Looking At The Last 5 Minutes Of Game 2

Darius Soriano —  June 7, 2010

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Coming into the 4th quarter of game 2, the Lakers and the Celtics were all knotted up at 72 and it would be the team that executed best in that final frame that would win the game.  As we all know, that team wasn’t the Lakers.  But rather than going through all the plays of those determining 12 minutes, I’ve decided to only focus on the final 5 minutes and change where the Lakers were still very much in the game and actually leading after Kobe Bryant made a baseline jumper from about 17 feet.  And that’s where we pick up the action.  At this point in the game, the Lakers are leading 90-87 and there is 5:21 left in the contest.  (Please note that the Lakers score will always appear first.) 

5:21; 90-87 – Rondo walks the ball up and deliberately sets up the Celtics offense.  He calls out the play which is a P&R between he and KG.  At this point, Kobe plays off Rondo in his customary style and is set up about 5 feet off Rondo right around the FT line.  As KG comes to set the screen, Kobe goes under the screen, but as Rondo dribbles to his right he changes directions to his left hand, KG changes his angle and resets the screen on a buried Kobe, and Rondo gets all the way to the basket for an easy lay up.  This is one of the real dangers of playing off Rondo.  Kobe is determined to go under the screen, but the pick is set right around the FT line.  At this point, if Pau can’t hedge (which at this point is difficult due to Rondo’s change of direction and KG’s movement) Rondo has free path to the rim from only 12 feet out.  That’s too easy as one dribble gets him right to the rim.

4:45; 90-89 – The Lakers push the ball up court in an attempt to set up their offense quickly.  The seem intent on getting the ball into the post with Bynum setting up on the left block and Fisher looking to make the entry pass.  However, the Lakers waste a lot of time swinging the ball around the perimeter with little purpose or intent.  Finally the ball gets back to Bynum’s side with another look to ‘Drew on the block.  After the ball finally gets into the post (with only 7 seconds left on the shot clock) the weak side exchange between Fisher (cutting to clear the side) and Ron brings Artest back to the top of the key.  Bynum, looking to not force a shot, passes to Ron who’s now circling to his left towards ‘Drew.  And in an attempt to free Ron up, Bynum sets an illegal pick on the defender trying to contest the shot after the pass is delvered.  Turnvover #1 in the last 5 minutes of the game.

4:17; 90-89 – Boston initiates their sets looking to get Ray Allen a good look coming off a screen (sound familiar?).  Ray circles the court, runs Fisher off multiple screens, and finally makes a catch off a pin down has he curls towards the top of the key on the extended right wing.  After making the catch, Bynum leaves Perkins (the screener), steps out to contest Allen’s jumper and forces the (airball) miss.  This is probably the best recognition and show out by a Lakers big all game on an Allen jumper.  Good defense by all.

3:54; 90-89 – The Lakers bring the ball up, pass the ball around the perimeter, and then set up Kobe at the top of the key looking to allow him to create a shot for himself or a teammate.  After Bynum comes to set a screen, Kobe waves him off, and then proceeds to work in isolation against Ray Allen. Kobe drives to his left hand, spins into the lane, and fires up a flick jumper from 12 feet that misses.  This is a play that Kobe’s made a thousand times in his career to mixed results.  It’s neither a good nor bad look, but it’s ultimately an ineffective miss.  This is the exact type of play that has fans cursing when it’s a miss and out of their chair when it’s make.  These are the shots we live with when it’s Kobe on our team as his ability to make theses shots is what makes him special.  But when they miss, the possession often seems wasted.

3:41; still 90-89 – The Celtics push the ball up and set up a play for Paul Pierce in isolation against the defense of Artest.  After getting a rub screen at the FT line extended, Pierce makes his move to the middle of the floor and draws a non shooting foul on Artest – side out of bounds.  On the subsequent possesion, the Celtics go back to Pierce in isolation against Ron, this time on the right wing.  After forcing Pierce to back dribble to the top of the key, Pierce makes his move with the dribble to his right, spins, and falls down – foul called on Artest (which is questionable, at best).  That’s fouls #4 and #5 against Artest on a single trip down the floor.  On the subsequent inbounds, the C’s go back to Pierce again, who dishes to KG on the left wing, who then hits a cutting Perkins for a point blank attempt at the basket that Gasol blocks.  However, after blocking the shot, Pau tips the ball towards the wing where Rondo scoops up the ball, makes a move to the basket, and finishes at the rim.  I think this was just a miscommunication between Pau and Kobe.  It looked like Pau thought Kobe (who was right next to him when the shot was blocked) was going to grab that ball after the tip.  Instead, Kobe was flat footed and Rondo grabbed the ball and got the deuce.  If you’re counting at home, on that single possession the C’s drew two fouls, got an offensive rebound, and then scored a bucket to take the lead.  It would be a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the game.

3:12, 90-91 – After bringing the ball up the court, the Lakers look to post up Gasol on the right wing.  While jockeying for position, KG fouls Pau (his 5th foul)- side out of bounds.  After the inbounds, the Lakers again look to post up Pau – this time on the left block.  However, KG does a good job of forcing Pau off the block so he’s actually near the FT on the extended wing (a place that Kobe often posts up, but not a great place for Pau to make a catch).  Artest tries a bounce pass into the post but skips it out of bounds.  This is a classic case of not having good spacing nor a good angle to make a post entry.  Ron was above the FT line and Pau was digging in only a few feet away for a catch.  If Ron drops down to create a better angle and then looks for Pau to fight KG to do the same, he’s likely successful with his pass.  Instead, it’s turnover #2 in the last 5 minutes of the game.

2:47, 90-91 – The C’s initiate their offense by running a double screen action for Rondo.  First Pierce sets a screen on Kobe forcing the switch to put Artest on Rondo.  Then, they run a P&R between Rondo and KG which forces another switch that puts Artest on KG in the post and Gasol on Rondo.  After the post entry, KG backs down Ron to about 8 feet out and hits a turnaround jumper.  This was just good offense by Boston.  They forced the switches that they wanted and got KG and easy jumper in the lane over a shorter defender.

2:25, 90-93 – The Lakers set up their offense for another Kobe isolation this time from the right wing.  After jab stepping, Kobe goes hard to the middle of the court, sees the help, and then passes to a wide open Artest in the corner.  But instead of shooting, Ron passes to Fisher who is a good 3 feet behind the three point line.  Fisher ball fakes on a closing out Rondo, hesitates and then elevates to shoot a jumper.  But Rondo recovers and comes from behind to block the shot.  On this play I really don’t blame Fisher, but rather look to Artest for being at fault.  When Kobe hit him with the cross court pass it should have been a catch and shoot situation.  Instead he hesitated and passed to a player that was in a worse position to get a shot off.  What should have been a good look from the corner becomes a turnover that Boston takes the other way on a fast break.  Luckily, Kobe races back to contest the shot and forces a Ray Allen miss on his lay up attempt (avoiding his 6th foul in the process).  But after making the defensive play, Kobe can’t secure the rebound and knocks the ball out of bounds.  Celtics ball. BTW, that was turnover #3 in the last 5 minutes of the game.

2:07, 90-93 – The Celtics inbound, run a screen for Allen who misses a jumpshot from the left elbow.  On the rebound, both Pau Gasol and KG go for the rebound and the ball gets knocked out of bounds.  So you know, at that moment Mike Breen said “out of bounds off the Celtics. Oh! They say it’s off the Lakers!”.  At this point I have nothing to add beyond what’s already been said.  I thought the ball was off of KG, the refs thought different.  Play on.  On the ensuing inbounds, the Lakers play good defense on the screen action that the C’s run for Ray Allen by showing out hard with Pau and having him chase Ray off the three point line.  When Kobe slides over to help on the penetration, he passes to Rondo who steps into an 18 foot jumper that he just buries.  Ouch.  Say whatever you want about the refs call on the out of bounds, but Rondo making that jumper is what hurt the most.  He’s not a shooter but was on that possession.

1:45, 90-95 – Kobe brings the ball up quickly looking to waste as little time as possible.  He passes to Fisher and then cuts on an angle to the left block.  Fisher passes to Ron who looks to Kobe briefly in the post, sees that he’s fronted and then passes back to Fisher.  Ron proceeds to set a down screen for Kobe who pops to the extended wing, receives a pass and fires a looong three pointer that misses.  In my eyes, this is a decent look and a decent shot, but one that probably wasn’t needed on that possession.  At this point, down 5, I think you still have enough time to look into the post for Gasol.  Remember, KG has 5 fouls and Pau has had an excellent night.  Why not go into him and look for him to create a basket?  Instead, Kobe takes a shot we’ve seen him make many times before, but usually when there’s less time on the clock or the score is more desperate.  If that goes in, the Lakers are gravy.  Instead, they’re now severely behind the 8 ball.

1:42, 90-95 – On the ensuing rebound to Kobe’s miss, the Celtics take their time getting the ball upcourt and Doc Rivers calls a brilliant time out to set up an inbounds play to get the ball past half court to avoid an 8 second violation.  On that inbounds, the Celtics run a great play, get the ball inbounds, break the Lakers pressure (as two players rotate to Allen trying to get a steal), and the end up with a KG to Perkins pass that nets a lay up.  Needless to say, this was a huge sequence.  On one end, Kobe takes what can be considered an ill advised shot, the C’s then avoid a turnover from an 8 second violation, and on the ensuing play they get a lay up to go up by 7.  This game is now nearly entirely slipped away.

1:35, 90-97 – On the next play, Kobe tries to get a quick basket by racing up the floor and driving into traffic for an interior shot.  He’s halfway looking to get the basket and halfway looking for the foul and gets neither.  On the ensuing rebound, Pau fouls Perkins.  Perkins makes 1 of his 2 foul shots to put the C’s up by 8.  And that, ladies and gentlemen is essentially your ball game.  The Lakers may have the ball, but there’s no coming back from this deficit without a miracle.

1:12, 90-98 – Now for the tragic comedy portion of our show.  With the Lakers down 8 the ball gets inbounded to Artest who brings the ball up the right sideline.  Obviously looking to get Kobe the ball, Ron dribbles, dribbles, and dribbles some more all while looking at Kobe (who is semi open for a good 4 seconds after breaking free from Ray Allen’s denial).  When Ron finally decides that Kobe isn’t open enough to pass to (which, to any observer isn’t true as Kobe is open enough), Ron calls for a Bynum pick, dribbles off of it into the lane to his left hand, doesn’t shoot and instead goes all the way back out to the 3 point line while keeping his dribble alive.  Then Ron picks up his dribble, shot fakes, and does an up and under jumpshot from 21 feet that misses badly.  Without over exaggerating, this is one of the strangest plays I’ve ever seen in my life.  I’m essentially stunned with this play even when watching it on replay a day later.  The Lakers do grab the miss though, and ultimately hit Kobe with the pass ( the one he should have gotten 3o seconds earlier) and he promptly buries a three pointer.

:52, 93-98 – On the ensuing inbounds the Lakers scramble defensively, force a bad pass to a streaking Ray Allen up the court who then tries to save the ball with a cross court pass to Rondo and Ron Artest gets whistled for a call that no one seems to be able to see (aside from the ref that made the call).  Ron fouls out on the play.  This play, while a desperation one and could have been the miracle play that the Lakers were looking for just didn’t go their way.  I wish I had more to say on this, but even on replay it’s difficult to see what actually happened as the camera was trailing the action.  All I can really say is that the Lakers really could have used that steal but didn’t get it as the whistle blew right before Fisher was closing on the ball free-safety style.  After the foul, Rondo makes 1 of 2 FT’s to put the C’s back up by 6.

:39, 93-99 – On this inbound, the Lakers again race the ball up court looking to make a quick shot that will cut into their deficit.  Kobe dribbles to his left hand and Rondo (a bit beat on the play) reaches around Kobe’s back and tips the ball away.  Turnover #3 4 in the last 5 minutes of the game.  Upon review, this looks like a clean play and one where Rondo uses his great hand speed and length to tip a ball away.  It’s plays like these that placed Rondo on the All Defensive 1st Team.  On the ensuing C’s possession, Rondo gets fouled and again makes 1 of 2 from the FT line.  Time out, Lakers.

In the final 30 seconds of this game, the Lakers try two more desperation three pointers (one from Kobe, one from Pau) the Celtics secure defensive rebounds, get fouled, and make some FT’s to ice the game.  The end.

In conclusion, the Lakers suffered from some questionable calls BUT did themselves no favors with their clock management, shot selection, and most of all their sloppy play that resulted in turnovers.  All in all, after making that baseline jumper with 5:21 left in the game, Kobe took 5 shots and made 1 (the three pointer after the offensive rebound on Ron’s circus possession).  The Lakers had 3 4 turnovers including two when they tried to go into the post (offensive foul on Bynum with his illegal screen and the bad pass from Artest to Pau where the spacing and angle was bad).  Gasol took 1 shot (the desperation 3) and Bynum didn’t have a single FGA.  If you just read this paragraph you understand fully why the Lakers lost this game.  They played poorly in the closing minutes and the Celtics took advantage of every mistake made to either get a basket or draw a foul.  We’ve discussed this some already today, but in game 3 the Lakers must get back to basics and execute their sets with discipline and precision.  On defense, they must find a way to combat the screen actions the C’s use to free Allen while also limiting the baskets the C’s get in transition and early offense.  We’ll see tomorrow if they’re up to the task.

Darius Soriano

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21 responses to Looking At The Last 5 Minutes Of Game 2

  1. Darius –

    I know you deal with more important things on this site (game strategy, etc), but I was wondering if you could share your thoughts in a brief post about the following:

    I was wondering about what the options are for the Lakers and coaching staff to get a fair shake when it comes to Boston’s screens. It’s tough because Lakers fans have been complaining about those off-ball picks (featured in the Ray Allen down-screen set) for a couple of years now, but you don’t really hear the players or coaches complaining. They make no mention of it in the telecast either. It’s almost as if the league, coaches, players, commentators, and fans have accepted that those illegal screens will not be whistled and everyone just has to deal with it.

    Is it because of the sheer number of times in a game that this happens? Is it because, without those screens, Boston’s #1 play would lose effectiveness? Is it because the screens are off-ball and the officials simply don’t see them? Illegal screens out of the P&R are usually called, but not the off-ball ones.

    I’m not here to complain about the officials. This is more of a slight to the Laker coaching staff and team captains for not saying something pre-game, in-game, or post-game to the officials to the effect of:

    “Excuse me sir. Sorry to bother you, but I wanted to point out that Perkins set an illegal down screen to free up Allen for that 3 pointer. I know it was off ball, but if you could keep an eye out for that next time they run the down screen set, I’d appreciate it. I know your job is hard, but I want my guys to get a fair shot and those picks aren’t allowed according to the NBA rulebook. Thanks”

    No one said anything in 2008 and no one who matters makes mention of it now. The only people who seem to care anymore are Laker fans, and many of us would like the consolation of knowing that the Laker coaches and players have done their best to make their case to the league and the officials about the importance of rule book enforcement. This isn’t about phantom fouls on Kobe. This isn’t about an individual out-of-bounds play. This is about something a team does 15-35 times a game and gets away with.

    This may seem petty to you, because obviously winning is more than a few calls here and there, but if the officials enforce the rules on each of the first three illegal down screens for Allen in G3, then they will be forced to set legitimate picks, which will give the Lakers a fair chance for the rest of the series. Simple as that.

    This site isn’t for babies, but just because officiating is only a small slice of the winning pie doesn’t mean that a reoccurring violation should be ignored. Thanks

  2. Nice breakdown, very painful to read and re-live.

  3. Yahoo writer trying to explain the great unknown named Ron Artest. Sorry guys but this is the Artest who shot Houston out of the playoffs and caused havoc in Sac and Indiana.

    We already have one head case who we never can count on in Odom, a new minted one in Shannon(I think I will comb my hair in the key instead of guard Allen)Brown, Sasha(I think I will foul someone with 2 seconds left from 40 feet away) and the of course the leader of the , never to be invited to a mensa meeting, Ron Artest.

    “But then came Sunday. Artest again locked up Pierce, but he also wreaked havoc on the other end of the floor, taking 10 shots and missing nine of them. Too many times, he rushed the Lakers’ offense – or dribbled it into the ground – when Pau Gasol(notes) and Andrew Bynum(notes) were having their way inside”.

    Perhaps Phil will realize that there is no Pippen, Kerr, Harper, Grant, Jordan etc on the court. Just this odd group of players who often have no more control of their own body then a California earthquake.

  4. Question: According to the NBA rulebook, isn’t a player on the court supposed to call a timeout, NOT a coach on the sidelines.

    Just wondering.

  5. Great work, thank you.

    If only some of the Lakers had this level of insight. Then again, if only Lamar looked at Big Baby and thought, ‘hey, this guy doesn’t look like he’s in the best of shape, perhaps I could drive on him.’

    if only.

  6. Great break down.

    Of all the stuff that went down, the game still came down to these five painful minutes of basketball.

    I have to wonder why Kobe and Fisher don’t find a way to get the ball out of Artest’s hands in crunch time. He ended up playing a crucial role on the offensive end, which is just bad bad execution from the whole team.

    I’d rather see Fisher or Kobe dribble the ball up under pressure in the last minutes of a game (especially one where Kobe sat for way too long on the bench), than having Ron take up the playmaker role.

    Kobe should have the ball in his hands on every single possession at this point. He might also be the only player capable of not looking for Kobe, and instead make the entry pass to the post.

    The most central adjustments at this point look like:

    1. Minimize and define Artest’s role on offense in crunch time (corner three and offensive rebounds?)

    2. Fisher stays attached to Ray and slips the screens (he did in the second half, while trying to hit them with flailing arms in the first)

    3. The Kobe post up iso on the free throw line extended has to lead to bigs diving through the paint, not a frozen moment of Kobe-watching.

    4. Kobe or whoever guards Rondo have to find him when a Celtics shot goes up and knock him to the ground, tie up his shoe laces, blindfold him, feed him with chicken sushi or talk bad about his mum… what ever it takes, but with bigger defenders on him and no need to desperately leak out of fast breaks, there really is no reason why the little green alien should get freedom to roam for the offensive rebound…

  7. This high-risk, high-reward series is too nerve wracking.

    I’m on an emotional rollercoaster before, during and after each game, so much so that I’ve stopped browsing about the game after our loss.

    I hope we win game 3 just so I can go on and surf the net with glee, instead of a sense of impending doom.

  8. muddywood,
    That’s what I thought as well.
    Darius and co., could you provide us some insight regarding that?
    The player was dribbling so there’s no way should they have been given a timeout. I know a rule and it is only when the ball stops. Plus a coach or anybody not playing on the court should get out of the court no matter what. That’s 2 mistakes on the same play.
    Enlighten us.

  9. I think for those away from the ball screens you have to flail your arms when the contact is made to at least bring the ref’s attention to it.

    I read an article earlier this season on why Jerry Sloan and the Jazz always have regular season success (especially at home) but struggle in the Playoffs. It’s because they impose their physical style on the game and rely on the refs calling it that way. Games naturally get more physical in the Playoffs so when the playing field is leveled the Jazz’s advantage goes away.

    I truly think this is what Doc Rivers tells his guys when instructing them on setting screens. “Force the referee to make the call. They can’t foul our whole team out of the game.”

    Lakers win 96-90 tonight.

    Kobe Bryant 35 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals.

    Pau Gasol 25 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

    Bynum 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.

    Ron Artest 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals.

    The rest of the team can come up with the other 10 points and I don’t care how. Just limit the god damn turnovers and make hustle plays. I don’t care if our role players struggle to score but if they don’t make hustle plays it pisses me off.

  10. @John Morris #9:

    But if it costs you a second to finish the acting job, then the a deadly shooter like Ray has already finished the bomb-job.

  11. Thanks Darius. It took me a day and a half to brave the internet after Game 2 but I think that by confronting and reliving those last 5 minutes I have now purged them from my system.

    Onwards and upwards for Game 3!

  12. Montross’Dad June 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Great write up.

    To 4 & 8 – The head coach may request a timeout (20-second or full) at any time during a game as long as his team has possession of the ball or there is a suspension of play.

    To 5, perhaps Odom has more insight than you credit him with-Davis has feet as quick as any NBA player of his size, and is undeniably the best on his team at drawing charges. Not to say LO can’t drive on Davis, but his advantage in that area may not be as defined as you imagine.

  13. Great breakdown Darius. I do want to add something with regards to the Lakers offense at the end of games with this game as an example (even though it is a little extreme).
    Let’s look at the Lakers offensive possessions in the last 6 minutes with the simple filter of “was Kobe the focal point of that possession?”
    5:58 – Kobe drives to the basket and scores with a foul (makes subsequent free throw)
    5:20 – Kobe drives left and hits a fadeaway jumper.
    4:45 – Fisher, Ron, and Bynum try to run the triangle (Gasol and Kobe on the weak side not involved). Bynum illegal screen turnover.
    3:54 – Kobe gets into the lane and misses a difficult 12 footer.
    3:12 – Pau posts up with Ron trying to feed him the ball. (Kobe on weak side not involve). Bad pass turnover on Ron.
    2:25 – Kobe drives and kicks to Ron (who should have taken the 3) but instead kicks to Fisher who is later blocked by Rondo in a great defensive play.
    1:45 – Kobe takes a 3 pointer that misses.
    1:35 – Kobe pushes the ball and drives to the rim but misses
    1:12 – Artest dribbles out the clock before taking an awful shot, eventually we get the offensive rebound and Kobe buries the 3.
    0:39 – Kobe drives and pulls up but Rondo makes another great defensive play to poke the ball free for a steal.

    By my count (excluding the last possession desperation shots by Kobe and Pau when the game was over), Kobe took 6 shots in the final six minutes. He made 3 (5:58, 5:20, & 1:12) and missed 3 (3:54, 1:45, & 1:35). All three misses were decent attempts (even the 3 pointer wasn’t a bad look) and all three hit the rim and had a chance to go in. He also had 1 turnover that was the result of a great defensive play by Rondo and not a poor play by Kobe. Kobe was also involved in one other possession where he drove and kicked to an open Artest who should have taken the 3 (2:25). All-in-All… the 8 possessions that Kobe was the focal point netted 3 baskets (8 points total), 3 misses on decent shots by Kobe, one turnover as the result of great defense, and one wide-open 3 that Ron passed up. That is 8 points in 8 possessions which isn’t too bad.
    On the other hand, look at the results for plays that Kobe is not involved in: Bynum illegal screen turnover (4:45), Ron bad pass turnover to Gasol (3:12), Artest kicking out to Fisher who was blocked by Rondo (2:25), and finally Artest dribbles out the clock and waste’s a possession (1:12). The Last two Kobe did have some involvement but he the plays can be thought of as two parts. The play at 2:25 was Kobe driving and kicking to an open Artest that should have resulted in a great look at at 3 (solid play from Kobe) but Artest didn’t shoot and instead the Lakers reset the offense without Kobe being involved and resulted in Fisher getting blocked. The play at 1:12 was Artest dribbling out the clock and taking a poor shot but when the Lakers got the offensive rebound they got it to Kobe who hit a three.
    So essentially the 4 possesions that Kobe was NOT involved resulted in 2 turnovers, Fisher getting blocked, and Artest taking a 21 foot ill-advised leaning jumper.
    The results of the possessions where Kobe is involved is night and day different than the ones he is not. I am not saying that Kobe should take every shot down the stretch and be superman, but good things happen when we put the ball in his hands and let him decide how to play it. He either gets a decent look (and often hits it) or he finds open shooters and cutters when doubled. On the other hand when the Lakers put Kobe on the weakside for a possession and don’t utilize him at all we typically get turnovers or poor shots.
    I have seen this occur many times over the last two seasons where the Lakers for some reason will ignore Kobe on a possession or two in the final minutes of a close game and end up with an awful possession that could cost them the game. I think the Lakers should really focus on having every possession in the final minutes of a game feature the Kobe and Gasol as the focal points with Fisher and Ron ready to catch and shoot and Bynum ready to flash to the rim for the dunk. Let Kobe set the table by forcing a double team or take his man one-on-one, we shouldn’t ask Fisher or Artest to try and create in key moments.

  14. Darius: As someone who has been infuriated by the odd refereeing in the series (nay, entire postseason) I have to say that these last 5 minutes really illustrate your point about the fact that it is on the players to not let the refs decide the game.

    There were some horrible calls down the stretch that really hurt the Lakers, but they were only able to hurt the Lakers because they didn’t secure rebounds, didn’t get the ball into the post effectively, and were careless with the ball.

    Up 3 with 5 minutes left and when you read the breakdown there were only 2 possessions that went into the post. TWO. Five minutes, TWO attempts in the post in (by my calculations) were 8+ possessions in a game when our bigs had 40+ points and the entire Celtic front-line was hovering around 5 fouls.

    Ron’s last two fouls were bogus. The out of bounds play is unforgiveable…but if you change 2/8 possessions going to the post into 5/8 or even 4/8, and we might be talking about how the Lakers pulled one out despite the calls at the end.

    I’ve also seen a lot of pundits saying our defense fell apart in the last 5 minutes, but from what I see here, other than the desperation trap against Allen that led to the Perkins layup, our defense played pretty well – the Celtics just made shots (e.g. the Rondo 18 foot jumper – the only shot you’d want more than that is a Perkins 18 footer) or worked their asses off to get the matchups they needed.

    I still say the Lakers are in great shape to win tonight. If Drew’s knee is about the same as it was on Sunday, then the Celtics just have no answer inside.

  15. I always start watching the game about an hour or so after tip using my DVR (so I can skip past the commercials and game delays) and still watch the end live. At about the :59 mark in the 4th, I was greatful that I was able to fast-forward and mercifully reach the end–simply unbearable to watch. I thought I’d be able to get through Darius’s post above, but same result. My eyes instinctively dropped to the end of the post…too painful.

  16. These games are called the Finals for a reason.

  17. Paging Lamar Odom. Lamar Odom, please report to the NBA Finals immediately.

    2 Games
    8 points
    9 Rebounds
    3-9 Shooting
    2 Assists
    1 Block
    3 Turnovers
    10 PERSONAL FOULS

    AT HOME!!!!

    What the F Lamar!?!?

  18. @Walter (#13)
    Exactly, Kobe is a good ballhandler, no reason he cannot get the ball just about every half court possession down the stretch! If necessary, get it to him near mid-court, what ever it takes; he will still find ways to make a solid possession of it.

    I would even say that that stretch of Kobe-possessions on avarage would net us even more than what they did last night…

  19. Darius,

    I don’t understan Phil, Lakers made an adjustment to Allen after first half, it is too late. In the 4th quarter, Phil did not call time out to help players, Doc Rivers ran out to the floor, he was a little bit crazy but he wants to win now, we don’t need a coach to sit in the press room and tell us, yeah, we did not to do this do that,…, in the 4th quarter. I feel sorry for Dr.Buss, somebody still don’t appreciate 12 million dollars a year.

  20. Great breakdown, it should be required reading for both Kobe and Ron.