The game started with the Lakers coming out real strong on all aspects of the game. They were making buckets, playing excellent defense, and making all the hustle plays that they were generally not really making throughout the playoffs. I mean, the Lakers had something like 14 second chance points in the first quarter! I think that was probably double what we had in the entire postseason.
Somewhere around the 3 or 4 minute mark we were up by 14 and I felt pretty confident we’d take this game because I didn’t think the Spurs’ moldy oldies could make up a big deficit.
It looks like I counted the Spurs out a little early however. After their poor play in the first-half of the first quarter, they played the Lakers to a virtual standstill for most of the remaining 40 or so minutes since their 14 point deficit. They never were able to take the lead, but they tied it on many occasions and the Lakers never led (if memory serves me correctly) by double digits again.
The Lakers finally pulled away at the end of the fourth quarter and were up seven with a little under a minute left.
Or did they?
After what could arguably be the worst minute of Laker basketball this season, the Spurs scored 5 points in about 20 seconds, played excellent free throw defense on Gasol and got the final shot of the game, and open three, with 2.1 seconds left in the hands of their hottest shooter, Brent Barry.
2.1 seconds left. As Barry squares up for a three, all of a sudden… out the weak side comes Derek Fisher sailing through the air. Barry ducks and Fisher collides with his backside. No call. Barry takes a dribble and shoots. The balls clanks off the backboard. The Lakers win the game.
This no call pretty much dominated all the post-game commentary and as Marv Albert predicted, will most likely dominate discussion for the next 48 hours.
Just for funsies, here are my takes on the no call…
Do I think it was a foul?
Do I think it was a good no call?
Do I think it’s a good no call because I’m a Laker fan?
Well there you have it.
The Michael Jordan Award for MVP of the Game: Kobe Bryant. This was probably the most Kobe dominated game of the post season (yes, even more Kobe dominated than game 2 of the Nuggets series) Did Kobe make a lot of mistakes? Yes. Did he play a little too selfishly? Yes. Did the Lakers win? Yes. Today the Lakers lived and died with their superstar. Today they lived.
The Dominique Wilkins Award For Highlight of the Game: Kobe’s reverse two handed dunk followed by his one handed jam. Reason number 1,322 why Kobe Bryant is The Big Sweetness: even in a crucial series defining Western Conference Finals games, he still finds time to hot dog. Twice. Against the defending champs. The NBA: Where Taking Hot-Dogging the Another Level Happens.
The Vince Carter Award for the Half Man/Half Hearted Performance of the Game: GINOBLI! Remember when it was fashionable to say Ginobli was a better 2 guard than Kobe because if you dissected his per minute PER or something, it wound up being like 0.2 higher than Kobe’s? Didn’t think so.
The Lamar Odom Award for Getting the Same Amount of Points as Rebounds: Pau Gasol had a generally subpar game by his standards. However, by Lamar Odom standards… it was just perfect. With ten points and ten rebounds, he throws in a perfect Lamar.
The Linas Kleiza Award for Random Bench Player Coming Out of Semi Obscurity and Destroying the Lakers: Brent Barry. Remember when this guy was on the Clippers and he won the Slam Dunk Title? Now his career is just about over. I feel old.