Last night, I was lucky enough to be able to go see game 5 of the Lakers/Nuggets series at the Staples Center. It was a game that I was pretty confident the Lakers would win and wrap up the series.
I was wrong.
But in all honesty, if you watched last night's game, either on TV or in person, you know the Lakers beat themselves with poor defense, shot selection and a lack of energy. It was only until the final four minutes of the game that the Lakeshow started to play hard. Unfortunately, the damage had been done; even though for a minute or two it looked like we were all going to witness a legendary comeback in Lakers playoff history.
Down 15 points with less than a quarter to play, the Lakers started playing. Andrew Bynum, who had been pouting all night because he wasn't getting touches on offenses (my theory) started to get active on the boards and get positioning down low. Gasol also started to get active on offense, making a few shots in the final minutes.
Kobe, who finished with 43 points, hit four threes in the last few minutes to bring the Lakers all the way back and make it interesting in the end. Kobe and Sessions both had chances to tie the game with a three but came up short.
For a brief minute, it looked as if we were going to witness history. But...
It just goes to show you that you can't expect to win a game when you only play well for seven minutes of it.
A big key to winning against the Nuggets is containing JaVale McGee. Well last night, Gasol and Bynum made JaVale McGee look like Dr. J. McGee finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds. They let him do whatever he wanted all game and played no defense on him whatsoever. McGee was dunking on both of them left and right and even when Gasol tried to foul, the fouls were just too soft.
If they want to win game 6, the Lakers need to step it up on defense - so they don't have to rely on Kobe in the end of every game.
As if summertime wasn't upon us, NBA playoffs weren't on every night, and living in Los Angeles couldn't be any more ideal, both the Lakers and the Clippers are still in the playoffs. With legit chances to move on and keep the party going.
The Clippers will play in game 4 of the series against Memphis tonight at the Staples Center. My Hoopsvibe prediction: The winner of tonight's game wins the series. The Clipshow currently has a 2-1 lead over the Grizzlies.
But should they be up 2-1?
In each of the Clippers' victories against the Grizzlies, I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear me say that the Grizzlies beat themselves in both games. And taking it a step further, if I was part of the Memphis organization, I'd be wondering why weren't up 3-0.
In game 1, Memphis blew a 27-point lead in the 2nd half to lose the game. Saturday, the Clippers almost blew a decent lead after missing 17 of their last 30 free throws but ended up winning by 1. Rudy Gay had a chance to win the game at the end but missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Clippers have only won by a point in both of their victories.
But with Chris Paul's improved play in the playoffs (he's averaging 22 plus points and 9 plus assists per game, above his season averages) and the recent return of Caron Butler, the Clippers have a lot to be hopeful for. Having said that, they need to buckle down and win tonight or they could be in trouble.
The Lakers seem much more in command of their playoff destiny.
Winning game 4 last night against the Nuggets gave the Lakeshow a 3-1 series lead. Kobe Bryant finished with 22 points but his assist to Steve Blake that put the Lakers up 6 in the end was probably his biggest play of the game.
The Lakers have a chance to close out the series tomorrow night at home.
My hoopsvibe prediction: The Lakers win the series tomorrow night.
They have just been too dominant for the Nuggets. They are leading the Nuggets in every major category except free throw percentage and steals and are getting the production they need from the bench.
The two-highest averaging scorers on the series for the Lakers are Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, who are averaging 46.75 ppg between the two of them. Gallinari and Lawson, Denver's series bests are combining for just 33.25.
Coach Brown played Jordan Hill for a lot of the second half in their victory yesterday and Hill ended up finishing with a game-high 11 rebounds.
While McGee and Faried present some difficulties for the Lakers down low, (as they showed in game 3) the big men were held to just a combined 14 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4.
If the Lakers just keep Denver's big men at bay, they should have no problem wrapping up the series tomorrow night.
And if the Clippers can hang on and beat Memphis, being a hoops fan in Los Angeles won't suck.
Lamar Odom tweets his reasons for sucking.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Stop tweeting. You look like an idiot.
Lamar Odom has plenty of time to think. The Dallas season is over and his season with Dallas was over weeks ago when they dropped him from the team following an argument between owner Mark Cuban and Odom. Just one full season removed from his 6-man of the year award, he now has been dropped by Dallas and looking for someone that wants to take a chance on a one-time potential All Star getting deeper into his thirties.
Lamar recently tweeted some reasons for why he couldn't focus with the Mavs. Lamar has long been known as thin-skinned and a very sensitive player, so his difficulty in dealing with the death of his cousin and close friend is understandable, but the facts remain the same.
The facts are Lamar struggled to produce even marginal numbers with the Mavs last season leaving many experts wondering if his career is simply over. Odom put up 6.6 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, and shot only 35% from the field. These aren't exactly All Star numbers. The question for general managers in the NBA is was this a fluke year or is Odom simply at the end of his NBA career? He's played 13 years in the NBA which is a full career by anyone's standards. Now that he's in his 30s and looking toward life after basketball, the question is whether that life will start now or later.
Man, it sure looks like it. In the midst of a dire stretch where the Bulls have needed someone to step-up, Carlos Boozer has been nowhere to be seen. After being traded and signed to a five year, $75 million dollar deal, Boozer has delivered nearly two years of subpar play. The frustration for Bulls fans has culminated this postseason.
The Quick Hit: It was supposed to be case of master versus student. It has become a case of student challenging master.
Quite simply, the Los Angeles Lakers, with all their star power and glitz, were expected to handle the talented but inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder. After all, the Lakers had that Larry O’Brien swagger; the Thunder were unproven upstarts.
The Quick Hit: He's a renowned nomad.
Coach Larry Brown has always operated with one foot on the bench of his current team and the other foot in the NBA’s tampering zone. Right or wrong, fair or not, the Hall of Fame sideline boss, even when under contract, is always seeking his next job.
Bryan Colangelo must face reality: Chris Bosh is done with the Toronto Raptors.
After seven years of mediocre results, the All-Star four-man publicly stated that he’ll sign with a contending squad when he becomes a free agent this summer.
As HoopsVibe’s News section reported, The Big Ticket could soon be The Big Suspended.
With forty seconds remaining and the Boston Celtics ahead in game one of their opening round playoff series verses the Miami Heat, Kevin Garnett was ejected for hitting Quentin Richardson with an elbow during a stoppage in play.
The Quick Hit: For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic, it’s all or nothing.
The all is having Commissioner David Stern hand over the Larry O’Brien trophy in two months and pronounce them world champions in a champagne soaked ceremony.
Only the all will do. Only the all will satisfy their demanding fan base. Only the all will satisfy their demanding owners, who have taken on multi-million dollar luxury tax payments for this precise moment.
While nothing, or falling short of an NBA Title, will force Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Orlando to make wholesale changes this off-season. Right or wrong, fair or not, these are the stakes when playing for a contender.
Every year, a few teams are capable of knocking off a contender. They are often slept-on and overlooked. Throw in a condensed, do-or-die seven game series and these Cinderella candidates need signs saying ‘proceed with caution’.
Fired for fighting: John Paxson must leave Chicago Bulls for provoking confrontation with Vinny Del Negro
The Quick Hit: John Paxson, the player, was known for knocking down jump shots. John Paxson, the front office suit, may be known for knocking down coaches.
Today, reports surfaced that the former guard and current Executive Vice President of the Chicago Bulls provoked a ‘physical altercation’ with sideline boss Vinny Del Negro over Joakim Noah’s playing time following a March 30th loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Let us be clear: ‘physical altercation’ is code for fight. And while Paxson vs. Del Negro isn’t exactly Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier or even Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy, their wee donnybrook is sufficient grounds for Michael Jordan’s backcourt mate to finally be fired.
The Quick Hit: Recently, former superstar Tracy McGrady told reporters, despite his lacklustre play and mediocre health, he wouldn’t sign with a team this summer that asked him to serve as sixth-man.
McGrady, of course, believes he’s a still starter. And McGrady also believes he hasn’t ‘fallen off’ to where he's a reserve.
Forgive me, but didn’t we just see this song and dance? Didn’t we just see first ballot Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson commit career suicide by refusing a lesser role for the Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies?
The Quick Hit: It’s not exactly a ‘Clash of the Titans’.
On Sunday afternoon, the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors will square off at Air Canada Centre. Both teams are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And both teams are over-hyping the significance of this weekend’s tilt.
Does two months of stellar play warrant a three-year, $39 million extension?
The San Antonio Spurs think so, rewarding shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who over the last eight weeks has been arguably the NBA’s best player, with a lucrative contract.
The devil missed an opportunity Sunday at the Verizon Center. After all, Andray Blatche would’ve sold his soul for one last rebound and the chance to notch an oh-so important triple-double.Read More
To quote the 'great' Bon Jovi, Andrea Bargnani and ‘Flip’ Murray were ‘Livin' on a Prayer’.
Recently, the Toronto Raptors’ post and Chicago Bulls’ swing received a little help when their heaves were answered by a higher power –of some sort. Of course, the Raptors and Bobcats will take all the divine intervention they can get - even if it comes courtesy of a hair band years past their prime, if they ever had one - because both franchises are battling for the eighth and final playoff birth in the Eastern Conference.