Game 5 Thoughts

Kurt —  June 16, 2008

The goal was to get a win. There was no bonus for style points. So, on the most basic of levels, Sunday’s game was a success for the Lakers — there will be a game Tuesday.

The Lakers executed well enough to win, but that is different than executing well. The defense and rotations were unimpressive, but the Lakers were still able to hold the Celtics to an offensive rating of 102.1. The good news is that the Lakers were able to push the pace some (96 possessions) and they got a few easy transition baskets — when Gasol runs he can get mismatches early in the clock. Jordan Farmar attacked the rim like few other Lakers, and we got better games out of Gasol and Odom.

After five games this is what I think has been key and will be come Tuesday night: The Celtics stick to their game plan and what they do, the Lakers go in and out of their plan. The Celtics have some lapses, but for the most part are more true to who they are. They play hard on defense. They find a weakness they think they can exploit on offense (say Pierce covered by Radman) and they go right at it. Every time down.

The Lakers seem to come in and out of focus. I thought Henry from TrueHoop had a great line about the Lakers in his live chat from game five:

Ball movement for the Lakers is like jogging for most people: They do it occasionally, and it makes them happy. Then they go back to not doing it.

Part of that is the ball pressure and good defense of the Celtics takes the Lakers out of their first and sometimes second options. But that’s when things breakdown, and the Lakers end up settling for long jumpers (27 threes in game five is way too many). The Lakers get frustrated and stop attacking the rim, looking for the kick-out first. The list could go on and on.

As we head back to Boston for game six, if the Lakers are to win, they have to stick with the game plan. Do what they do and not get pushed out of it easily — if the Celtics continue to take away Kobe on the strong side then other guys have to step up with crisp weakside action. The Lakers do not have a good matchup for Pierce, but they have to at least play off him some and make him hit a few jumpers rather than just layups. Pierce is too good a player to stop, but they need to slow him. They can, if they stick to their defensive system.

It’s about executing what they want to do.

Two other quick thoughts:

• I hope Ray Allen’s family is okay. He is in our thoughts.

• There has been a lot of questioning of Kobe’s leadership skills and a lot of “He’s no MJ” in the media. And on one level, that is right, he is not MJ and has not played at that level for that long.

But we have mythologized MJ and see him only as the guy who won six finals. His leadership was called into question, just not in the finals.

Remember, for three years before the Bulls won their first title they lost in the playoffs to Detroit and the “bad boy” Pistons, a team that played very good physical defense and took the Bulls out of what they wanted to do. That Chicago team and Jordan needed to learn how to win, they just did it in the conference finals rather than the NBA finals. Jordan took his lumps, but with the passage of time we tend to forget that.

This team and Kobe are on a different path. Their winning it all may or may not happen this year, but they are growing from it. We forget that the Bulls dynasty also had to learn a lot of lessons, but they learned them before the Finals.

Kurt

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72 responses to Game 5 Thoughts

  1. Agree, but the Celtics have let the Lakers “hang around” and that is dangerous because the Lakers have not played one good, complete game in this series, yet they have had a chance to win every game at the end. If they do play a good game now ….

    Off the wall, I think PJ should choose to have the Lakers offense on the basket in front of the Laker bench in the second half. Boston’s defensive guru, TT, is up on every possession shouting out coverage and instructions when the Laker offense is in front of the Celtics bench. You can see Garnett on occasion looking at TT and moving his position in response to the instructions. Why not let the Celtics be on their own a bit more on defense in the second half?

    I like Kobe’s way of looking at the situation like it’s the NCAA Tourney. Now, game 6 is Super Saturday, win and you go to the finals.

  2. I would love to see IraNewble guard Pierce- he can rebound and shoot the three, at least he would be better than Valde- oh yeah and he played in the finals just last year!

  3. Inwit,

    That is a great idea! PJ should do that but he’s too stubborn and old school to make that kind of change. However, I hope he does……..I agree that could make an impact!

    D, echoed those same comments in the last post. It is not to say that Ira is the answer…….but I don’t see how he can do worse than Vlad or Luke. We should insert him when there is like 1 or 2 minutes left in the 1st or 2nd quarter….just to see how effective he is.

    Someone else mentioned this in a previous post, but I think Ariza should be playing Allen, Fish on PG, Kobe on Pierce. I think this is would be an excellent defensive front court and could prevent a lot of drives and open treys.

    I know I’ve been an Ariza-homer all year, but I’ve been saying it since Jan…….this guy is the difference maker on this team. He should be playing 25-30 minutes a game. It is not that he will fill up the stat sheet………but the guy gives MAXIMUM effort all the time. Pair him with Farmar, Kobe, Turiaf, Sasha, LO………that is a ton of energy on the floor. Who knows…..maybe that will inspire LO to be more active.

  4. Yeah, can’t see Phil doing it, he made fun of Jerry Sloan earlier this year for having his offense in front of his own bench in the second half.

  5. The problem with Kobe full time on Pierce is that he will get in foul trouble. PP attacks hard and is as strong or stronger than Kobe, and as good a defender as 24 is he will pick up some fouls. I would love to see more of Ariza but he is just not right yet, not in real game shape. He has great spurts than falls apart (he went in to stop the bleeding during the game 4 disaster and was a quick -9 at the end of the third quarter).

    What the Lakers really need is Bynum as a backup for when PP gets by his man, but that option is not available either.

  6. I fully expect a Boston victory just like game 3, but without the Laker comeback. The Lakers don’t play nearly good enough defense to push this to 7.

    Prediction Game 6.
    Boston 96
    Lakers 81

  7. This Little Pinky June 16, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Why not Odom on Pierce?

  8. 7. If Perkins is on the bench again, I would want to try this. If Perkins is playing we need Odom’s size inside.

  9. What is wrong with banging up Pierce? Throw Vlad, Luke, Ira, Ariza, Kobe at him throughout the game…………make sure he doesn’t get a shot ATTEMPT after a foul. Knock him down when he gets to the hole. I think it’s time for us to make him “earn” his shots…….I think that will wear PP down which will make his legs heavy and his shot flat at the end of the game.

  10. Sorry for the double post but I like what Stu said last night to counter-attack the pick&roll by PP and KG:

    Mix up defensive schemes against Pierce………like they do to Kobe. When PP and KG are about to do their pick&roll, instead of having Pau show and run back to KG…….Pau along with Kobe should just STUN & TRAP Pierce and force him to pick up the ball rather than go back to KG. This is contingent on preventing PP from “splitting” the trap (ala Kobe).

  11. Realist:

    As bad as the Laker defense has been in stretches, Boston is hardly running up Phoenix Suns like scores. The bigger problem is the pace of the game and the offense getting bogged down. If Boston scores 96 like you predict, we have a chance.

  12. I am a diehard Lakers fans and I really want them to win but there achilles heel Is that they don’t play any defense. Pierce was just blowing by Vlad Rad like he was nailed to the floor and the defensive rotation were either slow or non-existant. I don’t thnk the problem Is the scheme, but the lack of lateral quickness on the part of players like Sasha, Vlad, Pau and to a certain extent Fish. And with no shotblocker the opponent has an open late to the bucket. The Lakers regardless of what happens In this series need to make defense a priority next year and if they do they will be holding up the trophy next year because they have the talent they just have to prioritize “D”. I’m sure the team will look back at this series and kick themselves this summer for losing a series I feel they could have easily won because they played no defense. Game 1 5 point lead at half lose the game, game 2 another 3 period lead squandered we don’t even have to discuss game 4 and even last night they played horrible, The C’s were just terrible offensively ( The next time I see KG step up In a big game will be the first and we wanted to trade for this guy? He Is really no different from LO In crunch time. If they want to make history and win this series they are going to have to step there d up period point blank. They have shown they can dominate the Celtics offensively for stretches If only they played d In this series we would at the very least be 3-2 us think about It. Just my 2 cents

  13. What has killed me most about Pierce is that we can’t do anything right on defense. I mean, when Rad or Walton are on Pierce they are letting him drive the direction that is opposite their help. This is happening in iso and P&R sets. This is very similar to what we allowed Deron Williams to do to us in the Utah series. We can not allow Pierce to go the opposite direction of where the help is. But wait, there’s more. When Kobe is on Pierce, he’s doing a better job of funneling Pierce to where the help is (or making him use the screen), but the Big who is showing/helping on the P&R is not doing his job very well of slowing Pierce for Kobe to recover or making Pierce give up the ball. If we can clean this up some, we’d do a much better job on Pierce. And as Kurt said, making Pierce more of a jumpshooter and laying off him some could cure some of this. But when he’s agressive, we need to make sure we push him to where the help is and then do a good job with the help and make Pierce either shoot a jumper or give up the ball.

  14. I’d like to see Mbenga get a shot at contolling the paint for the 2nd unit…particularly if they have team fouls to spare for the quarter. The Lakers need a banger down low and Turiaf isn’t doing the job.

    I also think Newble should be given a shot. Is his offensive liabilities (and lack of familiarity with the team) too much to overcome? It’s worth a shot.

  15. In game 4 the Lakers were unable to win after being up
    by 24. In game 5 they were up by 19 and playing well.
    As several people have noted, PJ then took out most
    of the starters and put in among others, Luke and MIHM.
    and the lead and momentum quickly dissipated. The Mihm
    substitution seemingly was the act of a man tinkering with
    the line up in the middle of a do or die NBA finals game.
    The Luke insertion was ill advised but not bizarro. However
    it was immediately apparent that PP could waltz to the rim
    when guarded by Luke and PJ took forever to remove him.
    This is a long way of saying that the talk about what PJ
    ought to do in game 6, is useless unless someone believs
    there is some method to his madness. And spare the
    talk about his rings and past glories.

  16. Well I guess the good news is that now that we are the total underdogs, fully expected to lose game six in Beantown, we can finally get down to focusing on finding a way to win.

    It is paradoxical with the Lakers, and always has been (certainly dating back to Shaq/Kobe Lakers, but even Kareem/Magic a bit) but the Lakers tradition seems to be teams needing extreme drama to pull out the dramatic wins.

    Blown leads, as others noted, is something that the Lakers have a twisted “tradition” about. Being the favorites only leads them to under-perform.

    Somewhere in the “in emergency, break glass” section of Phil’s coaching textbook has to be the identity chapter, where he reminds the team what their identity is from his perspective, gives them simple instruction to focus on these 2-3 identity givens, and cajoles them that win, lose or draw, not to abandon these 2-3 things for the rest of the series.

    It’s the identity confusion that is most confusing to me, and probably the one area where my perception is that as a coach of a fairly young team, PJ needs to provide the team spotlight versus the mano a mano insights and sage wisdom.

  17. 12) I would like to see MBenga get a shot too… but Newble? not so sure..

  18. The media and many Lakers fans aren’t happy with “the way they won” last night. Hogwash. The Lakers are a young team in the Finals for the first time against a desperate group of well-coached veterans. They were down 3-1 and pulled out a scrappy victory. Yes, they gave up another big lead. But did anyone actually think Boston was going to stay down for 3 quarters? Don’t forget, Boston gave back 22 points to the Lakers in the fourth quarter of game 2. Big, early leads are never safe against good teams. That’s just how it is.

    Now, the positives:

    1) L.A. has yet to play a really good game in this finals and they have won just 1 fewer game than the Celtics, who have played very well overall.

    2) The way the Lakers fought through several Boston runs in game 5 was a great building block for the future. They are developing character and gaining tons of on-the-job experience. The Lakers are way ahead of schedule for even making the Finals this year. This experience will help them immeasurably as they look to establish dominance for the next 4-5 years.

    3) Kobe played terrible in the last 3 quarters of game 5 and they still won the game.

    4) Odom and Gasol have been inconsistent (at times, nonexistent), yet the Lakers have had the chance to win every game in this series.

    5) The series ain’t over. It’s a big if, but IF the Lakers can play as well as they have during their three big spurts (the 4th quarter of game 2, the first half of game 4 and the first quarter of game 5), for the majority of game 6, they will force a winner-takes-all game 7.

    If we take the longview, it’s all gravy: every extra minute the Lakers play in this Finals is a master course in dynasty building. And they are still only 2 wins away from a championship. If Kobe’s analogy holds, the Lakers are now in the Final 4. That’s a position that 28 other NBA teams would love to be in.

  19. This is a game where Phil can ill afford to be stubborn. The question, really, is whether or not he has it in him.

  20. Drunken5yearold June 16, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    The Lakers have been having trouble on the defensive end, but I don’t think that is where they’re losing games. The offensive funks are the problem, and where corrective action needs to be focused. Paul Pierce is going to be a problem for us to defend know matter what. However, it’s alright for him to go off if we keep everybody else contained (like how a lot of teams like to force Kobe into being a one-man show). Since we don’t have a really good option for defending Pierce, the best bet is to play him physical everytime he tried to penetrate until he gets to the point where he just doesn’t want to it anymore. I would love to see guys like Ronny, Newble, and Ariza soak up fouls (no and-1’s though) by knocking Pierce to the ground on every drive. I don’t know if this Lakers team is physical enough for that though. Odom and Gasol certainly aren’t going to do it.

    If I were Phil, I’d empty out the bag of tricks and do whatever it takes to force a game 7. Don’t hold anything in reserve. Change things up, surprise the Celtics at every opportunity: don’t let them get in a comfort zone. Throw literally everything and the kitchen sink at them. To wit:

    1) Shorten the rotation. There’s only two games left, we shouldn’t be seeing Mihm or Mbenga in the game. Give Kobe a short rest at the end of the first and third quarters and that’s it.

    2) Go back and watch what Detroit and Cleveland did. Pressure House up the court every time he’s in at PG. Double KG immediately. Trap at half court every once in a while.

    3) Switch the benches so that the Celtics don’t have help from their coach on defense in the second half. It might not matter, but it just MIGHT screw them up some.

    4) Go into Gasol at regular intervals. Don’t pound it in every time, and don’t go away from him for long stretches. Have a game plan that gets it in to him about every other possession, and tell him to finish strong and try and get KG into foul trouble again. This should help to keep Gasol fresh, involved, and focused.

    5) If Perkins is unable to play, then reduce the time Odom and Gasol are on the court together and put an extra shooter out there. The Lakers need the extra spacing. The majority of the minutes should go to Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Sasha, Farmar, and Fisher.

    6) Start Sasha. Rotate Fisher, Farmar, and Sasha among the back court spots and have Kobe play up to SF for much of the game. Bring VladRad in at the 4 occasionally when resting Odom or Gasol. Sprinkle in Ariza and Ronny (or Newble) to guard Pierce occasionally and rough him up some with Physical D. Essentially, play a 7 man rotation with VladRad getting the least minutes, and rotate a bench player into the 8th spot. I probably wouldn’t give Walton much PT unless Pierce is resting, because he just cannot guard him.

    7) Instruct Ronny to keep the bench energy level up at all times. Serously, turn him into the head cheerleader. Tell him he alone is responsible for keeping the energy level high and the attitudes loose.

  21. Lost in the criticism of the Lakers WIN last night is the fact that they had their highest point total in the series and outrebounded the Celtics. This is the key. If they rebound, they speed the game up. This is the only advantage they have against Boston. There is a speed that the Lakers can play at that Boston simply cannot handle, but that only comes into play with rebounds, and not these soul-sucking 45-60 second possessions Boston puts on the Lakers. Just want to see them play hard and well regardless of score. The last game of this season (hopefully Thursday) is going to have a huge impact on this team going into next year, imo.

  22. With Perkins sitting it out again (probably), we need to feed Gasol and Odom in the post. Leon Powe did nothing to stop us and ended up giving most of the minutes at center to PJ Brown (he still didn’t do a great job). Their offense hasn’t clicked since Rondo got injured; if we can score 90-100 points in Boston, I don’t think they’ll have enough in their arsenal to compete. We’re going to have to win this game with our biggest strength, our lighting quick passing triangle offense. Can the best defensive team in the league win without a bruiser defending the paint (sorry KG, not you)? We’ll see tomorrow night…

  23. 16. Well if the last game of the season is Thursday, it could mean some very good things…

  24. Lots of thoughts in my mind right now and here are a few:

    I just feel the Lakers are totally being taken out of their comfort zone by the Celtics in that we are putting out rotations that are unfamiliar and playing players that have yet to see action during this postseason. Ariza and Mihm?? Are you kidding me?

    It is sad that our defense is so bad that we’re making Paul Pierce look like a greater player than Bryant. How is it that we cannot find a way to defend a pick-and-roll? Could we at least throw out some different looks instead of letting Pierce run right into the heart of our defense in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter? Can we trap him and take the ball out of his hands?
    Phil Jackson is too smart for me to understand his methods, but I would feel much better if we were to lose giving up an open shot to KG instead of a Pierce layup.

    And sadly, this Celtics team has proven to be a much, much mentally tougher team during these Finals. These Lakers don’t even come close to matching their defensive intensity and their will to survive. Failure to grab key rebounds and having defensive lapses will be the reasons why the Lakers will lose in these Finals.

  25. Going to Mihm in the second smacks of desperation from Phil. I was wondering just why he’s been suiting up Mihm instead of Mbenga. I hope Mihm’s performance reverse the outfits for game 6. Mihm’s first playoff minutes in a decade and you play him in a do-or-die game. His 2:46 of action was disastrous. 0 points 2 fouls (both on Pierce which really got him going) and a turnover on an in-bound after a make (for a score).

    If you want some size and toughness ( a sort of anti-Pau) Mihm is NOT your man. Go with the guy that fought his way out of a war-torn Conga. If there is one guy who is not going to back down from physical conflict, it is Mbenga. But Phil had him on inactive , once again.

    Phil and Co need to woodshed before game 6 – you are getting schooled by Doc and the Dark Lord. The series so far has been lost by the coaching staff.

    If you can’t get one good look for your best player in the 4th, it is a coaching problem. If your defender can’t drive Pierce to help even once without foulng, it is a coaching problem. Putting 5 man combos who’ve not played together the entire season just might result in defensive communication breakdowns- no? This is a coaching mistake.

    I’d like to think Phil and Tex can pull a miracle out of the hat but you pay the price for not really coaching defense all season. Much like cramming for an exam, if you don’t know it by now, it is too late. This is why I favor giving Ariza a good long run. He’s certainly no worse than Vlad or Luke one-on-one on Pierce and at least he might make a few plays off the ball. And certainly no worse on offense that these two.

    On positive notes, Pau came to play and outplayed Garnett easily and Lamar played well without fouling. Will the Lakers go him just once on the right low block with Posey defending him? Farmar played well and the machine is due. Game 6 should be very interesting. Funny to say but it just may hinge on whether Kobe plays like Kobe or not.

  26. CELTICS STUCK IN LA AS OF 2:30 PM Eastern TIME!!!

    That means they’ll get back to Boston AT LEAST after 11 pm, not giving them much time to rest. THis could be a huge boost for the Lakers, given Pierce and Allen both played 48 minutes 1 of the last 2 games. Let’s hope this will curtail their energy back at the Garden. Go LAKERS!!!

    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/06/16/the-celtics-are-stuck-in-los-angeles/

  27. Sorry, that was 2:30 PM PACIFIC TIME, 5:30 Eastern Time.

  28. -8: odom on pierce is a bad idea i think. phil tried that in the second half of game 4, and it helped the celtics to start their comeback.

    since we dont want pierce to drive inside, we should quickly forget about using odom on him. he had 2 easy layups in game 4 while odom was guarding him. i think kobe and ariza are the best solutions that we have against him right now. (
    especially kobe, because he gets called less than vladrad because of who he is.)

    sure, it makes him tired, but the celtics are a different team without pierce driving and kicking, and if we stick vujacic on allen for longer periods we might get something good out of that. also, if there is a player who has the ability to play good defense and still have enough firepower left for offense, it must be kobe.

    i am sitting in vienna (austria) right now. we are hosting the european soccer tournament here, and all i can think about are the lakers. every game in this series was close, and we managed to get big leads in game 4 and 5. those games proved that the celtic defense is vulnerable, and that we have more than a punchers chance to force a game 7. pau and odom had a good game 5. we know how it feels to play in boston (remember the utah series… we also 2 games there before finally making a push). we almost stole game 2 there (remember the ft-difference?!?), and now its our time.

    there is no other lineup that boston can throw at us that we dont know, and we didnt had one game in this series where kobe AND the rest of the starting five played well (its about time… can u feel it?!?). the celtics are older, and they played more games during this playoffs. they are hurting and we will take advantage of that.

    maybe im stupid to be that confident in our team, but i didnt sleep 5 nights already because of the time difference (thank you NBA, europe loves watching games in the middle of the night… -.- ), and i saw every second of every game. if we get off to a good start, we will steal game 6 from then, and if we do, you all know how KG will play in game 7.

    stop thinking about all the things we did bad during this series. have confidence and good things will come. lakers fans in austria believe in this team, and so should you.

    GO LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. 26 Re: Celtics stuck in LA.

    That’s great, I can already hear the b.s. now after LA takes G6 tomorrow. Boston conspiracy theorists got to be firing up their wild ideas on this one. Did Dr. Buss pay off the airline? Did Stern make it happen? Did The Machine cut the hydraulics? Did
    Pau
    romance all the flight attendants and leave them with no in-flight service? Here we go…

    Best wishes to Ray Ray, hope his kid gets well. Other than that, we need to keep crushing some Celtic pride and do what we couldn’t do in 1-2. It’s all happening and we believe. Go Lakers!

  30. Despite the win, I think we’ve all been feeling pretty gloomy. I humbly offer this link to brighten everyone’s day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uOnCRzBrgg

  31. Does anyone know what happened to Ray’s kid and whether he/she is better now?

  32. 31. Ray’s kid was raced to the hospital and diagnosed with diabetes. Not sure what type. Obviously that is serious if you don’t know about it, but it should be treatable.

  33. First and foremost….best wishes to Ray’s kid and the entire family . Hopefully everything turns out OK.

    As for Ray himself, I hope his play is not affected by this. It would be a shame for Lakers to win Game 6 against a short-handed team.

    As a Laker fan myself, I’m crossing my fingers that we can get 2 more consecutive games of solid play from Pau & LO but I think a wildcard needs to step up and show some mettle (Farmar?).

    I’d like to see a parade in downtown LA a week from today.

  34. Oh….I finally watched my show on TBS this weekend. NOT impressed. Back to standup it is!

  35. It seemed that for a good chunk of the season the Lakers would pressure full-court after scores at certain times during the game. At times it even seemed predictable to the oppossing team. Against Denver it seemed to backfire. Now, Boston is giving major minutes to Eddie House–who shoots lights out–but is not known for his ballhandling: Shouldn’t the Lakers try it once more?

  36. Hey guys, I am trying to bring some Lakers optimism back… and the most important part of that optimism is Lamar Odom’s play for the past 2 games… LO is either a prodigy or a bust, there is no in-between for him. He was a bust in the beginning, a complete choker who who could not handle the pressure, but last couple games he has been absolutely committed to playing good basketball. He had couple of mental collapses and tough unlucky breaks with few turnovers, but in general, Odom has brough consistency, attitude and arrogance we so desperately need.

    Beating a beat-up team is never soothing, but beating any team is good by every means. Huge victory. mental rebound from Game 4 collapse. really happy for Farmar. I think Pau is gettings serious, finally!

    I agree about cutting down the rotations and sticking with 6-7 players. D-fish, Kobe, RadMan, Odom, Pau, Farmar and Vujacic are our best players (certainly not in that order :) ) Playing both point guards together with Kobe was certainly interesting, Fish has stuck with Allen through the screens and Bryant has finally realized that he absolutely has to get dirty on man-on-man defense and guard Pierce.

    I think that decisive game will be Game 6 even if it goes to 7 games. If Lakers bring Bostong down on Tuesday they will have the sense of invincibility while Celts will most probably start doubting themselves and suffer from shaky confidence. Being 3-1 up and forced into playing a Game 7 is harder than anything these ring-hungry all-stars have experienced so far. If Celts collapse, and that is a big IF btw, in game 6, it might be finally an end to their championship dreams because I do not see anyone beating Lakers next year. The Celts do not have much time…

    GO LAKERS!!!

  37. Throughout the entire playoffs, last night was the first time our Lakers faced elimination.

    Not sure if I said this before, but our whole season has really been scripted in the way it turned out, and now it’s just a question of whether it’s a Disney movie where we win it all, or an HBO special type where we learn our lesson from stopping just short ;)

    Either way, great ride, and i’m hoping for a Disney-esque ending here.

  38. part of the problem with putting Kobe on Pierce is potential foul trouble. I think the way they did it last night was perfect, use a variety of players on him, foul him as much as necessary, and then from the mid point of the 4th til the end, it’s Kobe time, lock down D.

    and I agree with other posters here, that Pau has done an admirable job on KG the last couple games, and I also think Ronnie used his time well on KG too.

    I like the idea of seeing trevor get some burn, but he does look lost on the O, and the offense seems to grind to a halt, that as well as he was getting beat a few times, but I did like that trey he hit. (next year will be a good year for Trevor and the Lakers)

  39. Can we talk some more about Pierce tripping over Luke? I couldn’t believe it at the time, and the replay shows he fell on his own accord, and just landed on poor Luke. He didn’t trip over him, he just fell on him.

    “Hey, there’s a Laker on the floor, I’ll just lay down now.”

    Offensive flopping at an extreme I’ve never seen.

  40. 39 (Bryan) – If that were Fisher tripping over a Celtic, you’d be applauding his flopping action.

  41. harold said, “Either way, great ride, and i’m hoping for a Disney-esque ending here.”
    Don’t know what Disney movie you’re thinking about (I’m partial to Chick’s part in Love Bug), but winning it all sure would be superCALIfragilisticexpiodomdocious.

  42. Phil likes to play with the same gun, with the same bullets, regardless of the opponent. I think he took his lessons from John Wooden. The problem is that he doesn’t teach defense like John Wooden and he doesn’t always have a superior cast of characters. I think Phil has proved he can play with and improve young players. What he hasn’t proved yet is whether he can manipulate the young team and players with in-game moves when he doesn’t have the overwhelming talent differential or defensive scheme.

    Game 6 will tell us much about Phil. Will he start out the game again playing Vlade on Pierce? Will he continue to sub in Luke and put him on Pierce? Will he call for pressure on House? This is enemy territory and Phil has to change some things up to disrupt the Celtic’s offense. Since Pierce is the clear leader of th is team, slowing him down should be his #1 priority – then we may have options.

    While the players surrounding Kobe must come through, it is the coaching staff (headed by Phil) that must put them in the best position to win.

  43. 40 – Fisher flops to expose (exaggerate) contact. Maybe he gives the refs too much credit–maybe he should start taking random bellyflops.

  44. I’m really just hoping for the best, can’t wait until tommorow’s game.

    One quick strategy gripe: I’m with everyone else who has asked for Lamar on Pierce, I think it is such a logical move and necessary to not only improve our defense, but also our offense (mainly Kobe)

  45. 44. I think Lamar is too fragile and valuable offensively (not to mention on the boards) to be put on Pierce. Why not let Pierce just get his, but make sure he gets bumped and held by Vlad and Luke?

    Anyway, as dismal and unbelievable as the 24 pt collapse was (the number oddly fitting), what kind of damage will we inflict on Boston if we actually win this after being down 3-1?

    If we do, I think it will be far, and I really mean FAR, more satisfying than sweeping them outright.

  46. The Dude Abides June 16, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I don’t think Phil should adjust our starting matchups at all…basically, just have Vlad play off Pierce a little more. Don’t just sit on his hip, as he will go right by you, Vlad. The first sub in for Vlad to guard Pierce should be Ariza. Same philosophy, don’t crowd him. Make him shoot jumpers, and close out on him when he does. Hopefully, we can match up quickly with Pierce in transition, in order to take away those transition threes. I’ve been saying this for six months–UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should Luke be matched up with Pierce, on either end.

    If we go away from Ronny as the backup big, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should Mihm get playing time over Mbenga. DJ can at least block some shots or put the driver on the floor. All Mihm will do is shift over to the driver in slow motion, then weakly raise both arms straight up without jumping, getting a foul called on him in the process while the shot goes in because of the lack of resistance. OK Phil? No Luke on Pierce, no Mihm, and don’t sit Derek for 13-14 consecutive minutes in the second half like you did in Game 3. THIS IS THE NBA FINALS. Don’t be a “rockhead.”

  47. harold, #24 LOL, the only thing that I have to say before Tuesdays game, is that I do not want to see Luke on the floor anymore against the Celtics, look at his stats (even +/-).
    Go Lakers…

  48. Lakers fans, Where we AT? Game six in Boston – TOMORROW night – I’ve got a crazy feeling, but I feel we’re in store for a game 7. Kobe can piggy-back that 4th quarter…he’s ready for it – you know he’s been salivating over another chance to play in Boston. He prides himself on exactly that – everybody’s meantioning his “choke” series against Detroit, but Kobe never even get a second crack at it. No effort to jinx, as William Simmons would say…

    I think that Odom & Gasol have kind of found a groove on what kind of contact they can get away with the refs. That’s one thing Posey has mastered, and you can see it rubs off on his teammates. The Lakers know what they need to do. From Phil on down – It’s just a matter of doing it.

    So I agree with everybody on here – let’s get Pierce tired, Keep attacking Garnett one-on-one, and rely on the Mamba to close it out. He knows his spots, where he can get his shot off at. He just needs to make it, and I think he will. Here’s to cheering!

    LAL 101
    Boston 97

  49. And #19, you’re right on about PJ – we need him being smart, sensible out there on rotations. Fisher in for the 4th, Odom in for the 4th, Gasol in, Vujacic in…Kobe, needless to say. That lineup has the toughness and ability to outmatch Boston when it comes down to it. Kobe on Pierce, Fisher on Allen, Vujacic on House/Cassell/Rondo, Gasol on KG, Odom on whoever Boston’s got banging. That is, in my opinion atleast, a good enough Defense to match Boston, and an offense that can beat Boston – if it moves the ball as Henry Abbot so adequately stated it.

  50. Harold-the problem with playing rough with Pierce is that it puts the Celts in the bonus early. This is what has allowed them to score more points this series than in there previous ones. I think that if Perkins can’t play, Vlad,Ariza and Luke can all handle Powe,Posey or PJ Brown and Odom would allow us to play off Pierce more (due to Lamar’s length). I understand Phil’s methods, but I feel that to win this series adjustments must be made.

    Offensively, I think it imperative to play Kobe OFF the ball more. Whether this means cross-screens on the block to give him good post position, or running him off single-doubles on the baseline like Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen, or off the slice cut in the triangle, getting him a head-start to the basket. No matter what, we cannot stick with this top-of-the-key iso, it is asking Boston to flex its’ defensive prowess.

  51. Ray Allen, whom I have never liked, I wish you the best. Harm to one’s kids is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy. Real life is way more important, I would rather Ray’s kid be ok and the Lakers get blown out by a rejuvenated Ray Allen, than vice versa.

    That being said, there is still a game to play. Gotta keep a smile on, this season just keeps getting better. We need Lamar to keep his head up and watch for rebounds and not for steals. Time to give Pau some credit. He has really made a difference on the defensive end against Garnett; shooting over his length (obviously) presents a bit of a challenge. If we could get any offense / passing / breathing out of the corpse of Luke Walton, we stand a good chance of upsetting the Celtics in game 6.

  52. 7) I was screaming at the tv the second half of game 5 put Lamar on Pierce, try Lamar on Pierce! If Prince’s wing span bothers Kobe why not let Lamar’s length bother Pierce. That’s provided Lamar is not in foul trouble. Use different looks on Pierce the way most teams do with Kobe.

    25) Mbenga makes far more sense than Mihm who has played what a total of 5 minutes in 2 years! Mbenga takes up space even if he is a human highlight machine, that is, he gets dunked on by someone almost every game. He tends to get out of control and think that he has Morning’s offense when his offense is more like Mutombo all lee time.

    Ariza is from LA he has played with and against Pierce enough to maybe slow him. The fact that Ariza has played Pierce is a both a positive and a negative, Pierce may also know that Ariza can not guard him. Contrast that with the fact that Ariza is superior to Pierce athletically and can cause Pierce problems if he runs, jumps and moves non-stop.

    The key to game 6 will be SPEED! Run, Run, Run! Run those old legs in the ground in the first half, so that the rotations on defense will slow in the third. Make or miss run! Play everyone to keep fresh legs on the floor and RUN THEM!

  53. 52) “Contrast that with the fact that Ariza is superior to Pierce athletically and can cause Pierce problems if he runs, jumps and moves non-stop.”

    Up to this point Ariza hasn’t played well; likely PJ was pretty sure what Mbenga would provide (not much) but was not sure what Mihm would provide, so he took a gamble at a time in the game when he could afford to.

  54. 46: agree with Dude Abides.

    Give Pierce some space. Van Gundy was saying it all game. There is no reason, if youre Luke or Vlad, to be picking up Pierce 30 ft from the basket. There is no reason to be crowding him at the 3 pt line. And there’s no reason NOT to send him towards the help on the pick and roll with KG. These are basic defensive breakdowns we’re talking about. You play Pierce tight like that, and you’re just going to be beat off the dribble. Then we’re going to have to foul him in the key and we’ll be in the penalty 4 minutes into the quarter with Pierce in full drive-like-he’s-Lebron-mode. Those fouls on Pierce slow the game down too, and allow Boston to set their defense up properly. Vlad nor Luke have the footspeed to keep up with him in the first place, give the man some space and make him make a few jumpers first.

    And I like the idea of Odom on Pierce, but like Kurt said, we’d be losing some size and presence in the middle. Maybe a lineup of Gasol, Turiaf and Odom for some important stretches? Just a thought… I don’t know, it could work out better than seeing Luke and Vlad get torched. Every. Single. Time. Down. Maybe we won’t have the spacing needed to run our half-court offense efficiently, but our defense would get a major boost. Then maybe some easy transition buckets? Just grasping for straws looking for something we could change cuz its going to be really hard to come into Boston and win games playing defense the way we’ve been playing unless Kobe goes off. Like 40/50 pts off. Even then, that usually means the rest of the team isn’t producing. Lebron couldn’t beat this team 1 on 5 and there’s no reason to believe Kobe’s going to be able to either.

  55. I don’t want to see Odom on Pierce until the 4th quarter, if at all. The risk of picking up early foul trouble does not outweigh the reward of *maybe* slowing down Pierce. I’d rather having a mismatch throughout the game; the Celtics are worse off having to matchup Odom with the likes of PJ Brown and Posey.

    I like the idea of trapping Pierce and getting the ball out of his hands. Let Garnott create a shot for himself or a better opportunity for others.

    It’s been a sweet year for Laker fans. A game 7 would be the icing on the cake and a win would be the cherry on top, but I’m not going to be bitter about losing to the Celtics. Both teams would be worthy champions.

  56. hey, Kurt. what’s w/ LO posting on Posey and LA’s not getting much? this should be a mismatch that LA should be taking advantage of

  57. The Dude Abides June 17, 2008 at 1:07 am

    The focus of our offense cannot be LO posting on Posey. Posey will do the savvy veteran moves on Lamar, such as pulling the chair while tugging the jersey. Lamar gets a little too wild in these situations sometimes. Remember when he looked like he was trying to break the backboard with one of his layups?

  58. The Dude Abides June 17, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Oh, and it’s become obligatory for me to post this link in response to another transportation breakdown for a Laker opponent: and yes, the Denver Nugget bus drivers who finally caught on at another job (San Antonio Spurs charter plane mechanics), have found yet another job as Boston Celtic charter plane mechanics:
    http://www.leerburg.com/Photos/line-breeding.jpg

    That San Antonio pilot of the charter plane was fired, but caught on as the pilot of the charter plane for the Celtics:
    http://tinyurl.com/454r97

  59. I think that Kobe just needs to take over and dominate the games. He’s been too passive in this series. It’s time for him to unleash his killer instinct and take over this series.

    It’s good that Kobe is passing the ball, but with two games left, it’s time for him to let it all out. Don’t hold anything back. I’m looking forward to him having an explosive game tonight.

  60. I like putting Ariza on Pierce not because he can stop him. Pierce is in a zone and also has trained the refs to call a foul if he falls, whether a defender is nearby or not.

    The reason I like Ariza is that he helps our team defense, increases the likelihood for creating turn-overs, and is better on the offensive glass.

    If Vlad or Luke for giving us anything on offense, I wouldn’t necessarily be calling for Trevor but they are not.

    On another note, what other contending team sits the starting SF at crunch time?

  61. Anytime we focus our offense on Lamar we have been disappointed – for the entire time he has been here. Lamar is not a focus guy, but a complimentary guy. He does a bit of everything, but don’t stress him with a demand to score.

  62. Best wishes to Allen and his family. I hope his kid is doing better. Should be now that they have diagnosed him with diabetes, since it is treatable.

    As far as guarding Pierce, I think our best chance is to hope that he is at least a little tired and his adrenaline can only bring him so far. The lakers really do not have an answer for him. The Lakers need to play off him, make him a jump shooter, though he is a really good shooter, I’d rather Peirce beat you with jump shots than lay ups. Plus change up the defense on him a lot. When Rondo is in the game, have Kobe (or whoever is guarding Rondo) double pierce . When House is in, thats no longer a great option, so the Lakers need to play off him and try to force him into the help defender. Trapping him every once in a while might help disrupt his rhythm. Try to deny him the ball and keep him forced as far away from the rim as possible.

  63. Sorry for the double post, I wanted to add one more thing. I like the Idea of having Farmar, or Sasha pressure House whenever he is bringing up the ball (maybe Kobe or Ariza a bit too). Those two seem to be our best pressure defenders and should be able to create some turnovers and (more often) slow their offense down so that they have less shot clock to work with. I would expect though (like in game 5) Doc will have Pierce or Allen start to bring up the ball.

  64. Tonight’s officials are Joey Crawford, Bennet Salvatore and Eddie F. Rush. We hate Salvatore, you hate Rush, and hopefully Crawford toes the line?

  65. I’m extremely disappointed in the Lakers pick-and-roll defense. For years, I gave Coach Jackson and his staff a free pass because opposing teams attacked Shaquille on the pick-and-roll. Shaq didn’t have the mobility to defend the play. But the Lakers bigs are more than capable of defeding the play correctly. They just aren’t hedging on the ball handler and recovering to their man with the same type of urgency as Boston’s bigs. That’s a reflection of the coaching staff. Either they aren’t being instructed correctly (which is hard to believe) or they didn’t make it as large an emphasis as it should have been during the regular season.

  66. To help defend the PNR I would put Odom on KG and Kobe on Pierce. Pau obviously can’t move laterally quick enough to stop Pierce from getting in the lane. This would allow Pau to just concentrate on helping to clog the lane, even though he has been late to rotate it would be easier for him to get the weakside blocks he has been known to collect.

    And would someone please knock Pierce or Ray Allen to the ground when they drive. This is the NBA Finals, Lebron was getting this treatment in the first round I can’t believe the Lakers haven’t at least tried to send the message that if you go to the paint, you’re going to miss or get HACKED. Clean fouls of course but still you need to send a message. Let’s go Lakers today, and could someone please get Warren to comment first. We need all the help we can get.

    Go Blue and Gold.

  67. “We’re young enough, and dumb enough, to be able to do this.”

    Phil Jackson

  68. I just in from LA on Saturday nigh from Game 4. I live in Providence, which is 45 minutes away from Boston. My flight was delayed Friday night, so we had to stay another night (in a crappy hotel, after spending a few nights at the Westin Bonaventura), then catch a flight Saturday afternoon, we got in at 12 am Sunday. I was beat all day, and I didn’t just play a 48 minute NBA Finals game, and didn’t have to play one that day. THIS WILL AFFECT BOSTON big time.
    They had to wait around for 12 hours which is worse then me staying at a crap hotel. No comfortable thing. Then I would like to assume that they probably didn’t even get to go to bed for at least 2 hours after they landed. At least. So make that 1 am this morning. Factor in the time difference from LA to Boston, and you have the perfect setting for them to really be spent. Meanwhile, the Lakers had a full nights rest, and are healthy to boot.
    I thin the Lakers could win regardless of the physical toll the celtics may have had to endure, but I like the way it’s shaping up. They NEED to jump out quick again, and keep the pressure on. PLEASE Phil, if they do, DO NOT let the momentum swing again.

  69. One of the positive things to take from this series thus far is the absence of Bynum and how the series would theoretically be different if he were around. I don’t think that Kobe has not noticed the irony of the thought that the guy who was called out at the beggining of the season is the guy we really could have used the most. It is adversity such as this that will help Kobe continue to mature as a leader and can only lead us to a better place.

    Having said that, I hope my Lakers come out and play with tremendous energy, strenght and aggressiveness tonight!

    GO LAKERS! I BELIEVE!

  70. Game 6 chat post up.

  71. Celtics do the same thing Utah does only better,foul every time and dare the refs to call it.Grab wrists,hip checks,moving screens,hold players away from the ball so others get open.As long as the league lets this happen the games will resemble train wrecks.No fun to watch.