Denver Game 5 thoughts
One of the all-time great Laker performances turned in by Lamar Odom, who is playing with a severely bruised back that has him playing at about 50%. That one will live in Laker lore forever, and will gain legendary status if they go on to to a championship.
* Two early miscommunications on defense, and Denver is off to an 8-2 lead.
* Kobe with a terrible giveaway that turns into a Denver layup. He just held the ball out exposed for what had to be 3-4 seconds before a grateful Jones took it away. He's also very passive early, taking two long jumpers (1/2).
* And no sooner do I say that than he shows some aggression, hitting Bynum for an easy bucket and then driving the lane to earn two free throws.
* Fish is 2/3, and an 8-0 run has LA up 14-11.
* Bynum picks up his 2nd at 4:32, and the beat goes on.
* Fish now 3/4, and it's 18-15.
* Denver has an 8-2 FT advantage, once again, and takes a 21-20 lead as a result.
* Billups picks up his 2nd foul at 2:23. Not as big of a problem for him as he is not asked to do a lot on D.
* 25 all at the quarter, each team having gone on one brief run.
* K-Mart keeps hitting J's. He's an awful shooter so we need to keep daring him, but as we saw with Alston in the other series in a given game that can bite you.
* Denver's bench goes on a 4-0 run to put them up 29-25...as usual.
* Andersen hit with his 2nd at 10:10.
* Odom is taking it to the hole tonight! Great sign.
* Denver has an 18-12 rebounding edge, but it's 31-31.
* Luke with a spark: 4-3 and a block in 5 minutes.
* Good lord is Nene a great passer. Have to admit I never realized it, but he is one of the better passing big men I've ever seen.
* Denver has 7 turnovers, and Lamar has 6 and 4 as we lead 36-35.
* Fish now 3/5 and 2/2 from the line for 8 big points in a 38-37 game.
* Denver is 6/12 from the line in a 38-38 game. What is it with missed FT in this series?
* Drew has 9 in 13 minutes, and Kobe has 4 on 1/2 shooting; 40-38.
* Fish now 4/7 for 10 in a 42-42 game, but then he throws one away trying the long outlet after he stole the ball. 44-42 Denver.
* Billups picks up his 3rd, 2:36 left in the half.
* And Ariza picks up his 3rd 9 seconds later, off the ball on Nene.
* JR hits a 3 and Denver leads 49-44.
* Denver is 4/9 from 3, LA 0/7, giving the Thugs a 54-49 lead.
* A 4 point play: Pau gets an and-1, misses the FT but Lamar puts it back, cutting it to 54-53.
* Denver has 9 turnovers after another inbounds misadventure, Kleiza mishandling a pass and fumbling it out of bounds in the backcourt.
* Sasha hits a 3 at the buzzer to tie it at 56 at the half, the Lakers' first make in 8 tries from downtown.
* Jones picks up his first foul at the 10:11 mark...of the third quarter! So much for them giving him extra scrutiny because of his dirty play in the last two games!
* K-Mart's jumper is unreal, that's 4 or 5 tonight after he hit a pair of them to put Denver up 67-62. Major, major fluke shooting.
* Nene picks up his 4th at 7:58. Now it's safe to run screen roll again.
* Denver gets a 4 point play of their own, as Bird hits a FT and Melo rebounds a miss and puts it back with the and-1; 71-64 Denver.
* And Bynum picks up his 4th, an offensive foul at 7:22. Our big man advantage lasted 36 seconds.
* Andersen has 4 blocks. Notable in a road game.
* Denver has 5 offensive boards this quarter, now 13-9 for the game, and it's 73-66. The one thing you think we would have cleaned up after the debacle in G4...
* A ShanWOW sighting, he makes an open layup off a cut and then puts a massive facial on Birdman in transition, and the lead is cut to 73-70.
* Denver now has 14 turnovers, including 3 in a row (Billups, Billups, Anthony). LO hits a 3 to tie the game at 73.
* Now a 4th in a row, Karl must be boiling.
* Billups hits a 3, but Kobe hits one right back to tie it at 76 at the end of 3. It has to be pretty rare that the game has been tied after all 3 quarters so far.
* Odom gets an and-1 on another facial on the Birdman and the Lakers lead 81-76 It's Birdman Bukkake!
* Nene is hit with his 5th foul (offensive) and a technical.
* The Lakers lead the paint battle 46-28 and still lead 81-76.
* Lamar now has 16 and it's 83-76.
* Melo whacked Kobe in the face/neck area on the follow through to a hard foul. It being a Laker on the receiving end, it's not called flagrant, but it does lead to an 85-76 lead as the run reaches 21-5.
* Brown hits a jumper as the shot clock runs down; 87-76 and the run is 23-5 and 11-0 in the quarter as Denver has gone 11 possessions without scoring.
* A Kleiza 3 gets them back in at 89-81.
* Denver picks up their 4th team foul at 6:35, penalty the rest of the game.
* Kleiza scores on a driving layup to make it 91-83; he's keeping them in the game at this point.
* Denver has not scored in the paint since 5:11 in the third, a span of a quarter. (Carmelo would dink at 4:26 to end the dorught at 12:35).
* Kobe is keeping them in the game, he keeps giving the ball away - dribbling it off his or somebody else's feet, throwing it away, exposing the ball for an easy knock away. 2004 Finals Bad Kobe deja vu, but probably only temporary this time.
* Kleiza hits two FT and it's 91-85, and this game would definitely be over already if not for him.
* Nene fouls out at 4:02 on a flop. Sadly for him, he might have gotten the call had he not done the soccer dive.
* Big and-1 for Ariza; 96-89 with 3:38 to go.
* Lamar misses two free throws at 3:04, that will keep the game going longer than it should. But he does have a sterling 16 and 12 with 3 assists and 3 blocks line.
* Now he gets his 4th block, rejecting K-Mart.
* Lots of contact is being allowed on both ends late.
* Billups and JR each miss somewhat open 3's on back to back possessions, that may do it.
* But Fish airballs a wild 3 to beat the shot clock, and Melo makes a layin to cut it to 96-91, 1:24 left.
* Kobe goes up for a 3 but whips it to Lamar at the rim for an and-1. He makes the freebie, 99-91 with 1:02 to go and Lamar has 19-14 with 4 blocks, 3 helpers. Bloody brilliant.
* Kobe drives and is hacked with 43.1 to go, and makes them for a 101-91 lead.
* Bad play by Ariza, hacking Melo into an and-1 to cut it to 101-94 with 38.3 left. No need to foul there, if you're beat just concede the deuce.
* Fish fouled on the inbound and drains them, 103-94 with 37.3 to play.
* JR misses a 3 and that will do it. He does not break into a dance.
Just a brilliant defensive fourth quarter, along with Lamar's heroics that's what won this one.
Damn, Vanessa (Bryant) has a bag with Chanel in about 200 point font...does she have endorsements too?
The Lakers ended up 3/16 from 3, they can definitely pick up some points Friday there.
Denver won the rebounding battle, but only 43-42 after a big start.
The Lakers outscored them 54-36 in the paint, where grown men come to play basketball.
Led by Lamar, the Lakers won the bench battle 34-26. That's huge.
Kobe had an odd game, only 13 shots and 8 assists to 7 turnovers. Presumably he did not use as much energy as usual, and should have something in the tank for Game 6.
Yes, we are a great home team, but anything can happen in a Game 7. Better to try to get this thing done in Denver, but failing that it is nice to have the luxury of a Game 7 at Staples. Everybody pretty much expects us to lay down in Game 6 and Denver to roll, but I look for a good effort here in any case.
The extra rest would be nice too, this team is tired after playing basically every other day for 4 weeks.