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Thread: NBA Playoffs (2010)

  1. #106
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Lakers wither under Kobe’s glare


    Kobe Bryant let his teammates have it at the end of the Lakers' Game 5 loss in Boston on Sunday.
    (Getty Images)


    Lakers wither under Kobe's glare - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

    BOSTON – On his way into the losing locker room, the most angry man in the Garden was heard to bellow a spontaneous stream of curses into the ears of his Los Angeles Lakers. As the door slammed behind them, a witness heard Kobe Bryant screaming that he needed some-bleeping-one to make a stand with him.

    The Lakers have been pushed to the edge and Bryant to the brink. Here it was, the most important night of these NBA Finals, a Game 5 with everything even, and it felt like the post-Shaq Lakers with Bryant left to fend for himself. Bryant had gone for 38 points at the Garden, one tough shot after another, a great Celtics defense daring him to make baskets from one more odd angle, one more contested circumstance.

    The loneliest Laker had to be Bryant, watching one breakdown after another, a procession of Celtics getting baskets and rebounds and loose balls when they most needed them. He needed someone to grab a defensive rebound, stop Paul Pierce and get between
    Rajon Rondo and the rim.

    A little more than an hour after the 92-86 loss, the surliness was gone, replaced with pursed lips and a glare gone to Game 6 now. Bryant wore unlaced high-tops for an ankle that had been hurt again as he walked to a waiting bus on the loading dock.

    “We’ve regressed since Game 1,” Bryant confessed to Yahoo! Sports. “Our defense belongs on milk cartons in the last two games.”

    All around him, these Lakers were unraveling. Andrew Bynum struggled on one knee.

    Lamar Odom felt sick.

    Kevin Garnett destroyed Pau Gasol, and Paul Pierce obliterated Ron Artest. Rondo made dramatic, defining plays. The Lakers let down everywhere. This looked like 2008 again, looked like the manhandling that doomed the Lakers to a humiliating Finals loss in Boston.

    When the game was truly lost, the Celtics scored on 12 of 13 possessions in the third quarter. All too easy, all impossible for Bryant to answer, even with what was the hottest hand in the game. He would go for 19 points in the third, and the degree of difficulty had Celtics coach Doc Rivers turning to his two assistants, Tom Thibodeau and Armond Hill, and saying simply, “Those are tough shots. … He’s making tough shots.”

    This was Rivers’ way of saying: What else can we do with him? Rivers could tell his players wanted to change the defense, wanted to start trapping Bryant, but he resisted. “It’s only two points each time he scores. Not 10,” Rivers said. The shots kept falling and Bryant kept burning for someone on the Lakers to start playing with him. The rest of them – save for Andrew Bynum, who’s playing in excruciating pain – can be so bendable on the road. The teeth of the Celtics’ defense can be beastly, and the rest of the Lakers wanted little to do with it.

    Here’s what’s delicate now for these Lakers and what they have to fear as the Finals return to Los Angeles for Game 6 and perhaps Game 7. Just how fragile are they as a team? Privately, the Celtics believed a Game 5 victory would have Bryant tearing into his teammates, thrusting them back into shells when they needed to be strong.

    The Celtics are playing for each other now, and it’s easy to see in so many ways. Just watch how Rondo reacted when Artest knocked Garnett to the floor with a hard foul. He walked up and shoved Artest back, absorbing a technical foul but letting K.G. – and the Lakers – know that he had his back.

    Everyone wonders how Bryant goes about these next hours until Game 6 at the Staples Center. On the eve of Game 1, Bryant told me how the development of these Lakers, their growth, allowed him to channel his aggression, his time, into his own game. Two years ago, Bryant said, the Lakers weren’t good enough to beat the Celtics. He hated losing to them, but he could live with it. This one, he’ll take to his grave. This one, he’ll never get over.

    Through the past two years, through the ’09 title over the Orlando Magic, the Lakers had become largely self-sufficient. Bryant no longer needed to rail so hard. Now, falling down to the Celtics 3-2, you wonder how much has changed, how much Bryant must do in Games 6 and 7 to win his fifth championship.

    The idea of this moment becoming too enormous for the Lakers troubles him. “Just man up and play,” Bryant sniffed. “What’s the big deal? If I have to say something to them, then we don’t deserve to be champions.”

    The big deal is unmistakable: The Lakers need to get tougher, stronger and smarter to beat Boston. Yes, they’ve regressed, Bryant confessed. Milk-carton defense, he called it. For that to happen this deep into the Finals, against this team, it was downright disconcerting to the best player on the planet. He was walking toward the bus Sunday night, on his way out of the Garden and back to L.A. for Game 6, trying to come back on a championship series, on a Celtics franchise that has been the bane of these Lakers for 50 years.

    All that screaming in the locker room, all that angst over a Game 5 that felt like ’08 again, and Bryant stopped walking and stood for a moment. He had to start building back these Lakers, building back the fragility of a defending champion on the brink of elimination.

    His eyes narrowed now, his lips stiffened, and Kobe Bryant would say late in this chase for a back-to-back championship, “Listen, if you told me at the beginning of the year that we’ve got two games at home to win a championship, yeah, I’ll take that [bleep].”

    Two games in Staples Center and two final chances for Bryant’s wrath to deliver these Los Angeles Lakers an epic NBA title. All the cursing, all the screaming, was finally done as Bryant walked calmly, quietly to the purring bus.

    His words still hung inside the Garden, though. Still loomed over these Lakers. Someone has to make a stand with Kobe Bryant. Someone has to fight to save a championship season.

  2. #107
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    Go Celtics!

  3. #108
    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
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    This is the first year I have really watched the NBA playoffs. My daughter started playing bball 2 years ago, so I find myself getting more into the sport.

    I am rooting for the Celtics. I like that Rondo kid. He sure isn't very tall compared to his teammates.

  4. #109
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    I feel for Kobe-he was the only one who produced-and under really difficult defensive coverage-he was making damn hard shots. No matter what kind of man he is, he is a damn great Basket ball player.

    I think LA is toast-I just do not think they will/can win two in a row against the Celtics if the Celtics keep playing like they are. They will lose at least one of the two.

    Oh well. Celtics are getting it done and played a great game shooting like that. If the Celtics win it, they deserve it.

    I kinda like the Celtics too, so no tears will be shed from me either way.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  5. #110
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Go Lakers!

  6. #111
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i saw this hammering coming.......hence the reason i very rarely trash talk.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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  7. #112
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    The third period is not over yet, and we know how dangerous these Celtics can be. Two years ago in one game they overcame a 24 point deficit to beat the Lakers.

  8. #113
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Da-yum.

    I guess the game could be summed up as per one of the commentators, the Celtics played like they were preserving a one game lead. The Lakers played like a team that didn't want to lose in a do or die situation.

    It's amazing what a difference energy and hustle levels make at this point in the game. They were after every ball, every player, just all around fighting spirit.

    But how fitting that it all comes down to a final game 7 winner take all.

    Let the best team win this Thursday.

  9. #114
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    Ouch!

  10. #115
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    Da-yum.

    I guess the game could be summed up as per one of the commentators, the Celtics played like they were preserving a one game lead. The Lakers played like a team that didn't want to lose in a do or die situation.

    It's amazing what a difference energy and hustle levels make at this point in the game. They were after every ball, every player, just all around fighting spirit.

    But how fitting that it all comes down to a final game 7 winner take all.

    Let the best team win this Thursday.
    This.

    I was really surprised..I thought the Celtics would fight like madmen to end it when they could. Just the opposite happens. Shows what I know.

    But the good thing is that we get a winner-take-it-all seventh game!!!
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  11. #116
    Elite Member Dean James's Avatar
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    Boo.
    Baby, by the time you have kids and they're in school, no one will care about you.

  12. #117
    Elite Member AllieCat's Avatar
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    Shouldn't the last game be held in a neutral location like texas or something? I don't find it fair to play the last do or die game in Lakers territorry!
    Somebody blow Mel Gibson Already- Michael K

  13. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllieCat View Post
    Shouldn't the last game be held in a neutral location like texas or something? I don't find it fair to play the last do or die game in Lakers territorry!
    That sounds intriguing, but I guess that's why the team that had the better/best regular season record compared to their opponents gets rewarded with the 'home court advantage.'

  14. #119
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    Celtics, Lakers feel electricity of Game 7

    Celtics, Lakers feel electricity of Game 7 - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

    LOS ANGELES – Magic Johnson had one final piece of business to tend to before he left Staples Center late Tuesday. He picked up his cell phone and called in an order for a new, expensive blue suit. Johnson didn’t acquire his latest wardrobe addition for a wedding, graduation or important business meeting. He needed it to wear to a much more selective event.

    Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

    The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have pushed the NBA’s most storied rivalry into another epic, winner-take-all game to decide the championship. Johnson, as much as anyone, understands the importance of looking your best when history calls.

    “The world stops on Thursday because it’s Game 7,” said Johnson, whose Lakers lost the 1984 title to the Celtics in a Game 7. “You look so forward to it. You know everybody’s watching. You know every possession is a big possession. You know every shot is a big shot. You know every free throw is a big free throw. You know every rebound is a big rebound.

    “You just look forward to being in a game like this because this is something that you talk about for the next 40, 50 years.”

    This will be the 17th Game 7 in Finals history, and all but five have included either the Celtics or Lakers. The Celtics have won all seven of their appearances, including all four against the Lakers.

    “When you have a rivalry that goes back this far, just the tradition … it’s like any gigantic rivalry, Dodgers-Yankees when they used to go at it every autumn,” said former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was on the ’84 team that lost to the Celtics. “It has its own cache.”

    Said former Celtics forward Kevin McHale, who also played in the ’84 game: “It’s going to come down to heart, soul and the team that wants it the most.”

    The Finals’ format allows for just one off-day between Games 6 and 7, but that’s more than enough time for the tension to build. Game 7 veterans often talk about not sleeping the night before the decisive contest.

    Celtics Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn won Game 7s in the 1957, ’60 and ’62 Finals. The Celtics beat the Lakers for the ’62 title with a memorable 110-107 overtime victory in Game 7. Heinsohn said he would relax by going to lunch. Bob Cousy didn’t leave his hotel room. No one had a clue how legendary center Bill Russell spent his day.

    “You might not sleep for two days,” Heinsohn said. “Some guys lock themselves in their room. Everybody deals with it in a different way.”

    Even the effervescent Johnson, who beat the Detroit Pistons for the 1988 title in Game 7, tried to calm himself as much as possible on the day of the game.

    “For me, it was just being quiet, being to myself, thinking about everything and getting ready for an incredible game,” he said. “Your mind has to be clear of everything. You have to spend the whole day getting off your feet, relaxing, just conserving your energy. You’re going to see the starters and the stars play a lot more minutes than you ever see. You can rest after Thursday night.

    Game 7 historical primer

    The NBA Finals has reached a seventh game 16 times with the Celtics beating the Lakers four times. (Game 7 home team in bold)
    Season Winner Loser Score
    2004-05 San Antonio Spurs Detroit Pistons 81-74
    1993-94 Houston Rockets New York Knicks 90-84
    1987-88 Los Angeles Lakers Detroit Pistons 108-105
    1983-84 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 111-102
    1977-78 Washington Bullets Seattle SuperSonics 105-99
    1973-74 Boston Celtics Milwaukee Bucks 102-87
    1969-70 New York Knicks Los Angeles Lakers 113-99
    1968-69 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 108-106
    1965-66 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 95-93
    1961-62 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 110-107 (OT)
    1959-60 Boston Celtics St. Louis Hawks 122-103
    1956-57 Boston Celtics St. Louis Hawks 125-123 (2OT)
    1954-55 Syracuse Nationals Fort Wayne Pistons 92-91
    1953-54 Minneapolis Lakers Syracuse Nationals 87-80
    1951-52 Minneapolis Lakers New York Knicks 82-65
    1950-51 Rochester Royals New York Knicks 79-75

    Source: NBA


    “I think it will bring out the best in Paul Pierce(notes) and Kobe Bryant
    (notes). … What it’s really going to come down to is
    will. Who has the most will? In ’84 the Celtics out-willed us. In ’88, we out-willed the Pistons. This isn’t about ‘X’s and ‘O’s. This is about superstars who have to play like superstars. They got to deliver in the big game.”

    The home team has lost only three of the previous 16 Finals’ Game 7s, which should make the Lakers happy. Two of the three road victories, however, were won by the Celtics, including the famous 1969 game against the Lakers. Armed with a roster that included Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, the Lakers entered the game as heavy favorites.


    Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke was so confident his team would win that he put thousands of balloons into the rafters of the Forum and hired a marching band for the victory celebration. The Lakers lost 108-106 after coach Butch van Breda Kolff refused to put Chamberlain back in the game in the final two minutes.

    “Having a sense of fear is the biggest thing, overcoming that,” said former Celtics forward Cedric Maxwell, who scored 24 points in the ’84 victory over the Lakers. “Fear paralyzes the average player. It’s incumbent on the guy that has been there and done that before to step up and play big minutes.”

    Twenty-six years after their battle of ’84, the Celtics and Lakers meet again for a Game 7. The Celtics are seeking their 18th championship and second over the Lakers in three years. The Lakers want their 16th title.

    One game, one more epic chapter. To the men who have played in this historic rivalry, Thursday should be a night to remember.

    “Your emotions are so high and so raw that it’s almost like cutting into a thousand-volt line,” Maxwell said. “You hook yourself into it, you wet your fingers and you touch it. That’s the sensation you get stepping onto the floor for the seventh game.”

  15. #120
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i'm hoping that the Lakers shot their wad Tuesday
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