NBA Finals: Game 6 Preview and Chat

Darius Soriano —  June 15, 2010

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I think we all have a sense of nervousness tonight.  There’s just an anxiousness in the air.  Realistically, there are 20 (or more, even) different scenarios that can play out that determine who wins this game.  Running through some of them in my mind has been exhausting as I’ve been thinking of plays and counters and everything else…it’s been like 20 games of chess going on in my mind at the same time. 

But in the end, this is what it’s all about.  With the season on the line, the Lakers have the talent and they have the coaching.  They’re playing a top notch opponent that is seeking to reclaim the title that the Lakers currently own.  As a fan, these are the moments that I live for and I wouldn’t want it any other way than what we’ve got tonight: a home game for the Lakers to decide if their season stays alive.

Typically at this site we try to give you some X’s and O’s (and we still will a bit later), but I hope that through all the nervousness and anxiousness you find a way to enjoy tonight.  I understand it will be a lot easier with a strong Lakers performance that leads to a win and that fateful 7th game, but we’re now 100+ games into the season and through all the ups and downs they have their shot.  I know many fans ask for the title every year, but that’s unrealistic.  I think all we can really ask for is a chance.  Tonight the Lakers have it and I think it’s going to inspire them to play some very good basketball.

And good basketball for the Lakers starts on defense.  The Lakers need to play the stifling brand of defense that their opponent has been employing on them.  Game 5 was as good of an offensive game as the Celtics could have played as a group (individually they may have better efforts, but not as a group) and if the Lakers want to ensure there is not a repeat performance, they must step up their effort on that side of the ball and work harder.  Every rotation must be precise and every shot must be contested.  Every Laker should be looking to help and recover so as to not give up even a single open look.  Screens must be fought through and ball handlers must be pressured.  I wouldn’t mind seeing some traps, deflections, and some turnovers being forced either.  And as usual, defensive possessions don’t end with out rebounds.  Secure the ball and push it back the other way.

Offensively, we’ve discussed the Lakers switching up their attack in a way that they can find easier shots for themselves.  And I think there’s merit in trying some different things to try and accomplish that task.  But, whether it’s more P&R or better execution and commitment to the Triangle, the Lakers need to do every thing full speed but with a keen eye on executing every nuance of their attack.  If the Lakers go to a more P&R heavy attack, I’d like to see more weak side flashing that is synced up with the ball handler’s initial attempt to turn the corner.  And if the P&R is relied upon, I want to see the ball handler attack off the action and force the C’s big man to defend in space (something we have not seen since game 1). If the Lakers rely on a more Triangle heavy attack, then they need to explore more options within their sets and go more to the actions that are initiated at the elbow with Gasol and Kobe and then work hard off the ball to occupy Celtic defenders. By operating from the elbow (and with the weak side spacing in tact), Kobe and Pau can play some isolation ball and then more easily pick out teammates when the help arrives. But, in whatever attack the Lakers employ, Kobe and Pau’s brilliance will need to be on display. The Lakers will need their stars tonight.

And overall, the Lakers just need to play as hard and as smart as possible for the full 48 minutes.  Everything must be left on the floor.   Whether it’s securing that loose ball, taking that charge, or sprinting hard to fill a lane on offense or to get back on defense, the Lakers must do the little things tonight.  In essence, they need to make their own luck.  Every 50/50 ball must be theirs because they’ve willed themselves to it.  Every bounce that they need to go their way should break their way because they’ve fought to put themselves in position to get it.  Boston is the opponent that will try to make this moment be theirs, but the Lakers must take it for themselves.  The Lakers backs are against the wall and they’ve got to fight like it is. There’s no other way tonight.

Lastly, we all understand that the Lakers are on the brink of elimination; that the season can end tonight.  But, I’m not even thinking of that right now.  I’m 100% focussed on the win and the task at hand.  We’ll have plenty of time after the season is over to focus on the year as a whole and what was or was not accomplished.  But now is not that time.  To quote my favorite Laker ever, right now is winning time.  Go get it, Lakers. Game on.


Darius Soriano

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265 responses to NBA Finals: Game 6 Preview and Chat

  1. #206 – “How can Boston feel comfortable knowing the ball can’t be in its point guard’s hands if it’s close down the stretch in game 7?”

    Because Lakers will forget to foul him and hit Ray Allen instead of course!

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  2. Time to rest the starters?

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  3. Come on. Let’s finish this game right.

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  4. Time to wake up!

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  5. Okay, coach please get Farmar out of the game! That’s the second bad angled pas that he’s made!

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  6. How the hell do they get away with those types of plays? It’s all night! I don’t get it…

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  7. let’s sharpen up fellas. let’s not give them anything to build on for Thursday….

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  8. Exactly. It’s not about the result at this point. It’s about setting the tone for Game 7.

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  9. I’m all for sending a message and all…but I also like the idea of giving Kobe and Pau some rest.

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  10. Agreed. It’s a bit too late to match the game 6 score in 2008, so let’s just give the bench some run and keep them fresh for game 7.

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  11. Tony Allen so pissed at kobe right now. Free fouls next game?

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  12. 17/13/9

    Is a huge line in a Final’ s Game 6.
    Well done Gasol.

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  13. All we can ask is for is max effort, and tonight we got that.

    Hopefully Phil and get them up again for this type of effort, we will need it.

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  14. LoL that was a pretty bad foul call on Tony Allen. Should have been a jump ball at worst and a no-call at best.

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  15. 4get about getting Pau a Triple Double. Lets get him out the game & get him out the game NOW.

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  16. Lakers got the job done and forced a game 7. Great job to all the Lakers tonight

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  17. Great defense by our team tonight! Game 7 here we come.

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  18. Great, drama-free game. I LOVE it.

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  19. Tonight, I am proud of my team and I am proud to be a Lakers fan. This was a clinic. Now, we just need to do it a second time.

    Anyone got a status update on Perkins?

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  20. One mo’.

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  21. Wow knickers fish bashing? Are you kidding?

    That was a very satisfying game.

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  22. Great energy all-around. just a complete game and showed the hustle, heart, energy and will that we’ve been wanting to see for the last week.

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  23. hopefully, the defense, bench, and rebounding show up for game 7

    game 7 is gonna be a blood bath…im excited and nervous

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  24. Fact or fiction though…. If it’s Sasha playing that kinda D on Ray Allen in game 2 instead of Farmar/Brown, we are drinking champagne right now. Agree or disagree?

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  25. Hope Perkins isn’t injured too badly even though I can’t stand him. I gotta give it up to him because he actually had a serious knee injury and didn’t call out the wheelchair.

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  26. Signature play for me was Farmar diving on the floor for the loose ball and shoveling it ahead to a teammate.

    Kobe sacrificing a layup and passing ahead to Shannon for his breakaway dunk is a close second.

    These plays underscored the unbridled effort and teamwork needed to force a game 7.

    1988 all over again.

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  27. Can’t say that enough, Perkins actually had a knee injury and no wheelchair was necessary.

    Pierce is pathetic.

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  28. #237. Radio did call the wheel chair. He had some help but also did some time in the chair. I was half-expecting him to pull a Paul Pierce 2008

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  29. Good win, but that’s it. Moving on to Game 7.

    Trust me, no matter how much we beat Boston by, it will not affect their psych. Cleveland hit the Celtics with the worst home loss in Boston history, and what did Boston do? Give Cleveland its worst home loss history.

    I really want Kobe to win another Finals MVP, however, given Gasol’s stat-line tonight, it’d be hard to argue that Gasol isn’t a close runner-up if Lakers win.

    Looking forward to Game 7. Really glad that there is only one day in between games.

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  30. Artest was huge tonight as well. I am so happy for him. Hoepfully he will just stay within himself and take the open shots when they are there.

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  31. I’m not sure if this was an adjustment by Phil or just by the player’s activity, but the one play we completely took away was the Paul Pierce drive to the paint. When Pierce drove, Artest funneled him to Gasol who was waiting for him at the top of the key, forcing Pierce to go toward the corner instead of toward the rim. Then Gasol and Artest would form an aggressive double, cutting off the passing lanes to the paint and across the court. This left the only outlet pass to be back up the side, which was in turn cut off by Kobe, Fisher, and Farmar all on separate occasions, leading to easy baskets or free throws on the other end. Given that the Paul Pierce isolation is one of the Celtics key plays, taking it away really destroyed the effectiveness of their offense. Excellent team defense.

    On offense, we got so many good looks by simply running the triangle and running Kobe off the ball. We had Kobe coming off down-screens, cross-screens, and the occasional ball screen across the top of the key. Because of that, Ray Allen was unable to get inside Kobe’s jersey and really disrupt his flow. Since Allen lacks the foot speed to keep up with Bryant at his point of his career, Kobe just turned the corner and got into the lane for a myriad of finishes and quick passes.

    And props to both Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic, both who came in and defended Ray Allen excellently. When Fisher was getting called for fouls left and right and couldn’t be his aggressive defensive self, those two stepped up and really took away Ray’s game. Also a lot of credit should go to the bigs who did a good job of stepping out and helping when the guards needed it.

    And last but mostly definitely not least, Kobe Bryant was a leader in all facets of this game. Whether it was ripping down rebounds, getting steals, pushing the ball in the open court, getting his teammates wide open shots, or hitting his patented impossible jumpers, Kobe was everywhere and doing everything. Also, major props to Ron Artest, who showed up and completely did his job. He shut down Paul Pierce on the aforementioned isolations, and he also took his shots without hesitation, making 3-6 from three. I called for a better performance from Ron Artest, and he brought it with a vengeance.

    Great showing by all our guys. If we get 48 more minutes of that, we will be almost impossible to stop. All we asked for was a fight from our guys and showing us that they had the will to win. They definitely brought it tonight, and we can only hope they bring the same will on Thursday.

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  32. TOOOOOOOOOO NICE!

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  33. Something to note: the only two wire-to-wire dominating performances in this series have resulted in Laker victories.

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  34. now the last thing that should happen next game is that we stay put, become complacent and get whooped to submission in game 7.

    but let me be bold for once and say: NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

    Let’s go Lakers! clap clap clap clap clap!

    How was the crowd?

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  35. J-M

    Gasol played well tonight, but Kobe’s stat line is easily as impressive as Gasol’s and he has been much much more consistent than Pau. No question that Kobe is the MVP. It’s not even close honestly.

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  36. Kobe has been the best player in these finals, hands down! No one else has come close!

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  37. Queensbridge!

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  38. Here’s an acknowledgment of our home CROWD! They were fantastic! Easily the loudest crowd at the Staples Center this year!

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  39. As far as I’m concerned, even if the Celtics had won tonight, the clear series MVP is Kobe Bryant.

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  40. Frankly Pau and Kobe are both more deserving of the MVP than any Celtic.

    But i would still give it to someone on the winning team.

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  41. @chearn
    Could not agree more. The crowd was outstanding!

    Now we need them to do it again for Game 7.

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  42. Anyone know if Bynum has nothing left in his legs or if Phil was just resting him for Game 7?

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  43. Kehn–

    from Kevinding’s twitter:

    “Phil concerned about swelling in back of Bynum’s leg. Said Drew told him he couldn’t run. ”

    going to have some gimpy big men going in game 7 it looks like. Of course we’ve dealt with that all playoffs — same old, same old.

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  44. Good hustle and energy tonight from the beginning from the whole team. I believed LA would give this type of effort at home and they didnt disappoint. Now on to Thursday with the same intensity and hustle. Big Ups to LO, Ron, and Pau for redeem themselves on home turf.

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  45. Wow. Rondo on the elbow artest “hit him” with:

    “Was definitely a foul, one of those fouls they didn’t call.”

    … you have GOT to be kidding me Rondo.

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  46. oh rondo. come on!! artest was just standing there and rondo flew into his elbow!!

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  47. paul pierce trying to trip gasol on that breakaway deserves to be looked at and called a flagrant. just another reason for us all to absolutely despise mr. wheelchair, paul pierce.

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  48. I sure that there will be chirping about the refs I guess if you are a Boston fan, but really they were completely out played in every facet.

    I mean come on.

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  49. Loved Rondo’s big chin Band Aid

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  50. Phil said it best on the dry erase board after the game:

    http://tinyurl.com/26k22jy

    Nothing more needs to be said.

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  51. Going back to comment #1 on this thread, I guess “Celtics Nation” was slightly off in his forecast.

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  52. The Finals MVP will never be given to the losing team again. So with that, I respectfully ask that we table any Finals MVP talk for now. In my book it is up there with the guy asking about when the parade would be held. There is still another game to be won. And Perkins or not, Boston will come with FIRE on Thursday. This thing is NOT over!

    If the Lakers can give the same hustle and determination on Thursday they will be hanging another banner. It’s that simple. At this point all adjustments have made and countered. It is now about which team wants it more. I really believe that team is the Lakers.

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  53. Lot of Fake Boston Fans out there after this one…..already playing the “we’ve got 17 you’ve got 15” card. Shocked to see them so flustered.

    I’ve decided to take Kobe’s approach. Lakers didn’t win anything tonight. It was great to see them play so beautifully, but I had a sense of calm for whatever reason all day. I thought they’d show up. Kobe, IMO clinches Finals MVP tonight. No beantowner has been there every night the way he has. If Boston wins, I think he still takes it.

    as for the game: the Lakers were all over the boards, and frankly, it begins and ends there. I’ve said it numerous times, Boston will NOT make enough first shots to win. The Lakers crashed the boards (I thought Bynum, btw, was fantastic in limited time tonight) and the home court bench bump made what was going to be a victory into a blow-out.

    I encourage all Laker fans to settle down and start focusing now. Good win, but we’re here to win 2 this week. the media will over emphasize EVERYTHING tomorrow. that’s their job. Laker fans, ACT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN THERE. It was just business tonight and as for Thursday night, and I’ll just leave it at this….

    Kobe Bean Bryant, with more on the line than anybody else in this Finals….in a Game 7 at home?

    I’ll take it.

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  54. One game for the championship… and we have Kobe Bryant and HCA… I like our chances. For everyone who has been saying all playoffs long that the regular season doesn’t matter… tell that to the Lakers and Celtics going into game 7 in Los Angeles.

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  55. 15 down 1 to go for the championship and the repeat

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  56. PP showing true colors with dirty play.

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  57. Good win. But we have to play better next game. Allowed to many open shots, I am not satisfied until Princess Pierce walks off the court crying. All of the suddent the enforcer Celtics got soft again – that tends to happen when they are down, jump shots stop falling, and screaming seems superfluous.
    Do not be satisfied Laker fans, no celebration till we win game 7.

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  58. I agree with Cdog. The C’s missed a LOT of bunnies at the rim. You can’t expect that to happen again.

    They will leave it all out there so we have to be ready for that.

    Shannon, Sasha, Jordan all have to play well again.

    Lamar needs to be even better.

    We shall prevail, but only if we give max effort. It has to be….

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  59. Neil,

    We know, Jerry West in 1969. The point is that was the one and only time it has ever happened. And while there is no written rule against it the league doesn’t give it to the losing team anymore.

    So before us Laker fans can debate who would be Finals MVP (Kobe or Pau) the Lakers have to actually win game seven first. I just think we should hold off on that debate. Because if Rondo goes for 30-11-15 in a Celtic victory on Thursday all Lakers Finals MVP talk becomes moot.

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  60. So beautiful. The energy! The gang rebounding! The dives on the floor! The standing fans in Staples! After a game like that, how can I not talk like Dick Vitale?!

    Just one more. As J-M said above, these Celtics historically come back with a vengeance after these games. We’ll need to come out with the same energy – but not just random energy, energy focused in the proper areas.

    Even with the energy, they’ll punch us. We’ll need to show the resilience I know we’re capable of. When Pierce shoved Pau to the ground, Pau lay on the ground and you could tell he was getting ready to complain to the refs. Instead, he slapped the floor, ran back, got in Pierce’s face, and forced the turnover (that lead to Shannon’s first dunk). Yes, it could have been a silly foul, but I liked the attitude and resilience that play showed.

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  61. Small thing, but I think Phil won the psychological battle at the end by baiting Rivers into playing his starters too long. Yes, Rivers wanted to “get some rhythm”, but you don’t do that against an L.A. team that has pummeled you all night. And I would much rather have Kobe and Gasol play a few extra minutes than the aging big 3 (particularly when they have only one day off).

    This is a detail that likely won’t matter, but it might. Jackson knows that, and Rivers ought to know better.

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  62. Game 7. Against Boston. In LA.

    Never took this Lakers/Hollywood connection seriously before now…

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  63. Thank God there is a game 7 to be played.

    Thank God again when the Lakers *WIN* game 7 against the Celtics.

    Thank God forever that out of all the teams in the NBA I got to be a Lakers fan.

    Bye.

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  64. For those that missed Shannon’s RIDICULOUS dunks…

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