Game Three Preview

Kurt —  April 26, 2007

The year was 2004, and the Lakers fell down 2-0 to the hot and rolling San Antonio Spurs. It looked bleak. It looked like a Laker team that, back before the season started, most fans thought would walk to an NBA title was going to be eliminated in the conference semifinals.

But the Lakers won two games at home, then went to San Antonio and stole a game on the legendary Derrick Fisher 0.4-second shot. The demoralized Spurs lot game six back at Staples.

It can be done, teams can come back from 2-0 deficits and win a series. We’ve seen it before. (Thanks to commenter Skigi for the reminder.)


Those last three paragraphs are pretty much all the positive energy I’ve got.

I’m not going to get into how those Laker squads were filled with veteran role players that would step up when Kobe (or Shaq) was being doubled (as Jonesonthenba pointed out in the comments and pointed out the Lakers need now). And I’m not going to get into how those were good defensive teams.

There are a lot of reasons this year’s Lakers are not those Lakers. But, as a fan, I’ve got to believe it’s possible on some level. Otherwise I’m just an observer.


Things that need to happen:

1) The Lakers cannot come out demoralized and let the Suns jump out early. Rarely have I been the advocate of Kobe taking over a game in the first quarter, but if Odom cannot get the ball in the post and take it right at Marion early on, Kobe has to step up. And Kobe going for 48 minutes is good with me. But, when the double and triple teams come to Kobe, and they will, somebody else has to hit the big shot.

2) Make Nash the shooter. In the first game the Lakers did a good job of not letting Nash dish off for easy baskets and open threes by his teammates. Not in game two. The Suns adjusted to better isolate him (and Barbosa) plus went to the pick-and-roll — the Lakers know how to defend these things they just have to step out with energy and do it. For 48 minutes. As we’ve said, making Nash score a lot is not ideal, he can score, but it’s better than the alternative.

3) The crowd needs to get the Lakers up and into the game emotionally.

4) Barbosa must be slowed. I’m good with Barkley’s suggestion of knocking him down once or twice. Even if it means a flagrant. But that threat of physical play only matters if you back it up with solid rotations the other times he drives, so he sees a body between him and the basket.