There are not many secrets left between these two teams. The Lakers (and the Suns) have played each other a lot the last couple years and know what they have to do to win. For the Lakers that means not abandoning the game plan â€” pound it inside, post up Odom (and Walton and Kobe and Kwame and everyone else on the floor), crash the boards, make Nash the shooter and get back on defense. If game one taught us anything, itâ€™s that the Lakers canâ€™t deviate from this for even a few minutes.
Other thoughts heading forward:
â€¢ Great note that reader and commenter Omar sent to me:
I was reading â€œMindgamesâ€ by Roland Lazenby last night and I could not help myself but to replace Jordanâ€™s name with Bryantâ€™s in the following paragraph:
â€œFaced every game night with the task of urging Jordan (Bryant) not to dominate the basketball in the fourth quarter, to include his teammates, Jackson spoke to Jordan (Bryant) through film clips inserted in the teamâ€™s scouting tapes. In 1998, as Jackson guided the bulls to their sixth championship, he chose to insert clips of the feature film Devilâ€™s Advocate into the Bullâ€™s scouting tapes. In that film, the protagonistâ€™s wife slices her own throat with a shard of glass. Feeling the need to speak forcefully, Jackson showed his team a film clip of a possession where Jordan (Bryant) held the ball too long, then he cut to a clip of the woman cutting her own throat. Gruesomely effective, Jacksonâ€™s editing spoke to Jordan in a way that no verbal communication could.â€
â€¢ I thought Farmar did a respectable job tasked with the impossible job of shadowing Nash. Where he really got in trouble is when Nash moved without the ball on down low picks, he lost Nash several times and that led to wide open shots for a two-time MVP. Forget the ball, stay with the man.
â€¢ The idea expressed by AP in the comments â€” to run Kobe off some off-the-ball screens for quick catch-and-shoots â€” is a good one. The Lakers did it a couple times in the first half (remember Kobe flashing into the lane and hitting a fade-away?) but abandoned it in the second half, like everything else. Need to get back to that, too.
â€¢ The Lakers need an answer for Barbosa, I just have no idea what it is. Smush and Sasha clearly werenâ€™t it. Maybe give Mo Evans a shot.
â€¢ Great line by Clipper coach Mike Dunleavy in a radio interview this morning (that Rogan/Simers show) talking about the Suns. He said there were three guys on the Suns who could create their own shot and needed to be stopped â€” Nash, Barbosa and:
â€œDiawâ€™s right hand. The guy canâ€™t even go to the bathroom with his left hand.â€
â€¢ I am saddened by the passing of David Halberstam. If you want some great views of the United States post World War II, his writing is some of the best. My personal favorite is â€œThe Fifties,â€ both the book and PBS series. Highly recommended.