Friday, May 15th, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  67 responses

The Post Up: Game 7 Love

The Lakers underachieve and the Magic hang on.

by Holly MacKenzie /@stackmack

I wanted Game 7′s and I got them. TWO of them.

I wasn’t planning on the basketball Gods answering my requests so seriously. The Lakers, man. What can I say besides, where is the focus? You don’t come out like that on your opponents homefloor, on the same floor where you got pummeled not even a week ago. Not when you’re seeking the championship. Not when the Nuggets are up next.

Could these Houston Rockets really do this?

I can’t hate them. I just can’t. They really have no business being here. They’ve got no business at all being in a seven game series with the Lakers with Yao Ming sitting on the bench. It’s sort of foolish to think of. What they don’t have in bodies, size or personnel, they’ve more than made up for in heart.

Brooks came out with his red jacket on during the press conference. You’d best believe he’ll be wearing that to STAPLES come Sunday.

The Lakers were just out of it last night. Pau and Andrew disappointed me greatly. Carl Landry was such a pleasant surprise for the Rockets. Scola was determined to get the W and refused to let anyone outwork him. Brooks weaved his way around the court for 26 points and Battier made Kobe take 27 shots to get his 32 points.

A positive for the Lakers was Jordan Farmar finally getting into a groove. The negative was Derek Fisher scoring only 2 points on the night on 1-7 shooting.

Can I just mention Landry’s aggressiveness again? He was great.

Hearing that Brooks got stopped at STAPLES because someone thought he was too small to “go where the players go”, was just bad. Unless you live under a rock, if you don’t know who Aaron Brooks is by now, shame on you. He may be tiny but he has been spectacular this postseason.

The Rockets were simply better over 48 minutes because they came ready to play. Pregame Battier’s message to the team was, “Never give up. Never give in. Fight for the full 48.” His teammates listened while the Lakers only managed to wake up at the half.

Game 7 could be interesting. The Lakers should come out and crush them, but this entire series has been a series of should-haves for the Lakers.

And then to the earlier game; Rashard Lewis and Courtney Lee made my night as they finally figured out how successful they can be when they are the aggressors and go to the hoop. The three-point shot was not falling for the Magic and Dwight was unable to score at will so it was the rookie in the facemask who provided a boost in the fourth quarter and who brought the energy that Lewis would pick up on as he led the Magic back from 10 down.

Dwight had 23 points and 22 rebounds which is a monster line, but tell me this: Does the impressiveness of his 22 rebounds lessen when I remind you that Rajon Rondo finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists? Yes, 16 rebounds for the point guard. Yes, this is getting a bit absurd.

It’s also pretty crazy that the Magic won a game where Hedo finished 3-13 and JJ Redick went 0-7 from the floor.

Another guy that struggled yesterday was Ray Allen. Just 2-11, including 0-7 from three, I’m just waiting for him to bust out in Game 7 and save the day.

The Celtics scored just 13 points in the fourth last night. Dwight was just 5-12 from the line. 10 of his rebounds were offensive. The Magic shot just 36% from the floor. There were so many ugly stats in that game, but in the fourth it was fun to watch the Magic claw their way back. When House gave the hard foul on Lee and ended up swiping him across his facemask, I couldn’t help but love how his teammates stood up for him and let House and Co. know it wasn’t okay.

Also enjoyed seeing Rafer’s joy over a jumpball call. He goes over and kisses the ref on the head.

Thought it was telling that after the lashing out at SVG, Dwight felt he needed to speak with two people: his coach and captain Jameer Nelson. Lisa Salters had a nice interview with Nelson during the game (and I’m almost never a fan of sideline interviews), that showed his role as a leader on the team. The C’s are without KG, but going from Jameer to Rafer has got to have it’s effect in terms of leadership on the court, no slight to Rafer.

Okay, its time for me to sleep!

Sunday is going to be crazy. Two Game 7′s. Get jacked. Now, the question is, what the hell are we going to do for the next two nights?

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  • Ken

    Man, the Spurs must really regret trading Scola’s rights for Spanoulis back in the day…

  • Harlem_World

    Rays jumper is going to drop in game 7 and there will be another Marbury sighting. As good as Rondo has been in all other areas of the game, his lack of shooting ability is hurting the C’s big time. If he could just make an open jumper consistently, this would be over already. Everytime they double PP everyone cringes at ‘hit or miss’ Rondo shooting the ball. If he can’t make that shot, someone remind Steph who he is and put him in as the relief guy. You have one pg who can’t shoot and one who won’t shoot. Crazy.

  • http://slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    Great write up Holly. All I can say is thank god for game 7′s in the playoffs – it seems like its been a loooong time since we had a bunch of good close outs like this.

  • AlbertBarr

    I cant believe the Lakers didnt close this out…I am not sure any more, if they advance, that they will be able to handle the Thuggets. If the Rockets take this it will be a huge upset. Artest’s validation as the man? His antics are getting ridiculous but there is no questioning what he brings to the team; heart, intensity, high-level of play.

  • AlbertBarr

    For all of his stats, I am just not scared of rondo if I have decent interior defense.

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    Did anyone else notice Bow wow in the stands of the Orlando game? i had to slow-mo my tv to make sure and when i did, i noticed he was sotting with Chris Brown. And after another angle, i noticed they were both with Juelz Santana!! I thought Orlando was for Old people, not Urban music icons

  • mj23

    rondo has one ugly looking jumper. Almost as ugly as his face. Ray allen needs to give him some lessons.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    My favorite part of the Lakers/Rockets game last night was Mark Jackson basically getting disgusted with the Lakers in the 4th quarter and pulling his support for their chances for a title. Nice of you to join the real world, Mark.

  • http://ballislife.com/ Moose

    GAME SEVEN BABY. Boston has it on their own court.

  • Esco

    It doesn’t lessen Dwight’s performance for me because Dwight is battling Perk & Big Baby and whoever else is in the paint for every one of his rebounds. Rondo, is not.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Mark jackson does nothing but repeat what every mainstream media outlet writes or says.

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    Eboy, speaking of real world… you didnt have to explain Skip’s ref kiss to your kid did you?

  • Logan

    just pissed off with the Lakers…houston played their butts off and the Lakers just gave up after a point…damn

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    I’m not really sure how much I want the Rockets to progress to the Conference Finals. I mean, I’d love for them to progress as a die-hard Houston fan, but as a fan of the game, I can’t truly see them matching up with Denver for 7 games (if it goes that long). And perhaps that would take away from the ‘glory’ of the last 4 teams standing.
    But that being said, nobody thought the Rockets would even get past the Trailblazers (it seems like a long time ago huh?), and certainly not take the Lakers to a game 7 sans Yao AND Deke.
    But… they deserve to progress more than the Lakers do for their post-season efforts.
    Thanks Holly.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    lol @ slick Nick.
    Question- name two second round 2007 picks contributingly heavily in the playoffs at this point.
    You guys really should get this one. First correct answer gets kudos lol.

  • http://slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    Slick Nick – you mean when he gave him head? What’s to explain – it’s all love son

  • AlbertBarr

    @SLick Nick, Hilarious

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    @Hursty: aaron brooks, Carl landry?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Aaron Brooks was actually a late 1st rounder.

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    This Rockets team is much easier to root for without T-Mac and Yao. I want them to win one more game for Dikembe

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Slick Nick- you got one of them.
    Hint- this other player is not on the Houston roster.

  • http://Double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Terrible effort last night. This coasting garbage has to stop. You just gave this same squad a 40 point beating the other night, and now this? Get it together people.

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    Shannon Brown?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    The Lakers have no mabuhls!


    It’s gonna be a stressful sunday, but hopefully the Rockets and the C’s will win.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Just because of the new cover: Remember a couple years ago when the reason Kobe was so clearly better than LeBron was because Kobe had that insatiable killer instinct? Yeah, me neither.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Not who I was thinking of.
    This other guys is also an undersized power forward.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    The Rockets are so damn scrappy. Scola is a beast. Brooks is too quick for the Lakers to do anything with him and the kid has icewater in his veins. Then you have cats like Carl Landy attacking the rim, Chuck “Wagon” Hayes bodying fools, Artest launching ill advised threes and making a few of them, and Battier writing a defensive textbook out there. The Rockets really are a “team” in the truest sense of the word.
    And oh yeah, EFF THE LAKERS!

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Brown was a late first round pick (25th) in 2006 btw.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Don’t forget about Von “Sugar” Wafer.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I think he was 27th actually.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Big Baby!?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I like Von “illa” Wafer, more.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Lol @ Ciolkstar.
    On that note, I’ll be leaving.
    PS- Slick Nick: It was Glen Davis. 35th pick 2007 draft- 4 slots after Landry.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Ok, officially he was 26th. Thanks Wiki.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Wikipedia is wrong then TAD.
    Well done ciolkstar! … Laters…

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Ryan Jones Posted: May.15 at 10:17 am
    Just because of the new cover: Remember a couple years ago when the reason Kobe was so clearly better than LeBron was because Kobe had that insatiable killer instinct? Yeah, me neither.

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    Does Muppet Kobe even belong in the same commercial anymore?

  • http://www.ericgordon.com nate the great

    i think lakers will win, although i want houston to win.
    and i want the celtics to win, although i think magic will.
    everything i hope for never comes true in the nba.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    TADOne Posted: May.15 at 10:31 am
    Ryan Jones Posted: May.15 at 10:17 am
    Just because of the new cover: Remember a couple years ago when the reason Kobe was so clearly better than LeBron was because Kobe had that insatiable killer instinct? Yeah, me neither.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I like how we are essentially re-tweeting Jones here on SLAMonline.

  • http://lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    Holly MacKenzie Posted: May.15 at 11:42 am
    I like how we are essentially re-tweeting Jones here on SLAMonline.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Show a man to hustle, and he’ll hustle for a game. Shoot a man in the leg, and he’ll hustle for a lifetime.

  • http://www.showmeyourwits.com showmeyourwits

    IMO, here’s what happened: Rockets come out hot, Kobe feels he has to set the tone and starts forcing things, rest of team follows his lead, 21-3 and game over. That’s the kind of thing that can happen on the road but the Lakers are flirting with disaster here

  • Michael

    I told everyone the Rockets were a horrible matchup for the Lakers without Yao. They still play defense and they can get out in transition and run it down the Lakers throat.

  • Michael

    Blame Kobe all you want. He’s not the reason they lost yesterday. They lost becaue of Pau and Phil. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an emptier double doubele ever. Pau was awful on defense but evwen worse he was punked on offense. The Lakers were force fedding him the ball from the 2nd quarter on and he kept passing the ball out. You mean to tell me he can’t handle being double teamed by two guys who are each a half foot shorter than he is. Just awful

    Phil’s rotations were awful as well. Kobe and Bynum played excellent in the third quarter, brought them all the way back to within two points, and then he takes Bynum out sepite the fact that he was owning th glass and had shut down the lane. Then the idiot takes out Kobe for sasha to start the 4th. It was fitting that when he finally tried to put Kobe back in the game, that the Lakers bricked layups on two straight posessions only to have Artest drain a three with Kobe waiting on the sideline.

  • truthteller

    Everybody relax! Let’s not forget last year the Celtics went through the same grind against the hawks, cavs and detroit before winning the whole thing. L.A. will come through. Just watch!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    truth teller…the hawks werent missing jj and smith, cleveland wasnt missin lebron, and the pistons werent missing their top guys either..not the same thing..

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    actually Landry stuffed one on Lumberpau & Odom while Kobs was waiting to be subbed in. His disgusted expression was better than a mastercard ad: priceless. Scola basically decided to play the same way he did against Team Redeem in Beijing… Unstoppable due to fantastic footwork. The double spinmove on Lamar was just filthy. And later he put one spin on Pau too, just to be on the safe side. School was in session.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Kyle Lowry is quite fearless. Went baseline left to right THREE times on strong drives and was snuffed all 3 times. Not one of the rejections looked clean.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    If Scola got a haircut, I’d really like that guy a ton!

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    Anton came through with another gem.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Eboy, I think companies might even approach Scola for marketing opportunities if he cleaned up a bit. Then again, if you have that hair at 30, you might as well let everyone know.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Luis can’t cut those locks, guys. Trademark.

  • http://www.Slamonline.com Adam Sweeney

    The Rockets are easier to cheer for without Yao? Hmm. What exactly is there to dislike about him? McGrady I get, but Yao? Not so sure about that.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    hey, where are the James the baller’s of the world today?

  • Jacob

    aaron brooks (FROM SEATTLE!!!!) is dominating this series, if the rockets win game 7, its most likely going to be because of him

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Scola was straight beasting last night. He knows Pau can’t f*ck with him. And Aaron Brooks is just on some totally other isht right now. The Rockets are in fact infintely more likeable without Yao and Tmac (who are making a combined 40+ mill this season) which in a way validates some of those Morey “moneyball” theories in the NYT mag article that I so thoroughly bashed a couple months back.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    i believe these guys mean with tmac houston is ok, with yao they are likeable, without either they’re more likeable..

  • Ted Dong

    LET’S GO ROCKETS !!!!!!!!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ ciolkstar: I love the Rockets, but how are Yao is the man, too. You can’t say they’re more likeable without Yao. T-Mac probably, but Yao is a Rocket, down to the core. Just look at the way he’s on the sides cheering, how he’d do anything just to get back out there for his teammates. That’s heart, that’s soul, that’s “likeable”.
    The Rockets are just plain awesome, simple as that.
    LET’S GO ROCKETS !!!!!!!!

  • http://jakeandamir.com tealish

    @Adam: Likeable in the sense that they go from huge underdogs to grossly massive underdogs. Nothing about Yao personally, I’m guessing.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    that was awesome about the whole, ‘aaron brooks isn’t a player because of his height’ debacle – nice work!? Must have been an NBA referee? ..”whoa hold up there young man you cant sign into the game..??!”

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Dacre, it was prob a security guard in LA that didnt know who brooks was, can’t blame him though since the lakers didnt even know who the rockets were either..

  • vic

    People can just dismiss the rockets as just being lucky, or that the lakers had off games in games 4 and 6, but these were not close games. The lakers were simply outplayed in both of these games. Phil Jackson’s attitude of these two games as being unconcerned, or not being embarrassed is either just an act, or he is not nearly as smart as we think he is. If the rockets play on Sunday, as they did in games 4 and 6, the Lakers cannot just turn it up a notch and expect an automatic victory. Anyone who truly understands the game of basketball knows that game 7 could go to either team, and the rockets always seem to shine when pushed into a corner, so the lakers should not assume that they will close out this series on sunday without a fight. Should be a good game.

  • vegee

    good point vic. games 4 and 6 weren’t close. If this turns out to be a dogfight, then expect the rockets to win. Except Kobe and Pau, none of the lakers are very good. i won’t be surprised if they choke.

  • BostonBaller

    I like Yao, he is indeed ligit. With him I thought they had a chance to advance to the next round if Kobe did not impose his will. I wouldn’t totally hate seeing the Rockets in the Finals. If the Cavs some how make it to the finals I’d like to see Kobe there too or a James Anthony showdown. Too bad Boston will get to the ECL and Finals. Don’t beat me up too much folks. lol