Hey all, let's get 'er jumping, shall we?
If the Lakers escape the Hornets, which remaining team in the West presents the biggest matchup problem?
Dufresne: Again, this is PRESUMING NOTHING about advancing (in other words, if the Lakers mess up the bed, don't yell at me about a "jinx."), but I would probably say the Thunder present the biggest problem for the Lakers. It's not even so much about the matchups, although Westbrook is certainly a handful and the presence of Perkins helps them both defensively and setting screens, which will help Durant against Artest. At the end of the day, I just think they're the best team among the contenders in the West, and by extension the most dangerous.
Having said that, a Thunder-Grizzlies series (assuming the Spurs can't beat the odds) is quite intriguing. I don't think many people would give the Griz a chance, but I think they match up extremely well against OKC on several counts. My money would probably still be on the thunder, but I don't think it would be a walk in the park for the Thunder by any stretch.
K Bros, its been a while since I've been able to partake in one of your chats. You two remain my favorite source for Lakers info. Don't you think people are giving the lakers a little too much credit and underestimating New Orleans? I don't think it should be that much of surprise that the series was tied. David West is out, but against the Lakers that might've been more beneficial with Landry the Laker Killer starting. In the games during the regular season when Pau Dominated, that was against West who is not know for being a banger on the block like Okafor and Landry. Add the fact that Chris Paul might be the only player in the league who hates to lose as much as Kobe and you have a solid team who is going to compete. Just because N.O. was the most favorable of the possible match ups doesn't mean it was going to be easy. I don't think the series was tied because the lakers weren't playing with fire, I think New Orleans is better than people give them credit for. Agree?
Mansa: To a certain degree, I agree with you. Landry is a noted Laker-killer and by definition, any team that wins 46 games in the west can't be a joke. Throw in the CP3 factor, and yes, the Hornets aren't to be taken lightly. Having said that, the absence of West is huge and the Lakers swept the series 4-0 during the regular season. Even as someone who constantly preaches how the regular season and postseason often have zilch to do with each other, I expected a fair amount of carry over. My official prediction was "Lakers in 5," which I didn't consider a dismissal of the Hornets, but rather a reflection of the Lakers' superiority. But either way, kudos to NOH for making this a serious battle.
where does kobe's dunk on okafor rank on his list of playoff dunks? off the top of my head, i would have to put it behind the baseline one against minny in '03, over nash in '06, and over macculloch in the '02 finals.
Keeya: I don't remember all of Kobe's playoffs dunks off the top of my head, but when you factor in the ankle and stakes at play, the Okafor facial has to rank near the tippy top.
What are the odds the Lakers relax a bit for game 6 and drop one on the road?
Shayne: It's never out of the question for the Lakers to get inexplicably casual, but I'm actually pretty confident the Lakers will close it out on Thursday. Even with all their Jekyll and Hyde tendencies over the last few seasons, the one thing they've done very consistently is close out when the opportunity presents itself. Particularly on the road. Denver and Orlando in '09. Each Western Conference series in 2010. I'll extend them the benefit of the doubt.
After the Hornets is it safe to say that no other team is going to exploit the Lakers PG weakness as well as the Hornets??
Rick Mills: Actually, the Thunder have a guy named Russell Westbrook you may have heard of. And should the Griz pull the upset, Mike Conley has done some damage against the Lakers. And Rondo certainly has given them fits. At the end of the day, there's a lot of great point guards in the league, and even if none are as good as Chris Paul, they're dangerous.
Go deliver the mail, Newman.
Do you think Kobe is actually healthier overall than he was last year? I don't remember him throwing down any dunks like he did last night in the 2010 playoffs.
Brian: He's definitely healthier this season than last season around this time, all things being equal. Even taking into account his ankle issue, his knee is better and his hand is his hand. Plus, he hasn't needed to spend as much time playing backup SF as last season.
I can't help but think the Lakers front office folks are watching CP3 and salivating at the thought of him being on the team in a couple of years. What are the chances of that happening?
Zilli: I'm sure the Lakers front office is salivating at Paul. Just like the other 28 front offices across the league. But I'm guessing the odds are low. I can't imagine they'll have the cap room, and unless they're willing to trade Bynum, the trade assets.
Do you allow Chris Paul to get his 25 points and try to keep his assit total under 11?
Chris: Great team defense and a little bit of good fortune. I mean, last night's 20 point/12 assist performance is ho-hum for Paul in this series, but God-like by any normal standard. The guy is just playing out of his skull, and to some degree, you just have to accept reality and hope he doesn't go too crazy.
If the Lakers somehow meet the Grizz in the conference finals (!!!), would the Gasol v. Gasol showdown be the biggest stage competition between two brothers in NBA history?
Sean: It would be pretty historic, there's no question. I also think it could turn Pau into a nervous wreck. He's gotten better with the situation, but by his own admission, competing against his brother doesn't come easy for him. He can't but see it as trying to prevent his brother's success, which is psychologically tough for him. It helps that he'll spend more time on Randolph than Marc, but either way, I don't think it'll be easy. It will, however, be fascinating.
It's impossible for the Lakers to beat New Orleans. They lose too much in the PG matchup
Oh, Ex! You sarcastic so-and-so!!!
Andy, not to mention that should the Lakers play Da Bulls, they have a guy named Rose who is the likely MVP. He might pose a matchup problem.
Tom: Ummm... yeah, Derrick Rose. I hear good things about him, too. Clearly, this chat moderator got to bed too late and hasn't felt the coffee kick in yet.
Since this is Phil's last year, and the players are getting older, should the Lakers wheel and deal for younger talent? ......and I'm talking about trading the likes of Gasol, Artest, and Odom?
Dennis: Not they shouldn't. For starters, a massive overhaul likely means a season wasted in the adjustment period, which feels silly given the window for Kobe at this level of excellence. Plus, the pieces you're talking about are pretty good and youth can be a very overrated commodity. Plus, even if they wanted to make these moves, Gasol and Artest wouldn't necessarily be easy to move. Both are in long term deals, Gasol's being a particularly expensive contract. Plus, would you be clamoring to take on Artest in a scenario he didn't want to join? Me neither.
In response to Zilli, I think the Lakers have a more legit shot at Dwight Howard over CP3 considering we would be trading size for size.
Any chance we could see a smaller lineup with Ron on Carl Landry?
Kevin: I actually posed the question of putting Artest on Landry in my Game 5 preview. The need didn't present itself last night, as Landry had a pretty good game, but if he started going nuts again, I definitely think PJ should consider giving Ron a crack at slowing him.
Guy, is it my computer or your answers that are taking so long?!?
Kevin: It's your computer. I'm perfect.
im now confidant the lakers will win the series and i really have this feeling the lakers will get the three peat cause the way kobe played he wont be dined
Any reason the Lakers don't ever trot out a big lineup to close out games? Fister/Blake at 1, Kobe at 2, Lamar 3, Gasol 4, Bynum 5?
Justin: Wouldn't the big lineup include Artest over Fisher/Blake? But to answer your question, the Lakers never trot out that lineup in part because of issues like speed in transition, but also because in very small sample sizes, the triple towers haven't looked terribly good. They also rarely get a chance to practice with it, since Drew is hurt so often, and letting it go on the fly, particularly during the playoffs, just isn't very practical. The concept is fascinating, but won't likely come to any real fruition.
Considering what we have seen so far in the playoffs, who would the Lakers match up better against in the next round - Mavs or Blazers?
Jay: I think the Lakers match up better against the Mavs. They have fewer options to throw at Kobe defensively. I'll take Andre Miller over Jason Kidd at this stage of their careers, and while Dirk is a monster, Aldridge certainly isn't that far behind him. Plus, the Blazers are a team with serious heart and Portland is never an easy place to visit. Having said that, the way the Mavs came out after that Game 4 collapse really impressed me, and Tyson Chandler -- and to a lesser degree, DeShawn Stevenson -- has provided some seriously needed toughness. I don't think they'd be an easy out at all, even though the Lakers might still be able to play head games against them.
Andy - I'm sorry to have ever doubted you! So who's the favorite in the East? Boston after beating a bad NY team or the Heat?
Kevin: The Bulls might have something to say about your phrasing.
Any thoughts of them getting a new back up PG next year? I've been watching that mavs series, and it makes me jealous that we don't have someone coming off the bench with that much energy, such as Barea, feel like Blake should be doing more.
Rick: Blake has been better during the playoffs and some of April, so maybe it was a matter of him getting into the flow of things. But you're right, he hasn't enjoyed nearly the impact that many (myself included) expected. His contract also isn't prohibitively expensive, so he wouldn't be the hardest guy to move. If I had to guess, they'll give him another season before deciding to go in another direction, but a change involving Blake certainly isn't out of the question.
Is it just me or have we seen this before. Game 6 on the to close out an opponent. Kobe smells blood. Kobe Triple-Double on Thursday night. Write it down.
What got into Brown?? Maybe he should get mad and throw more airbows.
And with the invention of the word "airbows," I bid you all farewell! Thanks for dropping by. We appreciate it and will see you soon.