finally hit some shots (three straight) to make it 23-9.

1:59 The good news for L.A.? Bryant started going to the hoop and Fisher hit his first jumper after three misses to make it 23-9, which was three points less than their Game 4 deficit at this time.

1:23 Farmar immediately contributed with a three, but Scola continued his career best quarter with another jumper. How about 14 points for Scola on 6-of-9? Yikes.

0:14.3 Another triple from Farmar cut the deficit to 12 … Think Jackson’s staying with the UCLA product? He was the key in L.A.’s 12-6 run to close a quarter down 27-15 after at one point being down 21-3.

L.A. hit just 6-of-20 shots (30 percent), while Houston made twice that, 12-of-21 (57 percent), numbers that should start to even out as the game progresses.

KobeSecond Quarter
11:22 Good start for the Lakers, who got a Bryant bucket and two Brown free throws (thanks to an Odom swat of Scola) to cut the lead to eight.

9:50 Big counter from the Rockets, who watched Battier and Artest nail back-to-back threes to erase L.A.’s solid open.

5:50 Von Wafer’s three followed a Lowry hoop to give Houston a 42-25 lead, its biggest of the quarter.

5:35 Bryant, fresh off the bench, stuck a jumper. He’ll need a few more of those. The rhythm of the game has turned from all Houston to back and forth, but the Lakers clearly need to do more than trade hoops.

2:50 Bryant’s been able to drive by Artest all series, and he did it again to get a Lakers layup. L.A. may have built on it as Kobe swatted a Battier layup attempt and got Ariza an open three, but Ariza missed … Then Bynum missed his follow up to an offensive board, rushing the shot with his left hand, and Houston got another Scola hoop at the other end (18 points).

2:03 Bryant drew a technical foul for making contact with Artest after Ron-Ron fouled him. It was hard to see what happened from here, but Artest reacted as if Bryant had given him a Mike Tyson right hook. After Brooks hit the T, Bryant made his two free throws, and seemed to settle matters with a conversation with Artest. It appeared as if Bryant were trying to get Artest’s hands off him, and he caught Ron lightly on the face with his arm? You tell me.

0:40.3 Ariza drew a blocking foul on Hayes (his third) but missed 1-of-2 from the line, L.A’s fourth miss (two each for him and Odom). Farmar then fouled Brooks near midcourt, and he hit both to put Houston up 15.

0:26.7 L.A. should hope the Rockets keep Artest on him at times … Bryant blew by him for a two-handed dunk.

0:03.0 An end-of-shot clock three from Brooks was just about fitting for that first half, and it put Houston up 52-36 at the break. In Game 4, Houston led 54-36 in a relatively similar game. The Rockets shot 51 percent to L.A.’s 31 percent, made five threes and turned the ball over just four times.

ArtestThird Quarter
11:37 Some good ball movement earned Fisher an open three, but he missed again … Ariza made up for it, however, with a steal and two-handed breakaway dunk at the other end.

10:20 Big hit from Ariza, from downtown, and L.A. had the quarter’s first five points. Ariza then drew a pushing foul on Artest at the other end, and No. 3 had in two minutes changed the tune of the game, because Gasol nailed a lefty hook at the other end to cut the lead to nine.

9:16 Gasol’s tap out on a missed triple fell into Bryant’s hands, and a blocking foul earned two free throws that made it 52-45. The TV timeout had preceded the free throws, which meant the crowd wasn’t able to get as elevated since Bryant hit both.

7:03 Bryant for three, end of shot clock, and a Gasol layup cut the lead to only four. L.A. had basically earned itself a whole new ball game.

6:09 Solid couple of defensive plays from Bynum, including a contest of Scola and rebound … Then two Bryant FTs cut the lead to 54-52, a 16-2 run to start the quarter.

4:20 The tenor of the game had changed, but in case anyone thought the resilient Rockets were going to lay down, they reeled off an 8-2 run to go back up by eight, capped by a corner three from Brooks.

3:40 Jackson has to like how aggressive Bryant’s been going to the hoop, which again resulted in two free throws. He hit again in the paint a possession later to get to 27 points on 20 shots.

1:19 Farmar, who came in around the 4-minute mark, nailed a corner three to cut the lead to five before Artest and Gasol traded hoops.

0:05.4 A momentum changing shot went down for Scola off the pick and pop, getting him to 24 points and giving Houston a 9-point lead thanks to the final four points of the quarter. L.A. unwisely didn’t take two open shots that would have given them a 2-for-1, and had to settle for a heaved three from Farmar that had no chance. Still, the visitors shaved nine points off the halftime lead.

BryantFourth Quarter
10:32 A personal foul (reaching in) and missed jumper got Vujacic on the bench immediately in favor of Shannon Brown, who joined Farmar, Walton, Odom and Gasol on the floor. Odom followed a Gasol miss with a two-handed dunk to make it 7-point game.

8:48 A tad surprising that Kobe stayed on the bench after a timeout, but Artest took a terrible jumper to give L.A. the ball back still down seven. Artest is 5-of-14 on the evening, and disturbingly for Houston, he’s not using his size advantage to get on the block, instead settling for J’s.

7:33 What do I know? Artest responded with a top-of-the-key three. Eh, on second thought, he’s still hurting Houston with all the perimeter action.

6:56 Big momentum play for Landry, who threw in a hammer dunk in the lane plus the harm to put Houston up 81-71 (missed the FT). Meanwhile, Bryant was back in for L.A., set to make a final push for the purple and gold.

4:56 A kicked ball wasn’t called on Houston, giving Farmar a turnover and the Rockets possession up nine.

3:39 Big shot from Brooks, a pull up in the lane, which preceded a big play: Battier clearly hit Bryant’s wrist on a three, but no call was given. That set the score at 86-75 as time began to run out on L.A.’s comeback attempt.

2:12 A hard to understand foul on Odom preceded a Bryant hoop (31 points), but L.O. fouled out trying to block Brooks at the other end and the game was officially over (14-point lead).

0:00 Want some good news, Lakers fans? Game 7 is in STAPLES.