Posts Tagged ‘Phil Jackson’

History in the making … 1 down

October 29, 2008

When you’re the first person on the planet to prognosticate that the 2008-2009 LA Lakers WILL win 70+ regular season games AND capture the NBA Title … if they retain the players from their previous team AND can remain major injury-free … PRIOR to their loss in the 2008 NBA Finals … while picking the Celtics to win that specific series … it can place a sharp focus on the viewpoint you have toward their efforts each step along the way.

Game 1
FINAL SCORE: Lakers [1-0] 96 Trail Blazers 76
Game Info & Summary

Baby Steps, sound health, and a firm Commitment to the Championship Philosophy of …

“No Rebounds, No Rings.”Pat Riley

That’s what this year IS ABOUT for the ZenMaster & Co.

Taking on all comers

September 25, 2008

Reading this specific blog entry … precipitated the following thought:

If you could construct your ideal 12-man team of current NBA players, who would you select?

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Hmmmmmmm …

From that many possibilities, there would be some exceptionally difficult choices to make … and a lot of supremely talented and valuable players left out in the cold.

Regardless … according to these eyes,

these are the Dirtiest Dozen, in the NBA today:

[listed by position & role]

Starters
PG – Lebron James … far and away his best and most natural position
G/F – Dwyane Wade … the best, taking it to the rack, in the half-court
G/F – Kobe Bryant … Samarai Warrior
PF – Kevin Garnett … Rebounding & Energy are thy true names
C – Greg Oden [my, oh, my] … that’s right, before he’s played a game 

Key Bench Subs
PG – Deron Williams … well-balanced in every respect
G/F – Manu Ginobili … the best 6th Man in existence
PF/C – Tim Duncan … the best combo Big in existence

Reserves
PG – Steve Nash … still the best facilitaor in the business, bar none
G/F – Tracy McGrady … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Amare Stoudemire … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Rasheed Wallace … multi-purpose player

Coach – Philip Patrick Jackson Riley … ‘The Sacred Winner Hoops Within’

“Train them … Excite them … and, Turn them Loose … “

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There you go!

Now … Which 12 players would you choose for your team?

[PLEASE NOTE: Who you choose, in what positions & roles, and who you leave out, says a lot about your unique vision of the game.]

2nd Comings in the Pacific Northwest

September 23, 2008

Q1. What are the reasons you have lost your mind and predicted boldly that the 2008-2009 LA Lakers will win 70+ regular season games and capture the NBA Championship?

A1. If you must know, it’s a two-part answer.

PART ONE
The Lakers have done a solid job re-assembling a 1st-class roster of highly talented, athletic, skilled, complimentary players around Phil Jackson & Kobe Bryant, two expert practicioners in their respective fields, i.e. ZenMaster Warlord, and his Most Trusted Samurai. On the heels of the experience this team gained last season, losing in the NBA FINALS, it is now poised to strike back with lethal vengence, this season … to provide the 10th NBA Title, as a coach, for their venorable Sensai; and, the 1st Ring (overall) for his protege, Black Mamba, unaccompanied by his former partner-in-crime, the Biggest-Shogun-of-All-Time. According to these eyes, this is THE season for these Lakers to make history, as a group. Here & Now. Next season? Who knows where Phil Jackson is going to be, at his age? Or, Lamar Odom? Or, Derek Fisher? Or, Tex Winter? Or, the rest of the Lakers’ extended family. The time for this group, to ‘Be In The Moment, as One‘, is NOW. 

“Life is fast; and, things happen quickly”.Derek Fisher

PART TWO
This MAN, right here …

is about to make his long-awaited debut, in the NBA, this season …

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Q & A with Greg Oden
NBA.com: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Greg Oden: Just to win. To try to get out there and help my team win as much as possible. I’m not really worried about individual stats. For me, if my team can make the playoffs or we can win a lot more games than we did last year, then that will satisfy me.

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and this corner just happens to believe that he is going to prove to be, in the long run, the closest thing this League has seen, in the LAST 40 YEARS, to the re-incarnation of The Great Man, himself … Mr. Bill Russell (figuratively speaking, of course, as the original incarnation is still going strong!) combined with Wilt Chamberlain (at his most powerful best) … in terms of his Commitment to REBOUNDING, Defense, Team & Individual Offense AND his overall attitude toward The Game (specifically) & Life (in general).

====================

NBA.com: You got to know the greatest big man in Blazers history, Bill Walton, a little bit. What advice has he shared with you?
Greg Oden: He’s just telling me if you go out there and play, you don’t have to worry about what people say about you in the news or the media. Just go out there and play your game and have fun with it. It’s just a game. You’ve got to understand that you’re a rookie. Don’t put any pressure on yourself that isn’t needed.

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If the Lakers DO NOT win the championship this season … each year that goes by it is going to get more and more difficult for them – and the other elite level teams in the Western Conference – to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, anchored in the middle by Gregory Wayne Oden, Jr., over the course of the next decade, or so.

When you find yourself standing squarely between a Rock (i.e. last year’s group of Boston Celtics) and a Hard Place (Greg Oden’s Portland Trail Blazers for the next 10-15 years) … it can do wonders to create an extraordinary sense of urgency, and R.E.S.P.E.C.T., for the moment at-hand. Carpe Diem!

Destiny Awaits! … THIS, specific Lakers’ team

… which will NEED to strike while the iron is hot … and, before the sparks ignite, full blown, up the Pacific Coastline, in the Emerald City.

In appreciation of the Worm

August 29, 2008

Okay … it’s been a relatively slow week, post Beijing and all.

However, as each day has slipped by the following video clip … via Wednesday’s BDL … just kept lingering in the subconscience of this correspondent:

… as ‘Exhibit A’ pertaining to the only man in the History of the NBA who could actually defend … with aplomb … all 5 positions on the court, against some of the most outstanding athletes (in any sport) of ALL-TIME.

In conjunction with the seemingly outlandish claim of the ZenMaster …

“He could probably play a 48-minute game and play the 48th minute stronger than the first minute of the game,” Jackson told the crowd at UND. “He was that terrific an athlete.”

and what was written in this space last season …

The Worm vs the Winner [Jan 31, 2008]

know that these eyes are in full agreement with the acute observation of Dr. Phil.

Based upon his on-court performance … Dennis Rodman HAS EARNED his place some day in the Basketball Hall Of Fame … and, it will be a d*mn shame if he never gets there.

Yao Ming or Andrew Bynum: Part II (the call)

August 7, 2008

The votes for last week’s on-line survey have been tabulated.

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Who is the better player, Yao or Bynum?

Now – Yao 11; Bynum 11
Later – Yao 8; Bynum 14

Which one would Phil Jackson choose as the Center for his team?

Yao 6
Bynum 15

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In sharp contrast to what phdsteve originally postulated … i.e. Yao Ming is a vastly superior player to Andrew Bynum AND the player Phil Jackson would select if asked to choose between the two, as the Center for his team …

Survey Says, “This is far from the definitive perception held by others in the on-line basketball community.”

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Concerning this Corner’s specific rationale …

 

Table 1 

ANDREW BYNUM (7-0, 285 LBS, 20 YRS)                                         Season Averages

 

 

Year

Team/Age

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

05-06

LAL/18

46

0

7.3

0.402

0.000

0.296

0.7

1.0

1.7

0.2

0.1

0.5

0.37

1.20

1.6

06-07

LAL/19

82

53

21.9

0.558

0.000

0.668

1.7

4.2

5.9

1.1

0.2

1.6

1.40

3.00

7.8

07-08

LAL/20

35

25

28.8

0.636

0.000

0.695

3.0

7.2

10.2

1.7

0.3

2.1

1.49

2.80

13.1

08-09

LAL/21

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

09-10

???/22

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

10-11

???/23

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

11-12

???/24

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

12-13

???/25

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

13-14

???/26

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

14-15

???/27

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

  

Table 2

YAO MING (7-6, 310 LBS, 27 YRS)                                                    Season Averages

Year

Team/Age

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

98-99

NA/18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

99-00

NA/19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

00-01

NA/20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

01-02

NA/21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02-03

HOU/22

82

72

29.0

0.498

0.500

0.811

2.4

5.8

8.2

1.7

0.4

1.8

2.11

2.80

13.5

03-04

HOU/23 *

82

82

32.8

0.522

0.000

0.809

2.4

6.6

9.0

1.5

0.3

1.9

2.49

3.30

17.5

04-05

HOU/24 *

80

80

30.6

0.552

0.000

0.783

2.6

5.8

8.4

0.8

0.4

2.0

2.45

3.70

18.3

05-06

HOU/25 *

57

57

34.2

0.519

0.000

0.853

2.6

7.6

10.2

1.5

0.5

1.6

2.58

3.40

22.3

06-07

HOU/26 *

48

48

33.8

0.516

0.000

0.862

2.1

7.3

9.4

2.0

0.3

2.0

3.48

3.30

25.0

07-08

HOU/27 *

55

55

37.2

0.507

0.000

0.850

3.1

7.7

10.8

2.3

0.4

2.0

3.33

3.10

22.0

 

As a Center in the NBA, at 20 years of age, Andrew Bynum is superior to Yao Ming in every statistical category imaginable with the following Career Averages:

 

Table 3

Career Averages up to 20 Years of Age

 

AGE

GP

GS

MPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

ANDREW BYNUM

20 (3 Years)

163

78

19.3

0.571

0.000

0.649

1.7

3.9

5.6

1.0

0.2

1.3

1.13

2.50

7.2

YAO MING

20 (0 Years)

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

  

Table 4

Career Averages from 22 – 27 Years of Age

 

Yrs/All-Star

GP

GS

MPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

ANDREW BYNUM

0

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

N-A

YAO MING

6/5-Time

404

394

32.5

0.520

0.111

0.826

2.5

6.6

9.2

1.6

0.4

1.8

2.65

3.30

19.0

  

Given the ‘Rate of Progress’ Andrew Bynum has shown during his first 3 seasons in the NBA [Table 1], at 18, 19 and 20 Years of Age, respectively, and the ‘Rate of Progress’ Yao Ming has shown from 22 – 27 Years Of Age [Table 2] … barring a major injury … it is reasonable to expect that Andrew Bynum will surpass the production values of Yao Ming, at comparable ages.


At this stage of his career [i.e. 20 Years of Age/3 seasons in the NBA], Andrew Bynum [Table 3] is a better basketball player than Yao Ming [Table 4], in terms of Field Goal Shooting Accuracy, Rebounding, Passing, Shot-blocking, Generating of Steals/Turnovers, and Overall Athleticism [Horizontal & Vertical Quickness, Explosive Power, and Coordination].


IMO
, if Phil Jackson [LA Lakers coach] was asked today to choose between Yao Ming and Andrew Bynum to fill the Center position on his team, the ZenMaster would select Andrew Bynum.


Bynum runs the floor better in transition [Offensively & Defensively].
Bynum is a more athletic Shot-blocker.
Bynum is a better ‘finisher’, in the air, around the basket.
Bynum is a better sized defender when asked/needed to ‘switch’ checks with a smaller player.


Bynum is at least as good if not a better Rebounder.
Bynum is at least as good if not a better Passer.
Bynum is at least as good if not a better Generator of Steals/Turnover.


Yao
is a better Mid-range Shooter.
Yao is a better Free Throw Shooter.


As a complimentary player to Kobe Bryant [Alpha Male No. 1], Bynum is a better fit with a team coached by Phil Jackson which uses the Triangle Offense and relies primarily on players with high levels of agility [physical & mental] on Defense and when Rebounding.


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Thanks to all for participating!

Yao Ming or Andrew Bynum … You make the call

July 30, 2008

Initiated an interesting exchange earlier today on a differnt web site … RaptorsTalk.com … regarding the relative value of these two specific players which warrants further analysis.

phdsteve … believes that Yao Ming is the best 7-footer in the world, and that Phil Jackson would choose Yao Ming over Andrew Bynum as the Center for his team.

khandor (that’s me) … believes that Phil Jackson would choose Andrew Bynum over Yao Ming as the Center for his team.

What do the rest of you in cyberspace think?

All votes submitted in the ‘Comments’ section of this thread over the next 7 days will be tabulated and reported in this space Thursday, August 7, 2008 … with a complete rationale explaining the perspective of this corner, as well as others who might choose to participate.

On your marks …

Get set …

and

Go!

Observations from Curt Schilling

June 9, 2008

Sitting beside the Lakers’ bench during last night’s match-up between the Lakers and the Celtics, Curt Schilling (pitcher for the Red Sox) had a chance to watch an NBA Final’s game ‘up close & personal’.

His observations are certainly intriguing … 

Manny, JD, Papi, Lester and the NBA Finals.
… it was a fascinating bit of insight for me to watch someone in another sport who is in the position of a team leader and how he interacted with his team and teammates. Watching the other 11 guys, every time out it was high fives and “Hey nice work, let’s get after it” or something to that affect. He walked off the floor, obligatory skin contact on the high five, and sat on the bench stone faced or pissed off, the whole game. Just weird to see another sport and how it all works. I would assume that’s his style and how he plays and what works for him because when I saw the leader board for scoring in the post season his name sat up top at 31+ a game, can’t argue with that. But as a fan I was watching the whole thing, Kobe, his teammates and then the after effects of conversations. He’d yell at someone, make a point, or send a message, turn and walk away, and more than once the person on the other end would roll eyes or give a ‘whatever dude’ look.

==========================

There are several specific reasons the Celtics are going to win this series.

What Mr. Schilling observed last night … even as a self-professed basketball ‘neophyte’ … is a revealing portrait of the inner workings of two divergent NBA teams, each operating at an elite level, and a prime example of more than one of these specific reasons.

Rebounding Differential, We not me … and, Ubuntu!

Sacred hoopsters for all-time

June 2, 2008

If you could choose but 12 players and 2 coaches from amongst all those who have ever played the game to form YOUR personal team, and represent what it is YOU stand for, on and off the court …

Who would these 14 be?

These are mine:

Starters:
PG – Magic Johnson
OG – Michael Jordan
SF – Larry Bird
PF – Kevin McHale
C – Bill Russell

Bench:
Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Julius Erving, Dennis Rodman, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Rick Barry, Hakeem Olajuwon

Head Coach:
Red Auerbach

Assistant Coach:
Phil Jackson

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Who is on YOUR team for all-time?

NBA at 50

How the Lakers won a pivotal Game 4

May 28, 2008

Writing on SportsHubLA.com prior to the start of this Conference Finals series, this writer explained in the ‘Comments’ section what the easiest way is for the Lakers to beat the Spurs …

Three Ways to beat San Antonio

which was clearly on display in yesterday’s gigantic W for LA, in San Antonio.

Lakers 93, Spurs 91 … Boxscore

Given this corner’s affinity for Phil Jackson and the Triangle Offense, it’s important that other NBA observers fully recognize the inherent beauty and effectiveness of this specific Offensive Basketball System and the role it plays in creating invaluable scoring opportunities for its practicioners …

(from a half-time interview during Game 4)

When the Lakers generate 5 more Offensive Rebounds in a game than the Spurs, LA exponentially increases its chances of winning … especially when one of those D-Boards-Lost (LA/Team Rebound) occurs at the 5.0 sec mark of the 4thQ … Full Play-By-Play … in a 1 possession game.

How the Spurs lost Game 1

May 22, 2008

Winning and Losing playoff games in the NBA … against a top notch, high calibre opponent … does NOT happen on account of:

* Good/bad Offensive Efficiency
* Good/bad Defensive Field Goal Percentage (True or otherwise)
* Ast:Turnover
* 3Pt Field Goal Percentage
* Free Throw Attempts
* Points Scored Per 100 Possessions (PSPHP)

or, any other current Game Stat (‘old school’ or ‘new-age’) you, or any Sabermetrician might care to mention.

Terrific, closely contested battles between two quality opponents, like last night’s Game 1, are decided by specific, individual plays/decisions (made or not made) by specific individuals (players or coaches) engaged in specific individual match-ups, AND the Momentum created/stopped/reversed/etc. by said plays/decisions, at Key (i.e. Fulchrum Possessions) Points in said game. FULL STOP.

Season ‘averages’ are irrelevant.
Relative ‘performance stats’ … are irrelevant.
Statistics, in general … are irrelevant.

==============================================

4th Q
Sas 81, LAL 77

6:56 Sas/Finley subbed out for Udoka; Oberto subbed out for Duncan

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher (6-1, 210) vs Parker (6-2, 180)
OG – Vujacic (6-7, 205) vs Ginobili (6-6, 205)
SF – Bryant (6-6, 205) vs Bowen (6-6, 200)
PF – Odom (6-10, 230) vs Udoka (6-5, 220)
C – Gasol (7-0, 250) vs Duncan (6-11, 260)

and the ensuing series of possessions

6:38 Sas/Udoka Turnover: Bad Pass (1 TO) … Gasol Steal
6:32 LAL/Fisher: Jump Shot: Missed (open/Ginobili) … Ginobil Rebound
6:09 Sas/Parker: 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Fisher); Duncan Rebound
5:51 Sas/Udoka: Jump Shot: Missed (shot fake semi-contested/Fisher)
5:50 Sas/Duncan Off Foul: Loose Ball (3 PF)

5:50 LAL/Team Time-out: Regular

5:30 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Bowen) … Parker Rebound
5:25 Sas/Parker Fouled [Fisher: Personal (4 PF)]  
5:06 Sas/Parker Jump Shot: Missed (fumbled pass, contested/Vujacic) … LAL Team Rebound
4:57 LAL/Gasol Fouled [Bowen: Personal (4 PF)]
4:48 LAL/Vujacic 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Ginobili) … Duncan Rebound
4:35 Sas/Ginobili Turnover: Bad Pass (4 TO) … Fisher Steal
4:32 LAL/Fisher Fouled [Parker: Shooting (2 PF)]; Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … Sas 81, LAL 79

4:32 Sas/Udoka subbed out for Finley

which produced the following individual match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen ([ame]
PF – Odom vs Finley (6-7, 225) [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

4:13 Sas/Ginobili Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol [Blocked Shot]); Sas Team Rebound
4:10 Sas/Duncan Jump Shot: Missed (open/Gasol) … Fisher Rebound
4:03 LAL/Odom Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Duncan) … Finley Rebound
3:40 Sas/Duncan Jump Hook: Missed (contested/Gasol & Odom) … Odom Rebound
3:39 LAL/Odom Turnover: Lost Ball Out of Bounds (3 TO)
3:34 Sas/Finley 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Odom) … Vujacic Rebound
3:18 LAL/Odom Layup Shot: Made (contested/Finley) … Sas 81, LAL 81

3:11 Sas/Team Time-out: Regular

3:11 Sas/Finley subbed out for Udoka

which produced the following individual match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen [same]
PF – Odom vs Udoka [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

2:57 Sas/Parker Turnover: Lost Ball (2 TO) … Fisher Steal
2:42 LAL/Bryant Fouled (Bowen: Personal [5 PF]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 83, Sas 81
2:28 Sas/Udoka 3Pt Shot: Missed (contested/Odom) … Gasol Rebound 
2:17 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Made (contested/Duncan & Bowen) … LAL 85, Sas 81
1:58 Sas/Udoka Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Fisher & Odom); Parker Rebound
1:55 Sas/Parker Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol [Blocked Shot]) … Bryant Rebound
1:32 LAL/Fisher Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Udoka) … Sas Team Rebound
1:22 Sas/Ginobili Fouled (Fisher: Personal [PF 5]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 85, Sas 83
1:05 LAL/Odom Floating Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Udoka & Bowen) … Duncan Rebound
1:04 Sas/Duncan Turnover: Lost Ball Out of Bounds (TO 4) … NO FOUL CALL by Official [Bob Delaney/Center, not in correct position], Duncan Fouled [Gasol hack]

1:04 LAL/Team Time-out: Short

0:56 LAL/Gasol Dunk Shot: Missed (contested/Duncan [Blocked Shot]) … Sas Team Rebound

0:55 Sas/Udoka subbed out for Finley

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen [same]
PF – Odom vs Finley [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:41 Sas/Duncan Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol) … tipped in by Bryant & Odom … LAL 85, Sas 85
0:23 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Made (contested/Bowen) … Bryant Off Foul/NOT CALLED (ala MJ vs Russell-B … ‘MVP No-call’) … LAL 87, Sas 85

PLEASE NOTE:
Key ‘Fulchrum’ Play  in the game … Lakers ran a High Middle/Elbow Pick & Roll with Bryant & Gasol; Spurs responded with Trap/Double-team (Duncan & Bowen); Bryant reversed his direction, kept his dribble alive & STRUNG OUT the Double Team to the Left Sideline, forced Duncan to LEAVE, retreating back to the Key, and making Finley rotate out to find Gasol (open in the Left Corner); Isolated Bryant vs Bowen, for the Middle Drive … PUSH OFF & Pull-up Jump Shot: MADE.

0:20 Sas/Team Time-out: Regular

0:20 Sas/Bowen subbed out for Horry

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Finley [new]
PF – Odom vs Horry [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:09 Sas/Ginobili 3Pt Shot: Missed (contested/Vujacic) … Vujacic Rebound
0:07 LAL/Vujacic Fouled (Finley: Personal [PF 1]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 89, Sas 85

0:07 Sas/Team Tim-out: Short

0:07 Sas/Parker subbed out for Udoka

whiche produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Udoka [new]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Finley [same]
PF – Odom vs Horry [same]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:02 Sas/Finley 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Bryant) … Odom Rebound
END OF GAME

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WHAT IS RELEVANT in situations/games like these … are:

* A Brialliant play/decision by Kobe Bryant (a Superstar player)
* Good/bad coaching maneuvers/decisions by Phil Jackson (i.e. down-sizing to his ‘small’ line-up with 1/Fisher, 2/Vujacic, 3/Bryant, 4/Odom & 5/Gasol, and sticking with it) & Gregg Popovich (i.e. failing to respond properly to the shift of Odom to the 4-spot and repeatedly substituting with Udoka & Finley INSTEAD OF Robert Horry, until the Moment of Truth HAD PASSED and it was too late for the Spurs)
* 1 crucial Turnover & 3 untimely Missed Shots by Ime Udoka (an inexperienced player for the Spurs)
* Two crucial NO CALLS by NBA OFFICIALS
* The Spurs No. 1 Scorer, Manu GINOBILI!, missing a contested 3Pt Shot with 7 seconds left in Regulation Time … which would have given the Spurs a 1-pt lead

The Lakers were better than the Spurs, in Game 1 … of what promises to be an outstanding Western Conference Finals.

Will Pop figure it out?
Or, will PJ be able to stay one-step ahead of him?

Now … it’s on to Game 2.