Going down 1-0 in a seven game series may not be ideal but it is not a big deal. On the other hand, 2-0 would make it a very steep mountain to climb.
If the Lakers are going to even this series it is going to take a team effort, not a “Kobecentric” game. Nomuskles rewatched game one, closely watching Kobe’s shots, and had these observations:
I have some bad news when it comes to Kobe and his offense against boston’s defense. Their defenders, one on one, did a very good job staying in front and forcing him to be a jump shooter. Once he went up for the jump shot, he had a hand in his face way more often than not. I was one of those who felt Kobe missed a few good looks but Kobe only missed two shots that I would consider pretty good looks and both of them were threes (1:38 left in the 1st quarter wide open on the left side and 0:32 left in the 3rd quarter over Rondo). The rest of his misses were contested pretty closely, usually someone had a hand a few inches away from the ball on release. And by usually I mean, of the 26 shots he took, I considered 3 of them to be moderately contested, 2 were not contested at all, and the rest, a whopping 21 of them were contested closely.
The Celtics played off Kobe, taking away the lanes, getting help when he committed to his drive and they did not bite on his pump fakes. The Lakers need to get Kobe going and in the paint, so expect him to be posted up some.
We don’t need Phil Jackson’s whistle to alert us to the other things the Lakers need to do — rebound, get out and run, play through the physicality, get better play from the bench mob and Lamar Odom, and use quick passes and ball movement to get open looks. If you want to know more, just re-read the last couple of posts and comments where we break it down in detail. The good news for Lakers fans is we know this team can do that, they are a cohesive team (unlike some of Phil Jackson’s teams in Chicago).
What adjustments are the Celtics going to make? Mike Moreau of Scouts Inc. has some ideas:
The biggest adjustment Boston will have to make for Game 2 — which they made in the second half of Game 1 — is how to defend the slips and rolls of Pau Gasol. With the Celtics hedging hard on ball screens, Gasol found some easy baskets in the first half when he caught his man cheating on the high side. In Game 2, look for Boston to rotate its baseline defenders further up the floor to cut off that path — as it did when Garnett met Gasol at the rim in the fourth quarter and blocked his shot. Boston will also commit its help later in the action — staying on Gasol’s bottom hip as long as possible. This could allow the Lakers’ ball handlers more chances to turn the corner in Game 2.
With the Lakers sinking and many times switching on ball screens in Game 1, look for Boston to put Allen and Pierce in more ball screen action in Game 2, to take advantage of the momentary lack of pressure or to go at the mismatched defender. This gives the Celtics’ best scorers a midrange jump shot with little pressure, and also more opportunities for Boston to punish the Lakers for the switch. Pierce was able to do this in the fourth quarter of Game 1, when he posted and scored over Derek Fisher.
Be sure to clink that link above to get David Thorpe’s game thoughts as well. Then there is the thoughts of Jeff and the people at Celtics Blog, which are always worth checking out.
This will be my last post for a week, Monday morning my wife and I will be off to the hospital to have daughter number three. However, this site will keep running, and at a Nuggets-like pace (and with way more passion than said Nuggets). Some of the big names from around here will be running the site (and managing the comments). Treat them with respect, I know you’ll love their work. I’ll be watching and you’ll hear from me in week. Enjoy the finals and Go Lakers.