I woke up early just to watch this game and when I found out that Joey Crawford will officiate this game, I honestly thought that his history with the Spurs would be sensationalized and I was right. I expected the Lakers to bounce back honestly and now let's go to the thoughts shall we?

The Lakers grabbed an early lead in the first quarter. The Lakers simply were grabbing offensive rebounds and the help that Kobe Bryant simply needed was present. Luke Walton struggled though in the first quarter but picked it up by the second quarter. The thing that made me worried for the Lakers was that both Fisher and Odom, good stabilizers of the Laker offense, got into foul trouble early. But suddenly, Vladimir Radmanovic simply was the "savior" of some sorts for the Lakers in the first quarter.

The Lakers had 14 or so second chance points but the Spurs hung in tough thanks to the turnovers of the Lakers. The Spurs took two timeouts in the 1st Quarter alone. Gregg Poppovich was obviously furious at the lack of focus by his Spurs. Manu Ginobili struggled yet again. Once he struggles, the Spurs will have a tough time winning but it was a good thing for the Spurs that Brent Barry came alive off the bench. Brent scored 23 big points and was a part of the crucial final play down the stretch of the game.

The Spurs actually had chances to win this game but they simply could not make that momentum-changing shot. Robert Horry is struggling big time to tell you frankly. What is amazing though is that the Spurs did not allow Kobe Bryant to take a single free throw. Yes, you saw it right. Kobe did not attempt any free throw in the whole game. Gregg Poppovich's plan of making Kobe work hard for his points was successful but the difference here was Kobe got the necessary help he desperately wanted.

Let us talk about the "Big Three" of each team now. For the Lakers, their "Big Three" would be Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom. Kobe had 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Gasol had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. Odom certainly bounced back after a shaky Game 3 with 16 points while collecting 9 rebounds as well. Overall, the Laker "Big Three" was exceptional. For the "Big Three" of the Spurs, it would be Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Duncan had another monster outing with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Parker meanwhile had 23 points and dished out 9 assists. Manu Ginobili had 7 points and 6 assists. Duncan and Parker did their part but Ginobili somehow did not. You cannot blame him though. He is not 100% and his injuries are simply affecting his game.

About the final play involving Brent Barry and Derek Fisher this time. Brent Barry pump faked and this made Fisher jump and landed on Barry. There was contact no doubt but Joey Crawford did not call it. I honestly thought that a whistle will be blown but fortunately (or unfortunately. It depends on how you look at things), no whistle was blown and the Lakers win 93-91. They now take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

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I really think that this game was for the Spurs all along. Tony Parker just showed his greatness. He penetrated the paint at his will and made those teardrop shots. Tim Duncan had a monster outing with 22 points AND 21 rebounds. The Lakers were just not making shots in this one.

Kobe Bryant had a tough night. Bruce Bowen's defense simply made Kobe a quiet contributor for this one. Manu Ginobili's shots were falling. Healthy or not, this Argentine can still score. Brent Barry, wow. He made clutch three point bombs on this one. Fabricio Oberto's game, though not that explosive, he played well on this one. Defending the bigs of the Lakers, Oberto simply did his part in helping Duncan conserve energy for the offense.

There is simply a lot to rave about the way the Spurs won this game. They controlled the pace of the game, much to the chagrin of Phil Jackson. Tony Parker simply roamed around the Laker defense. Manu Ginobili made his shots. Michael Finley made shots. It was a total team effort by the defending champions.

For the Lakers, they simply played like on cruise control. They did not play with hunger. Derek Fisher simply was not into this game at all. He was shut down by the Spurs defense. He also got a technical foul. Probably, a sign of frustration. This is not how the Lakers must play. The triangle offense did not work into fruition on this night. Kobe Bryant could not get away from Bruce Bowen's defense as well. Heck, he only got to the foul line once. That is a big difference from the Utah series wherein he got to the line for 16 times a game. Lamar Odom . . . hmm, this was not his night. He fell into the trap that the Spurs defense created. He missed some layups as well.

The bench was the huge factor of this one. The Laker bench only scored 21 of the 84 Laker points. That is not the production expected from these guys. Sasha Vujacic, a.k.a "The Machine", did not make his shots. Only Jordan Farmar was the bright spot for the Laker bench.

For the Spurs' bench, it is very different story. Manu Ginobili led the bench with his 30 big points. He scored big time. I firmly believe that the Spurs feed on Manu's game. If Manu doesn't score, then the Spurs will always have a difficulty in winning games. Take note at Game 1, Manu was simply not Manu there. See the huge difference? That is how important Manu Ginobili is for the San Antonio Spurs. Overall, the Spurs bench scored 41 out of the 103 Spurs points. Again, as I have said, it was a total team effort.

For the Lakers to win Game 4, Lamar Odom has to play like he did against the Jazz. The bench has to play solid all the time and somehow, Kobe must blow by Bruce Bowen. The Spurs won this one but I still see the Lakers winning in 6.

Series now 2-1, still in the Lakers' favor.

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"I get knocked down but I get up again! You are never going to keep me down!"
-Tubthumping by Chumbawamba

So yeah, this freaking connection is a pain in the butt. Seriously, everything loads slowly. Yahoo! Messenger just disconnects every 3 minutes or so. The iPod has been a successful boredom remover so far.

BTW, this is old news for some but my letter to the Editor was featured in the April issue of Playground, a gaming magazine here in the Philippines. You may have noticed that I used a Verdana font for the song lyrics and then the Georgia font for the blog entry itself. What do you think about this not-so-major change here in my blog? I will also not use the drop caps for this entry so that I could see if having no drop caps for an entry will actually be better for this blog.

What else has happened this week? Hmm, I am officially a catechist now. That's one. Second, hmm, the Lakers won resoundingly in Game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs. Third, Avram Grant was fired by Chelsea after the team did not win any silverware this season.

I am starting to hate Fall Out Boy now. I can label them as "mainstream whores". I give credit to my friends, Jzan and Gio for saying those terms. Seriously, Fall Out Boy was awesome when they were still independent. Suddenly, they gained mainstream attention. And then, they signed a contract with a record label. Now, their music is like . . . crap. Seriously, Pete Wentz is not really a good bassist.

One freaking online list even said that Pete Wentz ranks higher than better bassists such as Adam Clayton. That is just like saying Fall Out Boy can beat any band at any time. I will share the link of that site once I found it in my browser's history.

I only have one week or so then it's back to school. Time flies so fast. I don't wanna enter school yet. I will meet those people again . . . the people that I loathe so much to be honest. But I do hope for the best.

Time to burn some time on some things for now. Bye

"Pissing the night away. Pissing the night away."

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For a change, I decided to use the Georgia font instead of Trebuchet. Well, I just changed the background of this blog site with some blue background again. The difference here is that the blog is more readable now in my opinion.

Manchester United are the new Champions League champions! Edwin Van der Sar was the man. Well, it would have been Chelsea's match if not for the now infamous slip of John Terry. Seriously though, even though that I am a Manchester United fan, I feel for Terry. It was agonizing to watch seriously.

The Los Angeles Lakers won 85-89 against the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs in a thrilling game one of their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series. I honestly thought that the Lakers will lose this one once the Spurs led by 20 midway in the 3rd quarter until the MVP, Kobe Bryant heated up and started to take over the game. Well done L.A. I seriously hope that it will be L.A vs the Celts in the NBA Finals.

So now, I am done with my entry. Boredom has attacked me lately and heck, somehow, I managed to win over it.

This would be short. I am just getting the hang of blogging again.

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L . . . L . . . L!

I got tagged by Kat so I have to do this entry. This entry would feature my top 10 list about things that start with the letter L! So let's get the ball rolling!

Jio's Top 10 List with words starting with letter "L":

1. Low
That song that sucks big time. No offense meant here.
2. Linkin Park
One of my favorite bands ever.
3. Love
It makes the world go round! That sounds cheesy!
4. Losing
I hate losing period.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
My favorite NBA team.
6. Luck
I simply need it in my life. No elaborations will be given.
7. Lost
I like this TV show. Sadly, I am lost on the plot nowadays thanks to me missing lots of episodes.
8. Late night computer sessions
They are fun and they ease my boredom
9. Lord
He is the Almighty One and we must respect Him.
10. Life
I am lucky to have one and be alive.

This is it!

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Again, some stories first before the analysis.

The Orlando Magic made a lot of offseason noise. They thought that Billy Donovan, the current head coach of the Florida Gators in the NCAA, would be their coach. They hired him and after 24 hours, he resigned. They went next to Stan Van Gundy. Stan Van Gundy was about to sign with the Sacrament Kings until he received the offer from the Magic and subsequently signed the Magic offer. Then, they pulled off one of the biggest sign-and-trade deals by acquiring Rashard Lewis from the Sonics. Now, after beating the Raptors in 5 games, will they now be able to upset the Pistons?

The Detroit Pistons meanwhile, after losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, retained much of its core but drafted two talented guards in the name of Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo. They also signed Jarvis Hayes during the offseason. With Flip Saunders still calling the shots, they are still a formidable team. However, one issue for them is that can they really focus on this series? Look at Game 1 against Philadelphia, they lost thanks to a massive lack of focus. Will they resoundingly beat the 76ers?

This is definitely one of the weakest points of the Orlando Magic. Jameer Nelson may be fast but he is not that talented yet to lead this team. Carlos Arroyo can lead this team but his footwork is a big issue. Keyon Dooling probably will share some time with Maurice Evans at the two spot to utilize his speed and athleticism. My question though is why is J.J Redick not being used that often? The guy is great. He can open up the floor with his perimeter shooting yet he doesn't have playing time?

One of the best backcourts in the league. You have a true leader in Billups. You have an energy guy who finds screens ala Reggie Miller in Hamilton. Then there are the youngsters namely Stuckey and Afflalo. Then there is Jarvis Hayes who can score tons of points if he wants to. Add also Lindsey Hunter, a veteran who has tons of playoff experience. Then there is also Juan Dixon, acquired in a trade with the Raptors.

ADVANTAGE: Detroit - Billups is too experienced and too smart for the young Magic team

Dwight Howard is the man for Orlando! However, if the season is to be based, he struggled against Detroit. Well, Turkoglu can help this team. He has been consistent and he deserves the Most Improved Player award. Lewis has to prove though that he is not a flop in this team. In my opinion, he can take on Rasheed Wallace or McDyess anytime. Dwight Howard has to be dominant if they really want to have a chance against the Pistons. Adonal Foyle might get some minutes but he has to be solid enough to fill in for Howard.

The Pistons have one of the most dominating frontcourts. They have Rasheed Wallace who can spread the floor with his outside game. Then there is McDyess, one of the most durable forwards ever. Then, there is Tayshaun Prince, one who defends the best scorer of each team. His arm length is really impressive. Remember that block on Reggie Miller before? That was impressive. Then the bench of the frontcourt is also impressive. They have Walter Hermann, an Argentine who can make three point bombs. Then there are the youngsters comprising of Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell, who provide energy to the team. Then, there is Theo Ratliff, one of the best shot blockers in the game.

ADVANTAGE: Detroit - Too deep.

Detroit all has the ingredients to beat this Magic squad. The Magic however can win a game or two. Still, Detroit is just too balanced. The Magic bench lacks depth. This would be a tight contest but I see Detroit winning in 5.

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First things first. Let's do the some story first before I analyze the match-ups.

The Hornets, a team that was predicted to not go into the playoffs in the first place are now making heads turn unto them as they posted the second best record in the powerful Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers. Led by an MVP candidate named Chris Paul, the Hornets is now a wonderful franchise with a huge talent upside. Coach Byron Scott, who won the Coach of the Year Award this year, has obviously been successful in rebuilding this franchise after it traded Baron Davis and drafted Chris Paul.

The San Antonio Spurs are obviously the defending champs. They have the best Big 3 in my opinion. They have Tim Duncan, one of the best Power Forwards in NBA History. They have Manu Ginobili, one of the best Sixth Men slash Starter in the league. Then, there is Tony Parker, the Frenchman who killed Steve Nash in the first round with his speed. Led by one of the elite coaches in the NBA in the name of Gregg Poppovich, the Spurs are absolutely one of the title contenders this playoffs.

Now some analysis!

Chris Paul versus Tony Parker would be the bomb absolutely. Ginobili can dominate Mo Peterson in my opinion with his strength and ability. The backcourt of the Spurs mainly has experience(Stoudemire, Vaughn), speed(Parker), finesse(Ginobili) and perimeter marksmanship(Barry).

One thing that is going for the Hornets is that Chris Paul is hot. Mo Pete can torch up some threes when he is on fire. The backcourt depth of New Orleans cannot be questioned. They have Pargo who is deadly. They also have Bonzi Wells, acquired in the Bobby Jackson trade. Then there is Mike James, who can score a lot when he feels to.

ADVANTAGE: Spurs - Ginobili is the X-Factor

The Spurs made one of the worthwhile trades by acquiring Kurt Thomas. Tim Duncan is still good as ever. Bruce Bowen probably will take a shot at defending Paul who is faster than Steve Nash.

The Hornets have Tyson Chandler, one of the best rebounders this season. Then, there is David West, the guy who basically toyed with Dirk Nowitzki by touching Dirk's cheek. Then, there is Peja Stojakovic, one of the best shooters of the game in my opinion. About the bench of the frontcourt, there is Hilton Armstrong, the guy who provides energy.

ADVANTAGE: Tie - Both have formiddable frontcourts in my opinion.

In terms of experience, the Spurs shine. In coaching, Spurs still shine. Pop has won more titles than Scott. And Scott really does not belong to the elite yet with that Coach of the Year Award.

I believe the Spurs will be too much for the Hornets. Spurs in 6.

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