Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Houston Game 1 thoughts

1st quarter:
* Bynum picks up two quick fouls, he’ll have to sit less than three minutes in, not good.

* Some good early overplays against Yao, resulting in some loose balls.

* Fisher is forcing it some against Brooks. Taking him to the post is a good idea, but the execution is not there yet.

* Artest looks too strong for Ariza to guard.

* Some of it is rust, and some of it is their good D, at any rate we are struggling on offense in falling down.

* Those fans who thought Portland was the tougher matchup this round are felling pretty damned stupid right about now.

* Bad luck for Yao, as he picks up his second call on a bit of an accident late in the quarter.

* Battier took an inadvertent from Sasha and bled like he was a boxer. Not just any boxer but Chuck Wepner, aka the Bayonne Bleeder.

* Artest is 3/5 including a made 3 in the quarter, good news as it might encourage him to shoot more.

2nd quarter:
* They are matching Artest with Odom, mitigating Odom’s quickness advantage over most 4’s.

* And now Odom picks up his second, early in the quarter – hello Josh Powell.

* Artest banks in a wild 3, good lord.

* The second unit is really pushing the ball with Yao out of the game.

* Haye’s defense is a factor – he has made nice plays against both Bynum and Gasol. You are NOT going to back that guy down, he’s just too strong.

* We have 0 threes so far, a good reason for being down 34-26. The offense continues to be really out of sync, due to the rust/defense combo.

* Pau: 4 points, 2 times smacked in the face so far.

* A 40 point half, nobody in double figures, 0/7 from distance – ugly.

3rd quarter:
* The Lakers just ran the worst fast break in history, as Drew and Pau were running side by side down the middle of the paint together. The only question was which one would get the charge. Pau’s mistake I think, as he was (or should have been) the trailer.

* Runs both ways, as they go from 43-40 to 49-40, then we cut it to 49-48, then they push it back to 59-50.

* This is going to be a long series.

* You can’t help off Yao, but you can still cut off Brooks when he goes baseline. The Lakers badly screwed that up twice in a row, giving him layups.

* The anticipated Odom-Scola mismatch is not materializing yet. We need Lamar to exploit that quickness edge in this series and break them down.

* When Yao is in there, their size is killing us so far. Man bites dog.

* Odom is 1/4 from the line.

* Farmar gets into the game and nails a 3 at the end of the quarter. He played Brooks in college, so he may need some time in this series in that matchup, although I shudder at the thought of his “offense.”

4th quarter:
* Brown is overmatched by Lowry, although I’m not sure that Farmar is the answer there, we may just have to get by with that one.

* Wafer is invisible tonight, credit to great Sasha D.

* The defense as a whole is picking it up, leading to a 77-76 lead.

* Lamar is now 1/6 from the line, you’ve got to be kidding.

* The lead was short-lived, it’s now 83-77 and we just saw some bad Kobeball as he rises up for a 22 footer with Battier in his face and 18 seconds on the shot clock, halfway through the quarter, uh oh. That’s 27 shots so far, wonder why we’re behind?

* Even worse Kobeball less than a minute later, he dribbles into 3 or 4 defenders in the lane and fumbles it away, but it goes off a Rocket and right to Gasol for a layin. If he only had a brain…

* Yao hurt a knee on the play, a painful reminder of when out of control Kobe hurt Bynum’s knee in January. But Yao goes into the tunnel, works it out some, and comes back quickly – warrior. I think it was just a knee to knee, maybe very minor hyperextension. Painful but minor.

* And more Kobeball, a shake and bake fadeaway with Battier right in his face, that’s three straight possessions he has sabotaged with his stupid play.

* Yao is back to hit a jumper: 87-81. And now some post moves leading to free throws twice in a row.

* We ended 2/18 on 3’s. That would be pretty bad for me.

And so we are in the 0-1 hole. Not a big deal, this team is beatable on the road, but what it means is that this series is going to be a real battle no matter how many games it goes.

The 4-0 in the regular season, in particular winning each game in the 4th quarter, hurt us some here as we just assumed that the game could be taken over late if needed, this should shake them out of that mindset.

Kobe ended up with 32 points on 31 shots and 5 FTA. The Lakers are now 2-6 this year when he takes 30+ shots (in regulation) and 1-7 all time in the playoffs. Bottom line, if Kobe shoots 30 times we are the Clippers.

When taking a 1-0 lead in series, Phil is a well-documented 42-0. The flip side is he’s 6-8 when losign game 1, a little different from the historic 21% figure. The dude can coach a little.

We committed 26 fouls to their 14, and they had a 29-19 FT edge. Somem of that was late, but some of it was not taking it to the hole.

Kobe was awful (26 of his 31 shots were jumpers, 19 of those beyond 15 feet), yes, but so were Pau, Odom and Fisher among the lead guys and ShanWOW and Sasha among the reserves, this was in every sense a team effort.

Yao played 40 minutes; we should be able to tire him out as the series goes on if he even comes close to that.

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