Thursday, May 14, 2009

Houston Game 5 thoughts

What a difference a little bit of effort makes, huh?

First quarter:
* Odom is on the active roster but not starting and they are saying he is doubtful. With Bynum now starting next to Gasol we must pound them inside and make them pay for their undersized front line.

* Kobe has made three awful plays in the first 2:23; I hope he isn’t going to try to take over” as that is usually good news for the opponent.

* Scola got away with a big push on an offensive rebound against Pau, that is big as it would have been his second.

* Houston commits their fourth team foul at the 7:05 mark, hopefully we can turn that into some free throws.

* Hayes commits his second at 6:35; there goes their best post defender.

* Without Yao, there is absolutely no reason for Kobe to ever roam off of Battier and give him an open 3, come on play smart!

* Finally we put Fish into the post against Brooks. It did not result in a basket that trip due to the missed chippie, but it will…more please!

* Lamar comes into the game at 4:22! I’m not sure how much he can give us, but the inspiration alone is worth something.

* Kobe is driving a lot tonight. More please!

A lot of games, for example Game 2 of this series, Kobe will come out taking a lot of shots and the announcers and analysts will say that he is “being aggressive.” BS; there is nothing aggressive about taking long jumpers, especially when you take a lot of them. The long jumper is the antithesis of aggressive play; it’s hard to imagine anything more passive, more submissive, on the offensive end.

Taking the ball to the hole, over and over, THAT is aggressiveness. And, for the first time in a long time, certainly the first time in these playoffs, Kobe is being aggressive this game.

* Lamar makes a 3! I normally don’t like him taking them, but he may not be up to a lot of banging tonight and that will draw out a big…27-20.

* Unbelievably active hands on defense tonight, as well as moving feet.

* A 20-4 run has put us up 32-22.

* And Farmar hits a long 3 at the buzzer to make the run 23-6 and the score 35-24. 11-2 in fast break points, and as the TNT guys have been pointing out we have scored 30+ in the wins and <20 in the losses in first quarters this series.

Second quarter:
* They have Cook and Barry in the lineup together. That could lead to some ugly defense.

* The TNT guys say we have 4 offensive rebounds to their 2 defensive boards over the first 15 minutes. Since there are 9 missed shots I’m not sure I buy that but at any rate it speaks to the effort here.

* Now up to 19 fast break points, and pulling away.

* The run is now 52-17 and the score is 64-35. Trying really helps!

* Houston is 4/22 in the quarter as we near halftime.

* 64-39 at the half, after scoring 54 in three quarters in Sunday.

Third quarter:
* Finally Fish posts Brooks again: the double comes and he funds Drew for an and-1.

* Brooks got cross-matched with Kobe twice and blew by him for layups. At least our much-maligned points usually funnel him to the help.

* Wow, Bynum just got an offensive rebound and putback and-1 with Artest hanging on his right arm – he went through Ron-Ron like he was paper mache.

* Hayes picks up his 4th at the 8:02 mark, here comes more post domination.

* And so it is, and not just on the offensive end, Pau and Drew are dominating the paint on both ends. We’re seeing a lot of those alligator arm shots from Houston players in the lane when they go in on Bynum, the kind we’ve grown so used to when he’s healthy, so this is a great sign.

* Cook drew a charge on Kobe; wonder how many times that happened in practice back in the day?

* Houston has missed their last 10 threes.

* Even Ariza on Artest is not looking like such a mismatch tonight, a product of better help and more Bynum.

* Oh no he didn’t!

After a sideline interview with Kyra Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon in which they, to be kind, did not sound like NBA experts, Kevin Harlan returns to the action with “Avid readers of John Hollinger, obviously.”


* You know the offense is going well when Battier leaves Kobe to help, Kobe camps all alone at the 3 point line, and nobody even looks his way because they don’t need to.

* And at the end of 3…94-54!

Fourth quarter:
* Lots of garbage time and iced knees. It ends 118-78, the deep bench playing them even.

Of course this means nothing if we don’t come back and play hard on Thursday in Houston. Have they finally learned their lesson?

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