Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Denver Game 6 thoughts

"No mercy, man! No mercy!" -- Kobe Bryant

"This is a team that looks prepared to try to get some jewelry." -- Mark Jackson

First quarter:
* Denver has lost 7 straight elimination games, ouch.

* Pau has two early blocks as it's 9-7 halfway through the quarter.

* Bynum took his 2nd at the 5:22 mark, but both were good hard playoff fouls, which I like seeing in this building.

* Ariza has 7 on 3/4 shooting, keying the 17-13 lead.

* Denver is 2/2 from 3 (Smith, Billups) keeping them in early at 17-16.

* Trevor now has 10 and 3 on 4/5 shooting including 2/3 from distance; 24-18.

* 25-20 at the quarter, but it doesn't seem that close, LA is really controlling things.

Second quarter:
* Sasha hits a 3 to make it 30-24, causing a minor earthquake in Slovenia.

* JR now has 11 and is the spark to this 7-0 Denver run that has given them a 31-30 lead.

* Odom has 6 on 3/4 shooting to give the Lakers back the lead at 34-33 (they would never trail again, only briefly at 31-30 and 33-32).

* Farmar is really struggling, 0/1 with 2 turnovers and awful defense. Probably time to sit him and go with the other two, the only good thing about this three PG setup being that you can go with the hot hand and sit the cold one.

* Fish hits a 3 to make it 37-33; LA is 4/8 from deep. The Lakers have turned it over 11 times or they would be way ahead at this point.

* The run is 7-0 and it's 39-33. Need to end the half well and we can plant some seeds of doubt.

* Trevor now has 13, 5/7 from the field and 3/4 from distance; 44-37.

* Woops, now he picks up his 3rd at 1:40.

* Back to back jumpers by Kobe make it 48-39.

* Kobe hits a dagger step back 3 off Pau offensive board to make it 53-40. Then he gets back to block Melo's short runner at the buzzer. It may have been on the way down, but it also may have been below the rim, it was going to be well short but the instinct is to swat it there. Great finish to the half, a 21-7 run to make the lead 13 and the Thugs have to be dispirited.

Third quarter:
* Billups commits his 4th turnover on their second possession of the quarter. Fish and Brown (and occasionally Kobe and Ariza) are really shutting him down the last two games.

* Kobe throws up a desperation shot clock airball and Jones gets a silly taunting tech; 54-42. Karl much be very pleased.

* Trevor picks up his 4th at 9:54 in a 58-43 game. Luke will need to give us quality minutes here.

* Denver has taken 19 FT to the Lakers 6, despite the Lakers dominating the paint. And two of those are technical fouls shots, so it's really 19-4 on FT due to calls.

I'm sure conspiracy theorists everywhere are decrying the pro-Denver bias...

* Denver got it down to 9 twice, but it's back to 68-55 as the Lakers have a 20-6 edge in assists and a 60-39 edge in FG%.

* Kobe with an and-1 to make it 71-55.

* K-Mart has 8 in the quarter, keeping them in this 71-57 game.

* Luke has 8 as it goes to 75-59, and then takes a charge on JR on the other end. Great play from him tonight, when he hits shots this offense is basically unstoppable.

* Lamar with a tip in, and Kobe with a J and it's 79-59...getting close!

* JR hits a 2 and a 3 to get it back to 79-64.

* Now Kleiza hits a 3 and they are fully back in at 79-67, and the crowd is back into it with the 8-0 run.

* As they try to cut it to 10 o 9, Fish draws a moving pick foul on Andersen, huge play.

* Silly play by K-Mart, as he gets Sasha in an ankle lock and for some reason refuses to let go, they had not blown the whistle at first but he forced them to. He hits the freebies, 81-67. Denver is one stupid basketball team.

* Now Sasha picks up a loose ball with seconds left and JR grabs him from behind instead of making him take a half court shot. He drills them again, the quarter ends 83-67, and unless we stage a historic collapse it's on to the Finals.

Fourth quarter:
* Lamar hits a layin off a great cut and then a 3, 88-67 on a 9-0 run!

* Kleiza hits a 3, 90-74, still barely breathing.

* Kobe hits 2 and we are 15/15 from the line; 92-74.

* JR picks up his 5th at 8:43, but they need him in there as they need scoring.

* They are staging one more run: a Melo 3, JR 3 and Melo almost 3 foot on the line cuts it to 96-82.

* Kobe end sthe run with a layin to make it 98-82.

* Kobe rises up to shoot a 3 and drains it, 101-82 with 6:13 left and we are going to the Finals! 31st tiem in team history, 18th in my 40 years of Laker fandom.

* Pau's offensive rebound prompts a Billups flagrant due to frustration at 5:38; 103-82.

* 19/19 FT now and 105-85.

* ShanWOW hits 3 FT and we are 22/22; 108-85.

* And now 24/24 from the line and 116-90. Even Lamar is hitting them, amazing display.

* The final is 119-92, just a dominant offensive performance. The 24/24 is the second most playoff FT makes without a miss in league history.

Pau had double-doubles in all 6 games.

The Redeem Team did pretty well last summer, now it's time for Redeem Team II to make their statement. This is what this team has been working towards since they started camp in early October. Still a lot of work to do, but we can take a night to savor this one.

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