Out of Bounds with Jason Riley

I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure this happened right before tip-off:

Stern: Bavetta, can you see?
Bavetta: Not since I kissed Barkley.
Stern: I need you to do something for me again tonight.
Bavetta: Are we in Cleveland?
Stern: No, but don’t worry, I have game 2 covered. Howard will foul out during pregame warm-ups.
Bavetta: Will you release my family?
Stern: After the Finals Dick, after the Finals.
Bavetta: My wife AND my kids!?
Stern: Denver wins tonight, make it happen.
Bavetta: But I can’t see?
Stern: Exactly Dick, that’s why we chose you. You know what to do.
Bavetta: FML.

Only Jeanie Buss saw less of last night’s game than Dick Bavetta. In between twitter updates on her friend annoying Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and Will Ferrell near the Lakers bench, Dick Bavetta was busy staggering around the court pretending like he was not on the Mayflower when it shored up in America for the first time. You know the Lakers were jobbed when Laker-hating ESPN analyst Bill Simmons said, “They (Lakers) blew Game 2 thanks to some typically brutal officiating in a league that’s slowly becoming defined by its typically brutal officiating.”

I think we can all agree that the officiating down the stretch last night was suspect at very best, if not completely appalling. I’d assume we can also agree that Derek Fisher didn’t help things. During what may have been the worst two minute stretch of his career, he missed three “what the hell are you doing” layups, single-handedly killing the Lakers momentum at the end of the 3rd quarter. I love D-Fish, but he pulled a Smush Parker on all of us last night.

Now that we got all the excuses for last night’s loss out of the way, let’s take a look at why we actually lost the game.

After a pair of Kobe free throws with 2:40 to go in the first half, the Lakers were in complete control with a 53-40 lead. To that point, Melo was cold. Denver was lifeless. The crowd was awake. Then, this happened:

K-Mart Dunk.
Kleiza wide-open 3.
Billups wide-open 3.
4 straight free-throws.
Billups layup.

During that Nuggets 14-2 run, the Lakers went 1/5 from the floor and committed three fouls. A 13-point lead all but evaporated, the energy was sucked out of the building and most importantly, the Nuggets made up for an awful first half in just two minutes and some change. The story of game 2 is no different than what we have talked about all season long: The Lakers marked inability to play with a lead.

After 96 games in the books, we can only come to one conclusion: This is who the Lakers are. There is no magical formula or remedy to suddenly reconstruct their DNA. We can analyze and dissect the psychology of it all we want, but here’s the only thing that matters: We need to win seven more games. If the Lakers can find a way to get the job done, history will speak kindly of this Lakers’ team. If not, well…

That’s a column I never intend to write.

Jason Riley is a columnist for the Lakers Nation. In addition to this column, he writes on an array of topics that you can check out by visiting J-Ri.com. You can email him by clicking here, look him up on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter for in-game coverage.

  • JFK-analysis-at-TLN

    we might blame the refs and Fish and all the other things that went wrong for us during those last two minutes of the game..
    life is not always fair..we stole game 1 and we got robbed of game 2..Karma or whatever i don’t care…..
    the better team will win in a seven game series….and as for this home court advantage crap-i don’t believe in it too much (unless u r an inexperienced team)…but i saw a denver team that could have left LA with 2 games in hand….it’s 1-1 and where do we go from here?
    We use Andrew Bynum more- he was 4-8 from the field and only played 18 mins….he is the only big guy with the strength to back down the NUGGS defenders.-Pau is too WEAK and not quick enough to go around K-mart……
    I was extremely upset after the game last night and i wanted to write something but instead i sat down and thought about what just happened- i then watch the post game press conference…
    did PJ or Kobe seemed worried? i had to ask myself why i felt like crap and they were calm?

    i guess we have 5 games to see what happens-i believe that we will win- and none of this will matter once that happens…i’m tired of being mad..i’m just gonna watch and have faith i’m my team and in the GOAT- KOBEEEEEEEEE

  • BlameItOnTheRefs

    I hate it when people say “yeah the refs were terrible, but they still should have played through it and won.” Thats all I’ve heard on the radio today… If not for the refs, the Lakers could have easily won that game, or at least sent it to overtime. But the refs practically HANDED the game to the Nuggets in the closing minutes. A turnover when there should have been a kick ball called was a key failure by the refs down the stretch. And then the illegal pass through the jump ball followed by a trip and the NUGGETS get to shoot free throws because the Lakers were forced to foul them. If they called that trip then Ariza gets 2 free throws to try to tie the game. But instead the refs GIVE the Nuggets a chance to go up by 4 when the Lakers are forced to foul them. Its a joke. Sometimes the refs are so afraid of “deciding” the game that they swallow the whistle, but that just ends up being what decides the game anyway… Disgusting

  • Fakers

    Blame it on the refs, you sound like a moron. If you want to blame it on anything blame that whole mess on Kobe trying to break a double team and losing the ball. And if you want to complain about refs, CB should not have been taking that jump anyways, Nene was the one holding onto the ball. AND Kobe gets a call anytime someone breathes on him. I wish the nuggets would just foul him hard because he gets a call no matter what. Then he plays defense like hes in a Vail Valley hotel room with the same result, off free……

  • josh

    What a bunch of hog-wash.
    Kobe DOESN”T get the calls anymore and he is practically raped by 3 defenders every time he gets inside the 3-point line.
    The Lakers made some mistakes in the fourth quarter, yes … but the refs made DAMN sure that the game went to the Nuggets. It’s blatantly obvious and the fact that there were 6 blown calls, all against us in the last 2 minutes only proves the fact that “what’s good for business is good for the NBA”

    Bottom line, Lakers lost the game for themselves by playing sloppy at the end of the 2nd quarter and by slipping in the fourth … BUT we could easily have tied the game or won in the final minute of play if the refs did their jobs. Are you telling me that nobody in black and white saw the illegal jump ball and the foul after that?? Nobody?? please … these guys are turning the NBA into a joke.

  • Rob

    Are you freakin’ kidding me? The refs blew calls on both sides. All you Fakers fans need to get into reality and realize that the Lakers get more calls that go there way then any team in the league. Nuggets should have won both games and gone back to Denver up 2-0. Lakers got lucky winning game one. I could also make an argument that the refs screwed Denver in that game. I’m just not a poor sport and choose not to blame the refs, instead I blame the teams play. L.A, there are other sports teams out there that are worth a damn.

  • http://neoshocapital.com Farmabrick

    1-1 is what it is.

    Getting a win in Denver is crucial, not just for the obvious reasons, but because the Lakers need to shatter the Nuggets mind-set, which is one of extreme self-confidence.

    Phil needs to shorten Fish’s minutes and bring Farmar and Brown in more quickly.

    If Bynum wants more minutes, he’s going to have to show more enthusiasm on the court, in addition to pure production. His court persona is too indifferent and lacks obvious intensity.

  • http://www.myspace.com/on3s3qu3nc3 123kid

    everyone has valid points. we cant dwell on what happened last night. we lost so end of story. whether people say oh man get rid of this team, man eff the refs, f*ck fish and his ability to make anything, f*ck the bench, and so on, that not goin to solve anything. we arent gonna magically be up 2-0 from that. we are stuck with this team until we end (until we are holding that trophy at the end of the year). bottom line is, we stick with this team when we win and when we lose! f*ck the haters, f*ck the nuggets, f*ck barley and every analysis who jumped the nugget train all of sudden. important thing, keep fighting for our team and keep them in our prayers to go out and win. ya its a total nightmare when we lose, but now its time to steal games over there. the best thing about this team so far is that we are good at adjusting and so far we havent full unleashed our full pontential. lakers will come out tomorrow will knock guy on their ass and if this helps the refs will know the lakers are the away team this time and give us the calls we deserve.

  • soysauce24

    let me talk about game 2…………..o i remember, it was the game played between the Refs and the lakers.

  • lakers1fan

    First of all I would like to say…. f u c k all the L8KRS haters commenting in this LAKERNATION site! Secondly, I think as a l8kr fan I am worried (my own suggestion) because the L8krs are not playing tough ball. Lamar, Farmar, Gasol, Bynum, fisher, and luke are either not playing smart ball or are M.I.A during the game! The only ones I see playing smart, tough, ball with heart and passion are, yes…KOBE, ARIZA, and at times BROWN<<< only, and honestly that’s a shame! However, the good thing is that at least the L8KRS are not a one hit wonder (i.e. boston SuxDicks AKA celtics)I guess you bastards are going to have to wait 20 more years. HA!

  • PGMVP

    all i could say is this is the 2nd straight game that the refs missed a call in the final seconds game 1 was chauncey stepping and game 2 JR Smith running inisde the circle during the jumpball. Yes we did play like crap in the 4th but the fact that they were missing calls also late in the game idk what to say.

  • iamthetie

    I don’t think non-Laker fans understand the thought process that goes through a Laker fan’s head when they realize Dick Bavetta is reffing a Laker game. It might be the same feeling Tim Duncan gets when he sees Joey Crawford, or Nick Van exel back in the 90’s when Steve Javie came into town.

    A fan is gonna complain about calls if they lose, simple as that. We just have a lot more to complain about when Dick Bavetta is anywhere near us.

  • laker fan

    The calls sucked in both games. Here is my theory on it.
    NBA needs all the money they and there fat kids can swallow so they have to see that these series go to 6 or 7 games a peace. I did not bealive this until these last 2 games at Staples. All the fouls you guys mentioned above are all valid ive watched both games 3 times. One call no one has sed anything about (other than the 15 calls on Kobe that were not called) was the flagrant foul that should have been called on Kstink for throwing down Ariza in game 2 where was he playing the ball there? where is our apology from the NBA? (F David Stern that fat fool he is a complete moron) Any way we played like sh/t at the end of the second Quarter that I agree with. Carmelo is a great player but your teams is about to get crushed Nugget fans.
    Lakers in 6

  • http://myspace.com/sonicussj Whatsa

    [Comment ID #72478 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Hey, I agree the refs blew calls on both sides. But the refs made HORRIBLE GAME DECIDING DECISIONS against the Lakers which would have completely change the story of the game.

  • lainok

    the reason they keep making such bad calls is because there is no consequence for them. if they screw up, they don’t get reprimanded at all. the nba really needs to watch some nfl and learn how to handle coaching and instant replay.