On Tap: The Boston Celtics

Kurt —  March 20, 2006

Not the usual format today, but that’s due to other stuff crowding blogging time.

Collapse: First, let’s talk — as some of you have been doing in the comments below — about that loss to Cleveland. I certainly didn’t love that last shot, but the problem was that it ever came down to that last shot.

After a good start to the fourth quarter that kept the Lakers up comfortably in the double digits, things went south when the Cavs subbed back in Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Flip Murray and Phil Jackson countered with Kwame Brown, taking out Bynum. Bynum actually led the Lakers in +/- at +13 for the game, but that was because he only played a few minutes against Ilgauskas (and was -3 in that stint). Still, I might have given him another chance as Brown (-16 for the game) was not doing much better.

When the Cav’s starters came back in rested, the Lakers had no way to match that energy. Kobe never left the court in the second half, and Odom did for less than a minute, while they both put up good numbers for the game they couldn’t drive the offense late. The Lakers shot 29% in the fourth quarter, 33% in the third. Meanwhile, on the other end, the Cavs shot 56% in the fourth. The Lakers lacked the energy to get key stops (as they had earlier in the game) or consistently hit key shots. Cleveland is not a very deep team, but the Lakers are even thinner and it showed.

Now, the last shot — yes, ideally he should have passed it. But Kobe only tends to pass those shots when he gets penetration — remember the end of the New Jersey game, with about 30 seconds to go Kobe got inside then hit Smush for the open three. When he can’t get inside he wants to elevate and shoot. Yes, he should look for the open guy, but the time has come for Phil to run Kobe as a decoy out of this late play and let Odom take the last shot. Or someone else.

It has come to typify the Lakers’ season, needing Kobe to hit a three-point fadeaway over two or three defenders to get the win.

The Celtics again: Boston is 3.5 back in the playoff chase and have about a 6.1% chance of making the playoffs. Jeff at Celtics Blog is trying to pump up the base, but they need to go on run if they are going to make it.

Paul Pierce is doing his part, in the last 10 games he is shooting 52.3% (eFG%) with a true shooting percentage of 57.9% (think of TS% this way: if you scored two points every time you shot the ball, your TS% would be 100%. The league average is closer to 52%.). Old Laker nemesis Wally Szczerbiak and the less known but good Ryan Gomes have been playing well of late as well.

When these two played in February it was an entertaining game, but the Lakers lost a close one at the end. Shocking, I know. Pierce had 39 but you know he was going to get his, the damage came from the supporting cast. Delonte West had 19 and was a team-best +11, Gomes also had 19.

Reason I think the Lakes can win: Just one really, they are 34-34. Every time they fall to .500 they find a way to win and stay above the mark.

Kurt

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15 responses to On Tap: The Boston Celtics

  1. WorthyTomahawk March 20, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    Phil doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of the double & triple teaming of Kobe.

    Last ten games:
    – Kobe: TS%=52%
    – Rest of Team (incl bench): TS%=58%

    Kobe has carried the team thru the first half of the season and opponents are keyed on doubling him. Lakers should use that more to create plays for Odom & Smush who are shooting lights out.

    Celtics game is a back to back for both teams, so we’ll see who is more tired.

  2. Good stuff Worthy. I meant to mention that both teams were on back to backs, but this preview was kind of slapped together and I forgot. I also have wanted to shot chart a couple games and talk about the results, but haven’t had time.

  3. Don’t just shot chart it. The thing to do as I see it would be to chart it versus execution of the triangle. How often they enter it and how often they score within it. If they are still not executing the triangle then there are 2 ways that could go, either this squad is incapable or they could still get much better with proper execution. If they are already running the offense properly, then this is likely the max potential of this Laker team for the remainderof the Kwame Brown era.

    Unless the triangle is find Kobe 30′ from the basket with 6 on the shot clock, I dont think the latter is true.

  4. DJ not damon jones March 20, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    the lakers better win this game or else they fall back under .500 which hasn’t happened for a long time. when’s the last time the lakers go on the winning streak? they always win one and drop one. and when u think they’re on the a roll with like 4 wins , they do the opposite. things like this really pisses any laker fan, like me. this thing happened exactly just like last season where they felt confident enough to win but lose at the end. and with kobe healthy and dropping huge numbers, they have to make the playoffs. or it’ll be an embarassment to the team, city and coaching staff. the 81,45s, and 30+s points by kobe will be made fun of later on history if they don’t achieve their goal. and c’mon why can’t kwame pretend it’s his birthday and play the same everyday just like he did against SA?

  5. the lakers haven’t won more then 2 in a row and haven’t lost more then 2 in a row since the ASB.

  6. The problem was: it should not have come down to that last shot!!

    BUT, if you have to take that last shot, who would you want to take it?

    ODOM? Really? He is not a proven pressure cooker.
    His go to shot is a driving left hander, which can not be done in 3 seconds when everyone in the gym knows what you want to do.

    It was unfortunate that it came down to the end. The game should have been over half way through the 4th. But i would not trust anyone else in that situation to catch and create a shot with 3 seconds except Kobe.
    Maybe they could have designed a play where Kobe could get the ball some where else except trapped in the corner by the half court line.

    Oh Well, They will handle Biz tonight, No Question!

    D

  7. If my options are Kobe taking a fade-away three with three defenders on him or dishing to Odom or Smush for an open look, then yes, I’ll take Odom. Kobe is the only one who can create in that spot, but if you can draw the defenders to him someone is going to get an open look.

  8. chris henderson March 20, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    I agree Kurt, Kobe’s an amazing talent, making some shots that are beyond belief, but if I have a choice between Kobe being guarded by 3 guys, or Lamar, or even Smush, or Luke wide open around the arc, I say let the wide open guy have the shot.
    remember that one game, last possession, LO was standing wide open UNDER the hoop, and we did the “give it Kobe for the miracle 3 pt shot”, which failed.
    we have to mix it up more, be less predictable, and when the outside shot isn’t falling, find a way to cut to the hole, we have been living and dying by the outside shot all season!

  9. great win tonite. im not hating, im not trying to point out the negative, but Lamar is playing so well and kobe is so tired right now, i just think Lamar should be getting more than 10 shots to kobes 38. i just heard lamar interviewed after the game and he actually sounds very comfortable, mentioning he really understands the offense now, and it shows. let him shoot more, it will help everyone

  10. Chris your right but we have been living and dying by the outside shot all this year AND LAST YEAR.

  11. Kwame had 5 assists and a fairly efficient 5 of 7 shots!! Maybe he is finding his place in the triangle. Must help that the celts don’t have an inside presence.

  12. notreallyimportant March 21, 2006 at 3:20 am

    Can someone come up with a new phrase for dependence on the 3 ball? I’ve been hearing live by the 3 die by the 3 from commentators so much that its actually starting to grate on my ears.

  13. Treyophilia?

  14. chris henderson March 21, 2006 at 10:24 am

    treyaholics?

  15. five man taichi March 21, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    threeliant?