Lakers/Celtics Game 5: Down, But Not Out

Phillip Barnett —  June 13, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shoots over Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen in the third quarter during Game 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Boston, Massachusetts, June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Last night’s loss was tough to stomach. The Celtics didn’t just win, but they controlled the tempo, they dictated the Lakers offense and had their most impressive offensive performance of these Finals, shooting 56 percent from the field including 66 percent in the first half – but it never seemed as if the game was out of reach until the final buzzer rang. On the flip side, the Lakers never were in sync offensively, it was one of their worst defensive performances this post season and they weren’t able to make any of the big plays the Celtics were able to make down the stretch, but still, a comeback didn’t seem improbable until the game was actually over.

The Lakers came out early and were aggressive attacking the rim. The ball went to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum early and often, the theme for the Lakers this post season. Bynum was much more active than he was in Game 4 and combined with Derek Fisher to score the Lakers first 15 points of the game with ‘Drew scoring six of the 15. And that’s exactly what the Lakers wanted early – good contributions from guys not named Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to open up things for their stars later in the game.

The problem is, things really didn’t open up for anyone later in the game as the Celtics defense was stingy all night. We got to spend the first half watching the Boston defense put a clinic on how to stop a star with team defense and it started with Ray Allen. Allen did a great job of just being in a position to get a hand up on all of Kobe’s jumpers. The Celtics did what they could to funnel Kobe to where help would be and forcing other guys to make shots. Early in the game, I sent Darius a text saying that the Lakers success is going to depend on whether or not role players were going to be able to knock down the wide open looks they were going to be given – in Game 5, they didn’t knock down those shots.

Ron Artest was the recipient of a lot of those Kobe passes out of double teams and ended up shooting two for nine. Derek Fisher contributed zero points after scoring nine of the first 15 for the Lakers – he also shot two for nine. Jordan Farmar? 0 for four. The Celtics have decided that they’re just going to pack the paint and force Kobe to make contested jumpers or take their chances with the Lakers other parameter guys, and it’s working. Not only does this bring down the efficiency of the Lakers parameter players, but it reduces the overall efficiency of the offense. By packing the paint, they’ve made it much easier to defend Pau Gasol, who has seen his productivity decrease significantly since averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds in the first two games of this series. In Game 5, he had a line of 12 and 12, a far cry from his 23 and 14 performance in Game 1. The Celtics have a great defensive scheme, and the Lakers have made it easy on them by not moving the ball and not dribbling with purpose. They’ve taken way too many outside jumpers, which have led to better scoring opportunities for the Celtics.

However, it would be irresponsible to just blame this loss on the Lakers collective lack of offensive efficiency. They were just terrible defensively. Paul Pierce went to work on the Lakers early, and the Celtics found something that the Lakers had trouble defending. Instead of trying to free up Paul Pierce in screen and roll situations, they simply put him in iso situations and allowed him to go to work. I haven’t seen so many 1-4 low sets for one offensive player in a very long time. Pierce scored affectively against Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton. He was able to hit big-shot-after-big-shot, even some extremely tough ones with a defender draped all over him, and when he was double-teamed, he made the right plays – and when he didn’t make the play, other guys stepped up. Kendrick Perkins had a nice tip over Gasol. Rajon Rondo had a HUGE tip in over Kobe and LO.

It was those kind of plays that made all of the difference in this game. Tony Allen had that block on Pau Gasol and Paul Pierce made that great pass to an alert Rajon Rondo on that crucial inbounds play. Down the stretch for the Lakers, the watch rebounds go off of their hands out of bounds, they missed free throws and didn’t grab loose balls. The Celtics made all of the hustle plays down the stretch after Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo put them in a position to win it.

I will say that Kobe did have an ultra explosive third quarter. He scored 17 of his 19 points in the first six minutes of the quarter. There was a point where he had scored 23 straight for the Lakers and had 10 of the Lakers 20 field goals. Kobe literally kept the Lakers within reach hitting some of the toughest jump shots you’re going to see a man make, but it just wasn’t enough. Kobe dropping 38 would have gotten the Lakers a victory against the Suns, Jazz or Thunder, but not against a Boston team that is going to make the little plays that win championships.

The series shifts back to Los Angeles for Games 6 and 7, and if the Lakers are going to pull this thing out, they’re going to have to tighten up their defense and move the ball offensively. It’s not something that cannot be done, but those are the kind of things that make champions. Tuesday we’re going to find out if this Lakers team has the resolve to bounce back from being down in a playoff series. I know that they have all of the tools to get it done, it’s just a matter of focus and execution.

Phillip Barnett

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94 responses to Lakers/Celtics Game 5: Down, But Not Out

  1. If the Lakers lose this series, they will really be kicking themselves. All three games that we lost were within grasp, but late-game execution just failed. Let’s not forget critical turnovers or missed chances down the stretch (i.e. two missed technical free-throw shots by Kobe and Fish late in 4th).

    I am definitely not saying the Lakers will lose, so relax. Personally, I feel that the Lakers will win every single game, perhaps that is why I feel more frustration than most people when the Lakers lose games that were winnable.

    The Lakers may be down right now, but definitely not out. The Lakers’ homecourt advantage is still intact. Take care of business at home and all will be well.

    I personally never check ESPN’s website, NBA TV, or the ESPN channel, after a Lakers loss. Coincidentally, most of the times that the Lakers lost, I did not see the game. However, I do come here, to read insights and post-game talks, instead of ESPN’s NBA page where they basically glorify the winner and does not really dab into in-depth analysis (most of the time).

  2. Hey Phil, Bynum was basically ineffective again tonight, only had 1 rebound and 6 points. Given his limited mobility, how much is he hurting the team being out there. I know that Odom and Gasol starting aren’t favorable matchups but how much more can the team get out of the poor kid.

  3. Here’s what worries me. The Celtics have won every single must win game in this series.

    They won game 2 when they had to.

    They won game 4 to avoid going down 3-1

    They won game 5 to avoid going down 3-2 heading to LA.

    They are going to treat game 6 as a must win. The Lakers need to figure out how to match their energy, defense and execution or it’s going to be bad.

  4. Kobe scores 38 and the Lakers only get 86 total. That’s what happens when only one guy (kobe) shows up in the biggest game of the year to date.

    I knew kobe would play well, but I was confident that Pau, Fish, and Lamar would as well. Other than Fish’s first 5 minutes of the game, and some Pau rebounds in the fourth quarter none of them performed as well as needed if you want to win not only a game on the road, but a pivotal 2-2 game five. Complete disappointment; that isn’t how a championship team performs.

    Although i didn’t post it (and therefore have no proof), but I was terribly worried coming in that the Celtics were going to shoot over 50% tonight (I would have said mid 50s), for three reasons: 1) the C’s got their swagger back in the fourth of game four, 2) they’ve shot below avg for the series and were due, 3) it’s their final home game of the year.

    Unfortunately, as I said above, I thought the Lakers were going to play better than they did. If not for Kobe’s 3rd (and some Celtic turnovers in the 2nd) the Lakers surely would have lost by a relatively large number.

    Gasol’s impact on the series is getting less by the game. If the Lakers are going to win this series their second best player (and one of the best in the league) has GOT to play better. Not just put up better numbers, but have a bigger *impact*.

    I’m expecting the emotion of being at home, with their backs against the wall, to get the Lakers an early lead. Will they hold on is the question.

    In addition to Gasol playing better (as well as everyone else not name Kobe), we’d better find a way of better defending Pierce. It looked like 2008 again.

    Now I’m off to see if I can get some sleep. Probably not. :(

  5. Wondering why in a rough and tough game. DJ did not even suit up. Morrision did instead.

    Wonder why in a game we could not shoot other then Kobe, Shanon Brown played ZERO ZERO ZERO minutes.

    Wonder what Phil is thinking

    Wonder why Phil sticks with Artest in the closing minutes who has a history of missing freethrows and shots in his career.

    Just wondering in general.

  6. i’m simply amazed by the doom and gloom I read in the previous post. IT IS NOT OVER! and it’s NOT 2008. LET THAT GO! I expect Bynum to better than Garnett and I expect to see Bynum playing hard in the 4q. I expect Arest to draped on Pierce like the sweat under that nasty headband Pierce wears. Game 5 was the best the Celtics played and it won’t happen again. I don’t think Kobe won’t make the same mistakes he made in the 4q and I expect more from Pau and Farmar. God knows what planet LO is on and whether he can finally show up for a game. And we need the crowd at Staple to WAKE UP! My apologies for the caps. All is not lost. The Celtics did what they had to do. We will win game 6 if we play like we know how to play!

  7. From Last Thread (After I ranted enough…)

    To be a fan of a sports team – any sports team – you have to be willing to take the down nights as well as enjoy the good nights. This is definitely a downer night, but it is not our last night. I know I have been ranting on this blog all night, but basically this comes down to how the Lakers play on their home court. Switch games 2 and 3 (which you really could do), and each team has held serve. I was not one to believe the Celtics would go down easy, and I know our guys aren’t losing at home without one hell of a fight.

    I can (and probably will) sulk about this loss (as well as game 4), until Tuesday nights game starts, but the Lakers absolutely cannot. They gotta come out pissed – the same way they were in game 1 – and hold their home court in game 6. The Celtics still have to beat us 1 more time, at our house, and that is no easy task. The fans better be ready to go bonkers – cuz if I was there I would, and the Lakers better be ready to hit shots and take blows.
    We are not down and out yet. We are in a tough series – one that we can win, and cannot give up. We aren’t down 0-3 or 1-3, or even 0-2, but 3-2. And the only way to make sure we get that game 7 is to win our game 6.

    I am as frustrated as many of you tonight, but this series and season are not over. We just have a big test on Tuesday that the Lakers need to pass.

    Our backs are officially against the wall – down in a series and facing a close out game – for the first time since 2008. Let’s show em what we have learned.

    Dino,
    This is the finals – every win is a must win. The Lakers won a must win game 3 to not go down in the series and take HCA back. The Lakers won a must win game 1 to set an initial tone and show they wouldn’t be bullied.

    If the Celtics had won games 1, 3, and 5, you would have said the same thing, or any permutation of the 5 games that have been played. After five games as close as it can be is 3-2 or 2-3, and a series isn’t over till that 4th game is won.

  8. Well, at least this will be over one way or another by Thursday.

  9. DINO – well, we won game 1, which was a must, considering phils record after winning game 1. we also wont game three, which is one of the games (out of the three) that we needed to win on the road. to be honest, the celtics needed this a lot more than we did, even though we could have used this win, obviously. but, if we were up 3-2 with 2 home games, the celtics would have zero chance.

    people, this is how its supposed to be. would u rather have to win 2 out of 2 home games? or 1 out of 2 on the road in a hostile environment? we are not in as bad position as everyone thinks we are.

    all we need to do is win game 6, a home game, and we will be fine. lets not think about having to win both. we, right now are favored (oddsmakers as of now favor us by 6.5 pts) and then, when we win game 6, we will be favored to win game 7.

    the problem is that our guys know this, they played with no defensive effort or intensity because they know that all they needed was 1 of 3 in beantown. we are 9 – 1 at home in the offseason. we don’t usually lose at home. and all we have to do, is not lose game 6, which is at home.

    im ranting now, so ill stop, but last thing. i like that shannon brown didn’t play and vujacic did. shannon is a liability on defense and sasha is one of the only players i trust to hit the three when kobe kicks it out to him.

  10. can’t say I felt too bad after this one, unlike game 4 where I felt they were in control of the game for 3 quarters and could’ve taken charge in the 4th quarter.

    I’m going to have some faith that the role players will step up better at home, and please, let’s establish Pau early on Tuesday so Kobe doesn’t have to feel like it’s all on him!

  11. 4: against this Celtics team i’d rather have to win 1 out of 2 in Boston than 2 out of 2 at staples. no question.

  12. this series is looking so much like 1988…lakers vs. detroit…split first two games at forum, then lakers win game 3 at silverdome, then lose 4 & 5 badly to detroit to come back home 2-3. Lakers barely won #6 and #7 for first repeat since russell’s celtics.

    THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN FOR THIS REPEAT!

  13. Six consecutive blown calls by the refs in the final 1:13 of the game finished the Lakers for good and handed Boston the game.

    Still, the fact that LA shot 33% for most of the game (vs. Boston’s 66%) but were within 5 at the end when the refs blew the game shows how lucky both teams were; Both for the Celtics to pull out a win and for the Lakers to be within reach.

    Coming back home to warm, beautiful LA and sleeping in their own beds is going to revitalize the Lakers, especially knowing we don’t go back to Boston. Game 6 is ours. Game 7 is going to be decided in the 3rd quarter.

  14. Refs clearly favored the Celtics in game 5 The NBA has become WWE of sports. NBA must need the cash to have a 7 game series. I called FOXSPORTS Radio and they wouldn’t let me have my say on radio but i recalled and said that I was a Celtic fans and got on and had my say about all the non calls for the Lakers tonight! They cut me off in 5 seconds but I said it! I say it again ESPN is Bias as are their announcers on Ch.7 ESPN’s radio camments etc.. LAKERS IN 7 aholes!

  15. Lakers in 7 for sure.

  16. We got 2 games at home to win, honestly, if we can’t win these 2, we don’t deserve to be champions.

  17. Kurt, good post, good analysis. But I’m afraid it’s absurd weight the little things when you have the key in the refs. They not only biased the calls but did it looking closely to the scoreboard. It’s not about defense or attack it’s plain fraud

  18. One of the commetators (I can’t remember if it was JVG or Mark Jackson) said Kobe didn’t trust his teammates tonight. I couldn’t believe when I heard that.

    I thought Kobe played a phenomenal game and did everything he could to help us win. Other Lakers simply did not come to play.

    Why is it that when the Lakers lose, the criticism is always Kobe is not a good teamate, selfish etc, etc. Don’t other Lakers have to be accountable too?

  19. I also agreed with Phil’s call to go with Sasha over Brown. Shannon has never looked good in this series, he’s at his best in the open floor and on broken plays. Against a great Celtics defense, that almost never happens and you need people who will move the ball within the offense and hit the open shot. Unfortunately, that was neither Fisher nor Farmar tonight.

  20. Home sweet home, the onus is on the folks that are going to the games to match even a quarter of the Boston fans’ passion. If you’re going to the games just to be seen, at least be seen cheering and not texting like D-Wade’s son tonight. Celebs, wannabes, execs, whoever you are, Kobe and the boys need you on Tuesday.

  21. Except for Kobe, I don’t like the body language that I’m seeing on the Lakers. They look like they are willing to accept defeat. I hope I’m wrong.

    Win or lose next game I just want to see the team play with passion, aggression, even some anger.

  22. I have never said this before but the referring in game 5 was the saddest display I have ever seen. The lakers certainly didn’t play well but the ref’s really should have been wearing celtics jerseys.

  23. I’m watching the game now, and I must admit I have not seen the 4th yet. But, I’m surprised at some of your complaints about the officials. The lakers got the vast majority of the calls in the first three quarters. To me it seems like the officials were trying to keep the lakers in the game. Not sure what some of you guys were watching. The Celtics just hit shots, something they haven’t done for most of the series and the Lakers stood around too much, while watching kobe do his thing.

  24. Again with the refs. Is it only the refs fault when the Lakers lose? What about when the Lakers win – is that because of the refs too? I sorely wish fans wouldn’t play the ref card every time the Lakers end up on the short side of the points ledger.

  25. here’s the thing with the refs. its not that they’re for or against us, but they aren’t letting a team make a comeback and steal a game. they want this to go 7, and its obvious.

    game 4, the kobe blocking call on pierce which was a blatant charge, that was a call that in effect, stopped any chance we had at stealing that game.

    tonight, when fish won the tip and kobe chucked it to ron, that was a clear path foul, which means 2 shots and the ball, but they didn’t call it. again, a call that didn’t let us steal the game. there were a bunch more tonight but im blanking on them right now.

    this is where the officiating is really getting to me. they are shifting momentum and not allowing that last minute upset. yes, we turned it over and played poorly, but in these last two games, we haven’t had the opportunity to steal a game without the refs having their say first.

    anybody else feel this way too?????

  26. I want to believe, I really do. But the Celtics have played the last 2 games like they want it more. They play more in tune and with more patience. I have yet to see a game where we play that way for 4 quarters. I feel like the team is falling apart at the seams and Kobe is desperately trying to keep them going. As great as he is, he cannot win it alone. Here’s to hoping. I want to believe.

  27. Folks on this board and the thousands who can’t afford a ticket to Game 6 aside, my concern is the crowd at Staples.

    The Lakers just spent the past week having bottles thrown at them for 3 straight games. Wheras the Celtics will hob-nob with the stars, have dinner at Katsuya and only have to deal with a ‘Boston Sucks’ chant in the first quarter. They need only a 5 point lead in the third for people to start clearing the building.

    Yes, Pau and LO will have to show up Tuesday. But so do we.

  28. I agree with Darius that the refs shouldn’t be blamed just when the Lakers lose. It does seem that bad calls even out over time.

    However, Stern does need to address the problem of bad officiating by, well, fixing the problem instead of trying to paper it over with fines of coaches, players and owners who often rightfully critique the poor work done by the refs.

  29. Darius

    In all fairness, fans often go after the refs when they win too. Except they say the Lakers won despite the refs always being against them. The better question would be, how often, if ever, do fans see their team getting help (esp. game-winning help) from the refs?

    On the quote: “We got 2 games at home to win, honestly, if we can’t win these 2, we don’t deserve to be champions.”

    Ummm, this seems sorta obvious. If they don’t then they’re not champs, if they do then they are. I don’t see how a team that loses four games in the finals deserves to be champions.

  30. While Kobe has played with some very good and even great players, and is now playing with a team stacked with good players, he is the only player I can think of who has won a championship while no other consistently “clutch” players to play along side of. Pau simply did not show up tonight. And it wasn’t just Boston’s defense limiting his offense. His defense against KG was abysmal. Why in the world would you front a guy who you have two inches on when he pulls you out to the high post? I don’t know, maybe so he can get an east back basket on you?

  31. It’s fitting you called the Lakers guards parameter players, seeing as they have no perimeter game.

    Aside from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have no perimeter players better than Delonte West. That won’t cut it in today’s NBA when the other team has three All-Stars at guard positions.

  32. You know, I found it worrisome that Kobe hit back to back threes TWICE in game 4 and it’s like the C’s didn’t even flinch. The Lakers practically fell apart in ’08 when Pierce did it once after his “injury”.

  33. well this is it. we lose, we don’t deserve to be champs and that will be tough for me to swallow. like darius, x and o talk won’t just do. not momentums because we don’t have much, not talent because the refs can hand you a slap or you get pushed around like pau or lamar will do. it is will time.

    i wish i had a ticket to game 6. not the case. we need staples packed with a desperation of a boxer on the edge and with the passion of an underdog about to be world cup champs. shame on this la poser crowd if it doesn’t come close to that. bleed purple and gold or go home.

    i expect nothing but a will victory, a beat-up if need be. and i feel good about our chances than in 08. we were fighting for the most part of this series thus far. kobe has to have enough high-30s in his legs. it will boil down to how he will dominate. …oh and our defense too.

    GO LAKERS!

  34. Grow up people. Did the refs make Boston shoot 56% and the Lakers 39%.

    Lakers took twice, twice, twice as many foul shots as Boston 26 to 13.

    Our team is being out shot, out played, out worked and beat.

    Artest, Ko and Gasol played like sissys.

    Stop blaming the refs and deal with the truth. We have 2 players playing hard, Kobe and Fish and the rest going through the motions.

    If you want to blame anybody blame Phil for learning nothing from 2008 and being out coached again by Rivers.

    How about getting your team ready for game 5. Put the blame where it belongs.

  35. “he is the only player I can think of who has won a championship while no other consistently “clutch” players to play along side of.”

    Fisher isn’t “clutch”? Ariza’s shooting wasn’t “Clutch”? Pau abusing Howard’s D last year wasn’t “Clutch”? Hell, Artest and Pau have had hugely clutch moments in this playoff run with those put backs.

    Seems like a one-game overreaction. I’m sure you can find less “clutch” supporting casts. Pippin wasn’t particularly “clutch.” Not sure who else was “clutch” on Duncan’s first two title teams (Stephen Jackson? Avery Johnson?). I’d go further back, but it get’s difficult since title teams in the 80’s were so stacked and center-based teams don’t really fit into this mold.

  36. this tim donekey guy messed up the league,incredible non calls or phantom touch fouls.
    Other than that KG and PP played great (save from his playacting).

  37. This was not on the refs. This was on Pau, Odom, Fish, Artest and Phil. They all STUNK and for the second straight game, they blew a killer performance from Kobe.

  38. Blaming the refs for this one is really a reach. There were plenty of examples of bad calls (again), to be sure, but this one was decided by the players and coaches.

    As for the players, how many assists did the Lakers have? How many charges did the Lakers draw? How many loose balls did the Lakers get to first? How many free throws did the Lakers miss? How many offensive boards did they give up to the Celtics (on a night the C’s shot lights out, no less)? How many layups did the Lakers give up?

    The answers to those questions are why the Lakers lost this game. That, and the fact that our 10-time champion coach was again showed up by Doc Rivers. Funny how with time to adjust to the Celtic defense as the series goes on and our offense has scored fewer points in each successive game.

    For those who did not hear him, Dr. Jack Ramsay had some interesting comments after the game about the Lakers offense. First, he said that the triangle offense is a predictable offense, and in a playoff series a well-coached defense can make adjustments to stop it. We are seeing that quite clearly in this series, as Boston’s defense keeps getting better, and Laker offense keeps getting worse.

    Darius has criticized me for criticizing Jackson, and suggested that wanting a different coach who would make adjustments was “laughable” given that you can’t just make adjustments to make the offense better. Of course, this position is consistent with Dr. Ramsay’s point that the triangle is what it is, and isn’t an offense that “evolves” as the series progresses–which is why it is easier to defend as time goes on.

    My point, however, is that it is the triangle offense itself that needs to be changed (something that won’t happen with this coach). We have none of the flexibility to make necessary adjustments, so great defensive teams learn how to defend it better and better as the series goes on (and we score fewer and fewer points accordingly). Contrast that with what Boston is doing….

    Ramsay’s second point about the triangle is that it is essentially an offense designed to get open shots. Jump shots, that is. Well that’s fine and dandy when you have the likes of Craig Hodges, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, MJ, Pippen or any of the other great shooters that Jackson’s teams had in Chicago. The Lakers simply don’t have that luxury because we pretty much have nobody that can consistently make jump shots (besides Kobe, and the Celtics tilt their defense towards him).

    For those who argue that the triangle produced 4 other titles (with the Lakers), I’d point out that 3 of them were won with a center that just dominated the middle in the way that no other player ever has (since Wilt), and in a way that this year’s team can’t dream of if Andrew is hurt. That leaves last year, which was largely the result of a favorable schedule that did not force the Lakers to play any real good defensive teams on the way to the title.

    So, I’ve been clamoring for adjustments, but both Darius and Dr. Ramsay say the same thing: there really aren’t any. On NBA TV after the game, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith essentially said the same thing, with Barkley saying that the only “adjustment” the Lakers can make going forward is to just “play better”. Great.

    I don’t doubt that the Lakers can, and probably will, play better in game 6. However, to rely on “home court” as the panacea to what is presently a very flawed team (compared to the Celtics) might be wishful thinking. Lamar has a long history of disappearing just as well at home as he does on the road, and Artest hasn’t exactly torn it up at Staples.

    If game 6 is close in the 4th quarter, the Celtics will be the looser team, and our guys will be feeling huge pressure. I think we’ll win, but I’m not putting any money on this one….

  39. 31 – “How about getting your team ready for game 5.”

    Too late for that …

  40. Difference between Celtics and Lakers in this game summed up in couple plays for me. When Pau was denying pass to KG by fronting him, rondo passed over pau and kg got an uncontested layup. When lakers tried passing over the top to Pau, Tony Allen runs 20feet to block Gasol’s shot.

  41. Since Game 4, the greenshirts have been getting their swagger back at an exponential rate. Bad news for the Lakers, and us – their fans.

  42. Magic Johnson is a sellout! Every segment he sounds like he is Pro Celtic! He was my favorite player of AllTime until tonight. This was hi 3rd time during the series when he has downed a Team that has been so good to him. Is he just afraid of Kobe being dubbed as the greatest Laker of AllTime? In game 4 he actually picked the Celtics to win. Can you believe that?! Please help me understand.

  43. Could we please stop talking about the officiating? If the Lakers were up 3-2, there wouldn’t be this series of endless posts about officiating that ultimately lead nowhere.

    I know Kobe is more frustrated than anyone right now and it’s not because of the refs, but because his team can’t step up in the biggest game (so far) in this playoff. I don’t know about you guys, but the thought of Boston hoisting the trophy at Staples Center makes me want to jump off a cliff. Let’s hope that our players will execute better down the stretch and have a champion’s poise and heart. Is it stupid to think it’s less about X’s and O’s and more about determination and effort at this stage of the season?

  44. #24 jordan has a GREAT point of the clear path foul. I didnt even realize that atthe time iw as just pissed ron artest didnt try to make the layup and was waiting for the foul.

  45. I have been watching the replay of the past games of the Lakers even the 2008 finals and their offense is clearly out of sink. In games 2 to 5 they have not moved the ball well. Their offense would be either posting Pau around 15 feet from the basket or having kobe take a difficult 18 footer fade away shot. Compared to the past three series I have not seen a post entry to Pau and a subsequent dive by either Ron or Lamar or any other Laker player. Lakers are taking tough shots after tough shots. Well Kobe’s complaining that they did not play good D on game 5. But this Laker team plays good D when their offense is clicking and they are more energized to play D when they convert their shots.I would just like to ask if it is the Celtics defense or the lakers offense that is doing this.

  46. This loss just really messed me up, for some reason. I am just destroyed by how we let some of these Final’s games slip through our fingers. The good thing is that we still have HCA, nothing has changed that, until we get knocked out cold.

    “If the point is sharp, and the arrow is swift, it can pierce through the dust no matter how thick.” – Bob Dylan

  47. Granted, both teams won a game on each others’ home court, but the 2-3-2 format has given Boston the advantage. I still stand firm in believing that the 2-3-2 can allow the non HCA team to benefit from simply doing what they should do and at no point should the status quo (ie winning games at home or trading wins on each others home court) lead to an advantage for the non-HCA team.

  48. R-that was my point. Phil and the coaching staff SHOULD have had this team ready for game 5 and didn’t. 56% shooting in a playoff game is not what champs are made of.

    When 7 of the 9 guys looked like they didn’t care isen’t that a problem with the coaching staff getting the team ready.

    Or is it bad fish they all eat for dinner?

  49. Little (or perhaps no) consolation but Kobe actually hit quite a few personal Playoff milestones tonight:

    5000th point
    1000th rebound
    950th assist (multiples of 50 are milestones right?) :)
    Moved from 4th to 2nd on 3FGM list (overtook Billups and Horry)
    Moved from 5th to 4th on FTM list (overtook Shaq)
    Joined Jordan as only player with three 600+ point postseasons and only person to do it three consecutive years (Only achieved 15 times by 9 players: Barkley x 1, Bird x 2, Kobe x 3, Iverson x 1, Jordan x 3, Dirk x 1, Shaq x 1, Hakeem x 2 and Wade x1)

    I think he, along with all of us, would have preferred the W though.

  50. I am looking forward to Game 6 . I hope that all of the lakers in uniform shows up as the famous Chinese proverb says “Tomorrow will always be a better day”

  51. First, that wasn’t a clear path foul. It was a shooting foul. If Paul fouled him way before the basket and behind him, then it was clear path. since he was already in the act of shooting, it stopped being a clear path foul and just became a shooting foul.

    Second, the refs weren’t the reason we lost the game. We lost because we had ONE guy show up. Pau looked really out of sorts, and I was most disappointed in him. He seemed to be settling for a lot of outside shots. But what bothered me the most was his defense on KG. But I can point to everyone on the team except for Kobe for this crappy loss.

    Now. We have 2 games. At home. On our Court! Most people here were saying HOME COURT ADVANTAGE was important for this very damn reason. So we should be where we want to be. Let’s go! Run the damn offense. Have some intensity. Fight for every god damn ball! Fall on the floor. Get to the basket make the refs call fouls on the other team. And do the things that made us successful. Into the post, movement, and kobe + Pau.

  52. It’s not the ref’s fault that we lost, it’s just that they were a critical factor in the last two minutes. The Lakers played absolutely horrible with the (eventual) exception of Kobe, as we shot only 33% for most of the game compared to Boston’s 66% for most of it.

    The thing is, somehow, in the final couple minutes, we were still within 5 points. That’s when the refs called the ball in Boston’s favor and reset the shot clock with 1 minute left in the game. To use the announcer’s words, “That bad call just changed the entire game in the Celtic’s favor.”

    Kobe and Artest each had two phantom fouls, all given right when we were gaining momentum and pushing back into the game within 6, 5, and 4 points. And Pierce and Garnett were going over our backs all game with no calls. Not to mention Tony Allen’s full-body foul on Gasol the officials let go and called a clean block. C’mon. Imagine if Josh Powell made that same move on Kevin Garnett? Instant free throws for KG.

    So while I chalk up the majority of the blame for this loss on the Lakers’ poor play, we still had a chance to win it at the end, but the bad officiating kept us out.

  53. @lakerfan and Jordan – I could be wrong but I think a clear path foul has to be further away from the basket, Ron needs to hit some damn freethrows.

    Tuesday can’t come fast enough…we can’t possibly lose three in a row right guys?

  54. Mike Penberthy June 14, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Magic always says whatever is a popular thing to say at the time, whatever people want to hear. He wants to be liked so much by everybody that he will never actually say what he thinks. Magic doesn’t have an original thought in his body, and if he does he certainly won’t say it publically.

    What’s sad is there are some former players who actually say what they really think and can offer some real insight into the game (Rick Barry, even Walton did on occasion). Instead espn and all sports media go for safe cliche spouting drones like Magic. To say nothing of the fact that microphone is just not Magic’s friend.

  55. When it comes to the refs, people see what they want/expect to see. Is it any surprise that two fans of different teams will see the same call in completely different ways, and both will be sure that they’re right and the other is wrong? Our perception is biased.

    Also, we tend to remember the hits and forget the misses. I’m sure if you asked a Celtics fan, they could recall a number of questionable calls that hurt the Leps. As Laker fans we simply ignore those instances and focus on the calls that hurt our team.

    I was most disappointed in Gasol this game, not because he was our worst player on the floor, but because I’m used to him being so much better. I hated his body language – he lacked confidence and aggression and looked defeated. I think he’s ready to get out of Boston.

    If Kobe can play as well as he did today, I think the rest of the cast will play well enough in Staples to take game 6.

    Especially Gasol. Step up Big Spaniard.

  56. I have been watching the replay of the past games of the Lakers even the 2008 finals. I have noticed that compared to the last series the LAKERS ARE PLAYING VERY WELL ON THE OFFENSIVE END. However, in the finals the lakers offense is clearly out of sink. In games 2 to 5 they have not moved the ball well. Their offense would be either posting Pau around 15 feet from the basket or having kobe take a difficult 18 footer fade away shot. Compared to the past three series I have not seen a post entry to Pau and a subsequent dive/cut by either Ron or Lamar or any other Laker player. Lakers are taking tough shots after tough shots. Well Kobe’s complaining that they did not play good D on game 5. But this Laker team plays good D when their offense is clicking and they are more energized to play D when they convert their shots.I would just like to ask if it is the Celtics defense or the lakers offense that is doing this.

  57. If you want to see how Lakers need to change lineups to win series check out my post on waynewinston.com.

  58. We are missing Bynum. Missing his rebounding and it also seems his already challenged speed has been further reduced a tad.

    Bynum and Gasol had Kevin-Perkins for breakfeast in game 1 and 2… I hope we will see the same thing upon returning to Staples Center.

  59. I think the problems for the Lakers in this game can be summed up like this:

    -First half, Lakers score only 39 points, i.e. no-one is playing well

    -3Q, Kobe heats up dramatically. He dominates the possessions for the quarter. Other Lakers score something like 7 points for the quarter (and mostly in the final minute). They don’t even get involved in the play through assists to Kobe as he is just making ridiculously tough iso jumpers.

    -4Q, Kobe still has it going, but no-one else does (they haven’t really seen the ball since half time). In the end, Kobe can’t get it done all by himself (e.g. his turnovers late in the fourth that led to Rondo points, a developing theme for him in the last few games)

    So do you blame Kobe for not sharing the ball more in the third, leaving everyone else cold? Certainly some people have made this point (see, e.g. http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/06/nba-finals-lakers-celtics-game-5-kobe-bryant-hit-lightspeed-and-left-the-lakers-behind.phpg)

    But I don’t think you really can. Why? Because in the third the Celtics were scoring with ridiculously high efficiency on the other end. They actually increased their lead even while Kobe was dominating. Thus every time Kobe came down the floor he felt, understandably, like the game was about to slip away from LA. The lead was always on the verge of going from a manageable 10 points to 15 or even 20. Boston’s offense was just that good.

    Kobe couldn’t afford to take a possession off and try and get his teammates involved. In normal circumstances I think he might have, even if he thought by passing it around it might actually lessen their chance to score on that particular possession because it would have long-term benefits by giving him a little respite, and not turning the rest of his team ice cold. To his credit, that’s what Kobe has learned in the past 5 years – the need to share. Short term sacrifice for a long term gain. But it just wasn’t an option at this point: the game was in the balance on every possession.

    So I think LA really needs to look at its defense, particularly in the 3rd, as the determining factor in this game.

    (From a C’s Fan)

    Oh and @ #42 Everclear and everyone else making similar points: blaming, even partly, LA’s loss the refs in this one is just… silly. Look at the total PFs on each team (pretty even), and look at LA’s huge FT advantage… I mean, come on….

  60. I was surprised to see that Bynum had 30+ minutes tonight. Honestly when I thought back at the game I saw I only remembered him in the first five minutes and then a foul in the second half.

  61. Swirsky’s Soldier June 14, 2010 at 5:16 am

    I actually was quite suprised no clear path foul was called on Pierce. I understand it may have been a bit out of the ordinary because Artest was already going up for his shot when the foul happened (as opposed to on the break) but all the conditions were met.

    A foul committed by a defender in an attempt to stop a breakaway layup. This is a special case foul in which two conditions must be satisfied:

    1. The defender must be behind the opposing player when committing the foul.
    2. There are absolutely no players in the path of the offensive player

    Artest was on the break, Pierce was behind him and no one was between Artest and the bucket.

    Regardless, dude has to hit his FTs. That was a pretty pathetic display.

  62. All the Lakers got to do is play some zone defense, push the ball faster up court,and don’t play that tiangle offense all the time,they kill Boston because they are older players

  63. I’m confident the Lakers can take advantage of HCA and win the series. I think they will get more from everybody.

    However, it is extremely dissapointing to watch 2 consecutive games where your superstar is making all of the plays and the only one showing the desire to win. Last night he did everything; made shots to keep them in the game, had their only blocked shot of the game and even made the tough guy play when he fouled Pierce hard. For everyone other than Kobe I give a D for effort. That block the Tony Allen had on Pau was discusting. Did he not think there was going to be somebody there to contest it? It’s easy to see that they didn’t get much from anybody not named Kobe just by looking at the box score but Kobe was also the only one making effor plays (intangibles) out there.

    Either way, as long as we get rolling on offense in game 6 I have no doubt we can take this series. The C-Words just seem to carry the Lakers through games like last night because they can’t score enough points and the Lakers D was terrible.

  64. Coming home will help. Phil’s got one day to get Pau back to believing. For the second straight game, I did not see a confident Pau Gasol at the end.

    I said before he’s looked tentative and just “off” ever since the series shifted to Boston, and I think coming home will help, but someone’s got to help him get his head right again.

    We’re not going to get too much from Bynum. He has no faith in his knee. He had a good first quarter, but winced on all of his FG’s and just seemed overly worried afterward, affecting his defense and rebounding.

    Being at home may help him too, I don’t know.

    The biggest help being at home should give us I would imagine we’ll see in players like Farmar and Walton…and we’ll need that.

    I give us a 60% shot at winning on Tuesday. Maybe I’m being generous, but that’s my gut reaction.

    This loss was incredibly tough. We allowed them to shoot a high percentage, but created a lot of turnovers (how else does a team shoot 56% and not break 100 points?).

    They had a double-digit lead with the game easily in-hand but we kept it in doubt until the last 30 seconds.

    They got a few lucky bounces, from the phantom rim-touch to get a fresh 24 second clock to the incredible inbounds play that lead to a Rondo layup.

    Yes, the Lakers need someone else to step up on offense from the perimeter. They DESPERATELY need that. Yes, they need to play smarter defense. I think they can do both of those things much better at home than on the road.

  65. I hope the team (from ’09) upon returning home, either: 1) has their 09 championship rings taken away from them until they win two more games in LA, perhaps that would spark some hunger once again; or 2) sit and look at their rings and remember with pride, that they are the defending NBA champs and should comport themselves accordingly, meaning, fight to the bitter end and make the Celts literally kill them for this year’s ring.

    I can’t imagine the Lakers letting the Celts celebrate a championship in Staples. Now, Kobe’s gotta find a way to wake the rest of his team up.

  66. On the Artest clear-path thing: That play is never called a clear-path foul when the foul is committed with the shot being at the basket. I’ve never seen it. I’ve seen it called when the player is running down the court, but never when the player is at the hoop. Once you’re at the hoop, the defender has not impeded your path to the basket, only your shot.

    I think they called that one correctly.

  67. Long time reader and some time commenter here…

    Great post Phillip. I agree with all your points. I’ll also add that:

    The Lakers are playing 4 on 5 on offense and 5 on 5 for defense. Artest is providing nothing for them offensively. Playing 4 on 5 on offense is essentially playing into Boston’s hand b/c they rely on their transition game to get easy buckets. LA must play the better offensive player (Vujacic, Brown or Walton). Their failure to play better offense is hurting their defense.

    And on defense, the Lakers are playing 5 on 5. Artest was brought in to at least make it 5 on 4.5/4. Kevin Durant, who Artest sufficiently held in check, is a superior player to Paul Pierce in all ways, but one…Pierce has better teammates (screeners, offensive rebs leading to open looks, etc.). Phil and his assistants have to see this. I would be hesitant to take Artest out if he was provided solid rebounding, but he’s not doing that well either.

  68. Home court is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything if the Lakers don’t play like a team.

    Nobody brought the intensity necessary to take on the Celtics defense and overcome it, except for Kobe. That forced Kobe to try to take over the game and no one else on the team got involved. What is the result of one player scoring each and every time?

    The rest of the team loses their rhythm for the game, gets disinterested on the defensive end, and loses focus.

    Pau needs to just play basketball, he didn’t get enough touches in the beginning of the game to get his offense going and he shrank the rest of the night. He tried to get it going in the 4th, but it was too late. He needs that aggression going to the basket more often.

    Artest and Odom are wild cards, by supplanting their game they look out of sorts. Artest needs to know when they force a double team and he gets the ball kicked to him, he needs to shoot or take one dribble and shoot. He’s too slow to get the hoop because Boston’s rotations are too quick. His reactions are too slow, and by becoming hesitant he’s throwing a huge wrench in our offensive machine.

    All in all, we just need to play like a team on both ends, it was sorely lacking last night. Everyone needs to earn their salaries Tuesday night because like we’ve heard before this is the most important game of the season.

  69. Frustrating loss, because not enough people showed up. It was almost as if they forgot who they were playing. They’ve seen what Boston does, why were they playing as if they were surprised at what was happening?

    I like Artest as a rule, but boy, was he dreadful offensively last night. It’s not so much the missed shots, it’s the deer-in-the-headlights wavering and dithering, the reluctance to either move the ball or shoot it, the time-wasting before making (usually) one of the worst available decisions. It was like watching a wild rodent trying to decide whether to cross the highway, first missing open opportunities out of waiting and worrying, then seeing an onrushing car and thinking it’s the last chance, running right in front of the car at the worst possible moment out of desperation … and getting squashed.

  70. #58. Knickers (The Key),
    Please see the commenting guidelines. Of particular interest to me is #6 and #7 on the list. I don’t want to continue to edit or delete your comments. It seems like you put some effort into them. Thanks.

  71. i really hope the reffs stop being crooked and make the correct calls the lakers in game 5 had only 15 free throw attempts the celtics had 48 ….. ,come on ! The lakers should have had the ball down 5 with 2 40 left ,off of that shot clock violation that wasnt called ,rediculous!!!!!

  72. A few adjustments I’d like to see:

    *A 2/3 pick and roll between Ron and Kobe. Ron is ineffective in every way when he catches the ball on the perimeter – from penetrating to hitting an outside shot to getting the ball into the post and cutting. So, let’s see if we can force the Celtics to switch. If Ron has a post up opportunity against Ray Allen, that might force the Celtics D to collapse and we can open things up for Ron and our shooters.

    *In spite of the first suggestion – more Sasha, less Ron. This will help us to spread the floor on offense and give us another reliable FT shooter.

    *Pay attention to the scouting report on Paul Pierce. He has three moves: dribble to the right elbow for a J; step back J; and spin move off the post up. Ron, Lamar, and Luke – please, read the report and get a hand up.

    *Play Garnett 1-on-1 when he has the ball, but do more work before the catch. When he catches the ball ~10 feet from the hoop, Lamar and Pau are toast. They’re not getting a body on him so he’s just rising up for easy jumpers. If he does get the ball, don’t leave a shooter so that you can double team. The only guy doubling should be the guy who is guarding Rondo. *Also, let’s get Bynum on Garnett more often.

    *Speaking of catches, Kobe should get the ball on the block more frequently. We can make this happen with flashes from the weakside. Good things happen when Kobe posts up: short- and mid-range shots for Kobe, cutters to the hole, and double teams (creating openings for shooters). Plus, it should conserve Kobe’s energy, as opposed to the dribblefests we’ve been seeing through this series. This adjustment almost feels obvious to me – I wonder if the Lakers have been saving it for the end of the series.

    *Common sense stuff. For instance, stop trying to steal outlet passes. Get back on defense. And, play for the entire 24 seconds in the shot clock.

  73. If anyone has the time/ability to get a video of something I think it’d be enlightening. The play I’m interested in is where we have a wing guy (doesn’t matter who) that dumps the ball into a post player outside of the lane. The passer then cuts diagonally towards the weakside low block before going along the baseline to the corner 3… EVERY Laker player who makes that cut does so at HALF speed, rather than cutting hard.

    A hard cut towards the basket would cause Boston to account for that man. Right now that cutter is such a non-threat it allows the C’s to set up their help defense, either through doubles or by the point defender funneling the ball to defensive help.

    In fact, the Lakers desperately need more hard dives/cuts to the basket. When our offense was most effective in this series (gm 1) or in 2008 (first halves of games 4-5) we had not only the ball going towards the basket but players receiving *passes* while cutting/moving to the hoop.

    Too many times when a Laker catches the ball he’s either stationary or even moving away from the hoop. The Lakers have GOT to get the ball to guys on the move, especially towards the basket. This way they’re in a position to immediately make a play (shot, pass, or hard dribble) before the C’s can get the D setup.

    Right now the Lakers are much to slow and deliberate in trying to create shots. It’s not just a lack of aggression that’s causing problems but a lack of decisive movement not only of the ball, but of players moving hard to GET the ball.

  74. Pretty tough to make a case for bad officiating costing the Lakers the game when the Lakers shot twice as many free throws. The telling stat is the FG%, which was 39.7 for the Lakers and 56.3 for the Celts. Hell, the Lakers even got off 7 more field goal attempts. The game was won by the Celts and lost by the Lakers in the field goal department. Period!

  75. I’d say the NBA ref defenders are too invested in the league and the game to see what’s screamingly obvious. There’s no “balancing out” the call that reset the shot clock when the ball didn’t touch the rim. Know why? Because it clinched the game for the Celtics. Win or lose, the officiating has completely ruined what was an exciting series for me, and I know I’m not the only one.

  76. I’m dissapointed the Lakers loss but think about it, Boston’s back was against the wall these past two games and they played like it, now it’s the Lakers back who is against the wall and I very much expect EVERYONE on the team to play that way.

    I think Lakers win game 6 going away, and set it up for an EPIC game 7.

  77. L Odom basket waived off as PP takes charge (with clearly moving feet); shot-clock violation missed by refs, keeping ball with C’s and new 24; goal tending by KG not called; R Allen lowering shoulder hard into Fish ignored as he makes layup while Fish knocked aside; Kobie & PP in obvious tie-up for rebound late in 4th, “resolved” by wrestling method instead of jump ball—naw, I’m just imagining all of this

  78. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that Ron Artest needs to start doing his f’ing job, and that’s guarding the shit out of Paul Pierce. Ron Artest was brought here for one reason: To play defense against Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, and Lebron James. And in the last two games, he hasn’t slowed down Pierce at all. Artest is getting beat 1-on-1 in isolation, with Pierce dribbling and jab-stepping Artest to death then hitting pull up jumpers. This cannot happen if Ron is going to be an offensive sieve.

    I did like that Ron started taking his shots with confidence and without hesitation in the 2nd quarter last night, but he needs to do that and make quicker passes the whole game. Right now, it seems like we’re playing 4-5 on both sides of the court, because Ron is gumming up the offense and providing just as much resistance to Paul Pierce as Luke Walton.

    Pau Gasol has played soft this past two games. I’m not saying he is soft; he has played soft. I liked his aggressiveness in the 4th quarter, where he turned and started trying to dunk the ball instead of laying it in (too bad he got one blocked by Tony Allen…). But he did get an And1 and an offensive rebound + putback. However, he’s got absolutely shut down in the 1st half by Garnett, and then he got obliterated on defense against Garnett (who is looking more and more like 2008 Garnett). Pau needs to man up, fight for position harder, and push Garnett out of his comfort spots. If we lose this series, Pau will (maybe unfairly) regain the “soft” label, and I will have a hard time defending him given his performance in these past two games.

    Three games in a row, Boston has come quick out of the gates and the Lakers have had to battle back from early deficits. We need to be the aggressive team and punch the C’s in the face from the tip. I don’t care how we get it done, but our guys need to take it right at these C’s, because when our guys are aggressive, we win games. When we get tentative, when we start holding the ball, thinking too hard, going up soft, and not taking care of the glass, we lose games.

    I see two guys killing themselves to win this championship: Fisher and Kobe. Fisher is getting killed on screens on every play of the game, and yet he’s still battling harder than any of our bigs on defense. Kobe is getting walloped on every offensive possession, but he still is putting the team on his back. Our big guys need to see what our backcourt is doing and ask themselves, “These guys are not going down without a fight. Will I?” We can win this series, but we need to be willing to beat the crap out of the C’s to do it. These next two games will show us if our front line has that will, because I know that Kobe and Fisher have it.

  79. Until the Lakers win, it’s 2008 for me. Garnett with that crazed look, Pierce with his flailing arms. On the Staples floor? If they win it in LA it’s Götterdämmerung.

  80. Why is no one boxing out Rondo?

    Why does Gasol disappear in the second Half?

    Why do I feel like this is 2008 all over agian?

  81. I’m sure this has been covered by other posters, but what I am surprised is the lack of urgency and the desire to go after a rebound. IMHO, defensive rebounding has been a problematic area for the Lakers. Not the kinds that fall on the general vicinity of the player, but the ones that may require boxing out and hustle.
    In our last game, there were couple of crucial moments that the Lakers needed to rally back, but were robbed by failing to secure a rebound (although one was robbed by the refs, I don’t know why they can’t see what the general public could clearly see).
    Well, most of the time, you see the Celtics players pushing the Lakers player trying to box out, borderline lose-ball foul, but the Celtics are the best at getting away with moving screens and subtle pushing, so gotta give them that edge.
    There are some commenters that say forget about 2008, but really, let’s not repeat that and try to erase that bad memory by coming out and playing like the defending champions next two games!

  82. The Lakers did not play well – accepted. But if some of the 50-50 calls and non calls had been made more judiciously, they could have pulled out an improbable victory last night. kudos to kobe for keeping us in the game. Anyone who doesn’t get it, should stop watching basketball. Lets get ready for Game 6. Forget Games 4 and 5.

  83. excuses, excuses. The Celtics have done this to the Lakers before and are doing it again. As the series has gone on they have gotten stronger and the Lakers have gotten weaker. They did it to Cleveland and Orlando. Their defense is first rate and it demoralizes the other team. The only chance the Lakers have is to try and match their defensive intensity. The problem is that its hard to key in on any one guy for the Celtics. They have 7 players that can go off for 20+ on any given night.

  84. I think the Lakers need a little less “Zen” and a little more anger. Did anyone see Lamar’s postgame interview? He’s calm and as cool as the other side of the pillow, with smiles all around. Hey, “we’re going home” aren’t we?

    Rebounding, 50-50 balls, and interior scoring are all about the same thing: effort. The Celtics have played the last couple of games with desperation. The Lakers have played as if “we can win this at home”. There’s the difference.

    In the NBA Finals, every game is key. You can’t give games away by not playing hard and not being focused. How do you miss 9 free throws? How does an undersized Celtic team outscore you in the paint on a night that Glen Davis does nothing?

    There is no sense of urgency with this group, and that is nothing new. Teams take on their coaches personalities, and I’m only seeing one team (and one coach) that seems to understand the magnitude of the moment and the need to seize it. Unfortunately, they are in green….

  85. Funky, although I’m in no way as much ‘anti’ Phil as you, I’m in complete agreement about the Lakers playing without that sense of extreme effort. It was true of the Kobe/Shaq 3-peat years as well.

    I do, in fact, believe that Phil’s calm demeanor is part of the problem (the 80’s showtime Lakers were also guilty, so I think some of it is simply the LA environment). From what’s been said over the years the Bulls energy was ‘enforced’ by Jordan moreso than Phil.

    Having said all of that, is it really necessary for the coach to have to get professional players to play hard in the *NBA Finals*? I still think the players not named Bryant and Fish need to bring it on their own.

  86. Refs have been equally bad for both teams, all series. Please stop making excuses.

    And what exactly are we talking about in what one posted said was “6 consecutive missed calls” how so?

    Oh, and how about the two “foul” calls in the game that gave the Lakers six free points on the line. God awful call on Pierce where he clearly got a piece of the ball. And another very sketchy call on Ray that gave Kobe 3 shots. The latter, I’ll give you that maybe there was a little body contact when Ray fought over the screen, but to give 3 points to a team during crunch time in a pretty close game… there certainly wasn’t that much contact.

  87. SBC, I’m right there with you in terms of what I personally expect from a professional athlete–and the answer to your question SHOULD be “hell no”. However, we have seen repeatedly that “bringing it” is not something that most players do on their own.

    The Bulls were a different kind of team from any of Phil’s Laker teams. I don’t think any of PJ’s Laker teams will be in the discussion of “best ever” because all of them have suffered from the same thing. Whether it was Shaq and his “I’ll make them when it counts” mentality, or Lamar and his “they did what they’re supposed to do” outlook, the Laker teams have never had a killer instinct and have relied on immense talent to bail them out.

    I find it odd that players are comfortable saying things like “they did what they’re supposed to do” (about the Celtics) after playing some of the worst individual basketball of their careers. Wasn’t Lamar “supposed to” play well in the Finals? Isn’t he “supposed to” be a good rebounder? Aren’t those the reasons he is supposedly worth $8 million a year?

    I agree with you that the 80’s teams displayed some of this mentality, but I don’t think it ever was as bad then as it is now. Moreover, one never got the sense that Pat Riley was “cool” with his team laying down like dogs in the Finals. I was waiting for Phil to trash his players after the game last night, but I heard none of that.

    This is the second time in three years that this Laker group is getting outhustled by the Celtics. I can accept losing or not playing well, because that happens to the best of teams and players. However, watching supposedly “great” players like Lamar Odom (who I have never thought of as being great, I might add…) or Pau go through the motions on the biggest stage of all, well that’s not acceptable.

    For $12 million a year, I think it is perfectly reasonable to demand that your coach bring that out of his players. And this is why I don’t get the crying and moaning about how great Phil is every time someone criticizes him.

    To think that he is the only guy out there who could successfully coach a group with as much talent as this club has is just asinine, and I think there is a strong case that he has been outcoached in three of the four playoff series this year (I’m excluding the Utah series, although given what he had to work with, you could probably say that Sloan did a better job in that one too…).

  88. “L Odom basket waived off as PP takes charge (with clearly moving feet); shot-clock violation missed by refs, keeping ball with C’s and new 24; goal tending by KG not called; R Allen lowering shoulder hard into Fish ignored as he makes layup while Fish knocked aside; Kobie & PP in obvious tie-up for rebound late in 4th, “resolved” by wrestling method instead of jump ball—naw, I’m just imagining all of this”

    24-SEC I’m assuming you mean the Ray Allen 3. Very tough call, even the replay wasn’t clear (not that they can use that anyway) and it seems to change direction when you looked at in from the right side camera angle, looks like it caught some rim, but just barely. Either way, hard to blame them on that one. And if you wanna say “wrestling method rather than jump ball” what about the one were TA and Kobe both came down with hands on the ball, and Kobe was allowed to “wrestle” it away from TA, could argue that was exactly the same, so refs were being consistent.

    Fisher is an all time flopper, that’s what happens when you fall down on every play, sometimes the refs aren’t going to give it to you because they know 90% of the time you’ve just exaggerating contact.

    Finally, the goal tending call, was… extremely borderline at best. Tough call, and could have went either way. In the end, one side is always going to be upset on calls like that, and refs didn’t decide that (or any) game in this series.

  89. Yeah… Those used to be fouls. You remember, before 2008 when the league decided every call was to go Boston’s way.

  90. everybody who is talking about the refs, and how the officiating has been equal, is missing the point. its not about the foul calls or the ft disparity. its about the MOMENTUM calls. its the 24 second shot clock, the pierce blatant charge, the odom charge on pierce that was a blatant block. its these calls, late in games, that are awful, unjust, and wrong. those calls are the ones that, regardless of how bad we played, DONT LETS US STEAL THE GAME. Yes, if we played well, we wouldn’t have to steal the game, but still, if we are in the position to steal one, we should not be stopped by these momentum calls. These momentum calls have been consistently wrong, and its frustrating.

  91. #95. Knickers,
    Thanks. And I agree with what you’re saying about doing the little things better. I actually thought the Lakers did a better job of controlling their defensive backboard in game 5, but were lax in many other aspects of their half court defense. Better rotations and ball pressure is needed. The Lakers need to shrink the floor on defense by closing down driving angles and then (as you note) crash the glass to secure the ball.

  92. @jordan

    I personally think those 3 free points they gave to Kobe, that cut the lead to 5 with about a minute to go, were certainly a momentum call. And one could argue, kept you in the game.

    Without Artest bricking two free throws on the next possession, and wasting a great jump ball Fisher (inexplicably) won over KG, it was a one possession game. Seems like the refs gave them quite the upper hand there. And that call on Ray was just as shaky as any you just mentioned.

    Quit with the excuses, regardless of the refs, the better team has won every game so far.

  93. @Jay P

    I agree that the better team has won every game so far. It’s just that in some games the best team was fabricated by the refs.

    I’m not trying to point fingers to the refs as the cause of Lakers’ troubles. But it does seem like the refs created “better” team either by killing the momentum and/or benching a key player here and there for both teams.