Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NBA Finals: Game 3 Adjustments

In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers left Ray Allen wide open, and guess what? He made three's. Eight of 'em. Breaking the existing record for most three point makes in an NBA Finals game, previously held by himself, Scottie Pippen and Kenny Smith at 7. People act surprised by the hot shooting of Ray Allen in Game 2, have we all forgotten that Allen is one of the best pure shooters the game of basketball has ever seen? Well, the Lakers sure did.

Once Allen drilled his first long range jumper, Fisher should have been on him like fly's on (you all can finish that one). Why were the Lakers helping off Ray Allen on Kendrick Perkins you ask? I don't know either. I'd rather have Perkins shoot a wide open, point-blank 10 footer, then give Allen an uncontested three. Why were the Lakers losing Ray Allen in transition? Just a complete lack of focus. A guy who is THAT hot, especially Allen, should be denied the ball at all costs. The Lakers allowed him to get easy catches in rhythm, and failed to close out in time to contest the shot.

Despite Allen's seven three's and 27 first half points, the Lakers trailed by just six points at the half. To start the second half, the Lakers came out with a different alertness on the defensive end, especially against Allen. Fisher was able to bust through screens like he always does, and do an effective job of running Ray Allen off the three-point line. The Lakers held Allen to just five second half points, as Allen finished with 32. With all of Los Angeles focusing on Jesus Shuttlesworth, Rajon Rondo was left with a ton of opportunities to create, and he did just that. Rondo finished with a triple double, 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, and the majority of his damage was done in the fourth quarter, the time that the Black Mamba usually strikes.

Kobe Bryant, however, was non-existent in the fourth quarter, due in part to foul trouble (on some absolutely terrible calls). Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were also ghosts throughout the pivotal final 12 minutes. Ron Artest was embarrassing offensively, going just 1-10 from the field, but to Artest's credit, he did a dazzling job on Ru-Paul Pierce on the defensive end, holding Pierce to 10 points on 2-11 shooting.

The key to a Laker victory in Game 3 is Lamar Odom, as always. In the first two games of this series, Odom has more fouls - 10, than points - 9, and he has only grabbed 8 rebounds. We Laker fans know how frustrating Lamar can be, one night he looks like the best all-around player in basketball, and the next night he looks like a Clipper. The Lakers need an engaged game from Lamar on both ends of the floor to have any chance of winning Game 3 in Boston tonight.

I hear a lot of talk about how Phil Jackson should put Kobe Bryant exclusively on Ray Allen for Game 3, but I think that would be a bad move. In game one, Fisher did a pretty decent job on Allen. Allen was in foul trouble, but that was because Kobe was attacking Allen on the other end. Putting Kobe on Allen may have some effects on his ability on the offensive end, putting Kobe on Rondo allows Kobe to play to his defensive strength as a help defender, while getting some rest at the same time. Fisher is one of the best in the NBA at running through screens and drawing offensive fouls on the Celtic bigs, if Kobe is moved to Allen, it takes away Fishers greatest strength on defense.

On offense, I would like to see a lot more mid screen and role with Kobe and Pau. In Game 1, Kobe and Pau were extremely effective with the pinch-post screen and role. When Kobe comes off the Gasol screen, he commands a double team, which allows Gasol to dive hard to the front of the rim. With Kobe's great shooting and passing, the Celtic defense has to pick their poison, give Kobe a wide open 15 footer, or give Gasol the dunk. Also, if Kobe drops the ball into Gasol, Andrew Bynum's defender has to come help which gives Pau Gasol the opening to dish the ball off to Bynum for an easy two.

Defense wins, PERIOD. Play defense, Lakers, you will win.

No comments:

Post a Comment