Denver Game 4 thoughts
Pat Riley said it best back in the 80's: No rebounds, no rings. And that pretty much sums this one up, bench and officiating notwithstanding.
As Phil put in the postgame press conference, "I'm disappointed that we didn't compete tonight."
* Deja vu: the Lakers are 1/4 from the line.
* Offensive rebounds are hurting early: Denver has a 3-1 edge leading to 4-0 second chance points.
* Carmelo is 0/7.
* They are really letting them play early (talk about a change, they ended up with 84 combined FT!)
* Denver looks to have a lot more energy so far; 12-5 at the 5:31 mark.
* Ariza is hit with his second foul at 3:48, and it's helping on K-Mart of all things.
* Now Denver has missed 4 FT (6/10), but they lead 18-11.
* Melo now has 12 straight misses, including his last 4 from the last game.
* 2 on Walton now as well, at 1:44, and we are out of small forwards.
* A nice finish to the quarter gets us to within 22-19, but the 5-1 offensive rebounding advantage and the 12-6 FTA are bad signs.
* An 8-0 run against the bench has again put us in a hole, 30-19 with 9:17 left. Andersen and Smith are the keys, and their bench killing ours has become a trend.
* Keliza gets into the act, hitting a 3 for a 35-22 lead. Poor D by Kobe, roaming away from Kleiza twice in a row to give him open for a layup and then an uncontested 3.
* Farmar is 1/4, really forcing some shots.
* Anthony rolled his ankle. Looks like he's okay a little later, but that had to scare them.
* Denver is outrebounding us 25-15. Effort/energy.
* Fish hits a 3 and is 2/4, grasping at anything now with all 3 of our lead guards sucking so bad; 42-32.
* JR has 9 and 3, and Denver leads 46-34. I have not seen him as much of a playmaker, but he's doing a nice job here.
* Denver's bench has outscored us 18-3 in a 46-36 game.
* Kone hits a 3 and we hang around; 46-39.
* K-Mart grabs Fish's arm instead of the ball and is awarded with a jump ball, but Fisher wins it in an act of karma.
* Denver has 9 offensive boards now; 48-42.
* A Melo dunk ends a streak of 14 straight misses, including 0/10 tonight.
* Denver now winning the rebound battle 30-18 and leading 50-43.
* 52-45 at the half, with the 32-20 rebounding edge and 20-3 bench edge meaning it could be much worse.
* Denver has an 8-0 fast break points edge in taking a 56-48 lead.
* The Lakers cut it to 56-53, but Denver goes on a 6-0 run to take it right back to 62-53. And then 66-55 and 68-56. K-Mart had reached 11 and 10 when it was 64-55.
* It's 70-59 and Denver has a 14-5 advantage on the offensive glass and 39-23 overall.
* Kobe is PISSED since Jones got away with a cheap shot, leg whipping him as he turned to cut to the basket to send him sprawling. That should draw a suspension, since it was somebody other than Rajon Rondo doing the kicking (Update: amazingly, it did not draw a suspension, despite the universal opinion among the media that it was a cheap and dirty play).
* Gasol commits his 4th at 3:13. And apparently Ariza has 4, although I missed when he got it.
* Boards are now 44-26, 16 offensive; 74-61.
* JR hits a 3, 77-63. But Sasha, yes Sasha, hit sone right back to make it 77-66 end of 3.
* Bynum hits a couple of quick 2's to cut the lead to 77-70, and he's looked pretty good on offense tonight. Maybe one of these games he will put the offense and defense together, it's been kind of alternating but that's the way it goes when you're rehabbing in the playoffs.
* Chauncey right back for an and-1 at the other end, 80-70. He rolled his ankle but seems to be ok.
* And now he hits a 3, 83-70.
* And Kleiza hits one, 89-73 and back to worse than where we started.
* The Lakers are 13/22 from the line. Down 89-74, some of those misses woudl be useful right about now.
* Sasha has hit rock bottom, missing a tech free throw. He's typically pushing 90% from the line, you know it's bad when he rims out one of those.
* Just like that he hits a 3, 89-79. Sadly, making two threes tonight makes this his best game in some time; his playoff PER is below 4!
* Ariza draws his fifth at 6:44. Tough call on whether to take him out, Phil does but he will probably be back soon.
* Birdman has 14 rebounds. Off the bench. 91-79.
* Bynum gets an undeserved flagrant 1 trying to strip Andersen. It looked like a hard foul live so I can see why they got sucked into the call originally, but repaly shows that it's barely even a foul - he grazed the headband on the way down to basically getting ball. I expect the league will rescind this one (they did). Next time he should go for a shove from behind or a leg whip, those seem to be ignored in game.
* 53-37 on the boards, 17 offensive, no shock that it's 102-88.
* K-Mart gets a tech for grabbing Pau's wrist area and basically putting him in an arm bar. Does this team watch game film or UFC?
* 36-17 bench points as it's 105-94. If it seems like I keep harping on the bench and rebounding it's because that is the story.
* JR hits two 3's to get him to 24 and get the garbage time score to 113-96. And does some kind of chicken dance on the way back after the second. Way to stay classy, Thugs.
The final numbers: 20-9 offensive rebounds and 58-40 overall. 42-24 bench points, and that includes some late garbage time, it probably wasn't really that close.
Also notable: Nene had his second 6 assist game of the series, that has to be pretty rare but I'm too lazy to look it up. And Nene (13), K-Mart (15) and Andersen (14) became the first trio of teammates to pull down 13+ boards in a playoff game since 1994, the unlikely troika of Karl Malone, Felton Spencer and...Tyrone Corbin?
You know the history on the importance of game 5's. We are tired and beat up (Odom is a shell of himself, and Ariza and Bynum are very much hampered) but this is about effort. Bring that on both ends, and especially on the boards, and we will be close to another Finals berth. Getting some of that mythical Laker officiating help would be useful as well, but let's not get carried away here.