With five seconds left in Game One of the Western Conference finals and the Lakers leading 105-102, it was decision time for Phil Jackson. Throughout his tenure as Lakers coach, his refusal to foul in these situations has led to two things: 1) Several losses which could have been avoided 2) Dave Smith nearly having a stroke as I cursed the Zenmaster….
Phil’s stubborn refusal to not only foul, but also not guard the three-point line, was inexplicable….
So even though the situation obviously called for a foul, I held my breath as the Nuggets inbounded the ball. Visions of Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith knocking down a three to force overtime began to haunt me….
As the camera showed the Lakers coaching staff on their feet before the ball was inbounded, I was almost hysterical as I screamed at Phil to foul….
With Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy telling the television audience the Lakers had to foul, Denver inbounded the ball to Smith. As soon as he crossed half court, with three seconds remaining, Derek Fisher intentionally fouled him, sending J.R. to the line and me to the phone to call 911….
Finally, after years of stupidity, Big Chief Triangle put his ego aside and made the right play….
Like clockwork, Smith made the first, missed the second intentionally and Kobe Bryant grabbed the rebound and sealed the win….
Will Phil learn from this and employ the foul from now on? God, let’s hope so….
Two things I learned from this game: 1) The Nuggets outplayed the Lakers and should have won 2) Carmelo Anthony has blossomed into a superstar….
All Melo did was shoot 14-20, score 39 points and play the best defense of his career….
Alas, it wasn’t enough….
The game’s greatest closer, Bryant, took over down the stretch, scoring 18 of his game high 40 points….
Good thing, too, because his teammates weren’t much help….
Unfortunately, Lamar Odom was once again a no show in a big game against a good team; and they’re going to have trouble winning this series if he doesn’t play better than that….
As for Pao Gasol, he produced 13 points and 14 rebounds; but he has to shoort more than nine times. Both the coaching staff and his teammates need to get him the ball in the post and let him dominate….
On the other end, however, Gasol wasn’t very good; especially in the first half. Time and again, he left his man for unnecessary double teams, freeing Nene for uncontested dunks. True, Andrew Bynum was always a step late rotating, but Gasol needs to stay on his man and forget about doubling guys 25 feet from the hoop….
Can someone explain to me why Sasha Vujacic is playing so much?….
Not only is his jump shot on vacation, he’s also getting beat on defense and making bonehead plays….
Jackson’s love affair with Sasha and Luke Walton is inexplicable….
This has to be a gut wrenching loss for Denver, because this was the game they needed to win. With the Lakers coming off a tough seven game series and fatigued with only one day’s rest, this was the time for Denver to gain an advantage….
They outplayed the Lakers most of the game, but didn’t make plays when they needed to amd might have lost the series last night….
Sure, Denver is a good team and still could win, but I still like the Lakers in five….
Keep fouling, Phil, and check your ego at the door….