Credit to the Celtics, they did what they wanted to do — they controlled the paint on defense, kept Kobe from penetrating, played physical and controlled the glass. I think the good news for Lakers fans is that Boston did all that and it was still a close game. What matters now is how the Lakers adjust and improve. And, here are a few thoughts along those lines:
• In the first half, particularly the second quarter, the Lakers had great ball movement and were cutting without the ball. They had 14 assists on 16 shots. In the second half the Lakers went away from that style to a lot more isolation, a lot more pick-and-roll (which KG defends well). The Lakers had just 7 assists in the second half, a sign of their shooting and lack of movement. In the fourth quarter the Celtics did a good job of not letting Kobe have space and start a run (he was 1 of 6 in the fourth). As a result, the Lakers shot 25% in the fourth quarter and lost.
• A lot of the Celtics help came off of Lamar, but he didn’t do much with it. Phil said he put Radman in for Odom late with the hope of spacing the floor and making it harder to do those rotations. What would make them harder to do is less tentative play from Odom, which i think we saw more of as the game wore on.
• The Celtics grabbed 28.7% of their missed shots. That is far too many. But the Celtics count on this, they actually are at 30% for the playoffs. And unlike Utah, they made their putbacks.
• The Celtics finished with an offensive efficiency rating of 107.7 (points per 100 possessions), which is slightly but not dramatically higher than their playoff average. However, the Lakers were at 96.7, which is 12 points off their playoff average. While I was frustrated with the Lakers defense at points, the problems were with the offense. And they are correctable.
• Credit to Paul Pierce who was very efficient on offense (85% eFG%). It’s stating the obvious, but the Lakers need to do better on him. That may mean some Ariza time, although his conditioning makes you wonder how much he can really give. And would the quality of his defense be what we expect and need from him? The coaches have a much better idea of that then we do, having seen him in practice.
• The Celtics did a good job of keeping Kobe from penetrating — according to the shot chart he had 23 shots outside the paint and just three in it. On those jumpers he shot 38.4%. Commenter Underbruin notes that Kobe has been hot from the midrange lately but is not normally that good from there, but he also isn’t usually as bad as Thursday (his season average is 46% on jumpers). Many nights he will just hit more of those shots (he got some good looks). He can take his man off the dribble but the help defense from the Celtics gave him fits. The Lakers also need to do things like put in in the post (or mid-post) and let him work closer to the basket.
• Darius added these points in the comments that I thought were a good summation:
It was the 3rd quarter where things went wrong. We instantly gave up the lead, did not execute the offense, and got lost on Pierce in transition where he hit those 3’s. We did not control our defensive glass, we got a little indecisive on offense, and just couldn’t make enough shots. Some of that was the Celtics defense and some of that was just bad luck/tough breaks. I think Pierce’s injury gave them some lift, but it was really PJ Brown and Powe controlling the glass while KG and/or Perkins were out of the game that did us in. Offensive rebounding killed us, and unlike in the Utah series, they were converting on their extra possessions, and it made the difference tonight. I mean, just off the top of my head I’m thinking of that Ray Allen putback and 1; I’m thinking about that missed 2nd freethrow where KG knocks the ball out of bounds off of RadMan who had just replaced Odom; I’m thinking about that PJ Brown rebound where he was tangled up with Luke and then got fouled; I’m thinking about KG’s follow dunk that essentially ended the game.
• I don’t think the officiating was horrible, nor did it cost the Lakers the game. The Celtics got the close calls at home, that’s how that goes.
• Ultimately, the goal was to get out of Boston with a split. The Lakers now have a taste for the physical style, they know what they have to do. I expect a better effort in game two, one where they stick to the motion offense and do less isolation. The chance to return home with everything tied up is well within reach.
• Update #1: I didn’t get this up yesterday, but should have. Here is a great piece at Basketball Prospectus breaking down what the Celtics needed to do — and did do largely — on defense. It reminds us that ball and people moving off the ball is the key for the Lakers in game 2 and throughout the series.
• Update #2: Over at SportshubLA, David Neiman has a great way of putting what Lakers fans saw last night — it’s not you, it’s me. Fans do tend to see the game that way anyway, but last night in particular that is how we come out it, we think the Lakers can play much better. As KD points out at Behind the Boxscore, we’ll find out Sunday if last night was the reality of the series or more of an aberration.
the other Stephen says
=( how i could just bop a man named paul pierce. to anyone who was lucky/connected enough to score some home turf seats, you had better not take anything for granted. i want to hear you screaming your lungs out at the home games. i think it’s your duty to bring down the rain and pain, and rile up everyone around you as well.
so many open perimeter shooters wearing green! what the f***, mate?
carter blanchard says
Ya, still not too skerred yet.. We didn’t really have a good game from anyone, and they got solid games from just about everyone it seemed like. It felt like so many shots just rimmed out that we’ve seen go down a thousand times before. Have to respect what Pierce did tonight, that was just gutty.
this is the first game were the lakers actually got beat. the losses before in this years playoffs were all cause lakers just didn’t play well and gave game away. celtics took this one from lakers.
Kurt, quick correction – it’s true Kobe’s shooting stroke is usually better than it has been, but the fg% I linked to was for eFG%, not straight FG% – and 82games.com includes 3s in the “jumpers” section. We can actually extrapolate his 2-point jumper percentage, to a pretty close approximation.
82games notes he shoots 75% of his shots as jumpers – that’s 1,270 out of his 1,690 shots on the season, more or less. An eFG% of 46% on 1,270 shots is about 1,170 points on those shots (an eFG% of 50 equates to one point per shot). From those jumpers, he took 415 3s, and made 150 of them, for 450 points from 3s. So on his 2-pt jumpers, he took 855 shots, and scored 720 points, which is 360 shots – remember, unlike ‘true shooting percentage,’ eFG% only adds for 3s, not for fouls or ‘and-ones.’ So 360/855 shots comes to a 2-pt jumper FG% of 42% – this is all rough (plenty of rounding), but should be pretty close to accurate.
So in truth, Kobe didn’t really shoot -that- much worse today than he normally does – 38% vs 42%. A few other factors of note:
1) Kobe normally gets fouled on shots more often when he drives – this skews the shot stats and the jumpshot stats. When it says he takes 75% jumpers, that doesn’t account for all the 2-shot fouls he gets, a majority of which are likely in the lane. He’s not THAT much of a jump-shooter (he does it plenty, just less than the straight 82games stats would suggest).
2) Considering how many jumpers he took, Kobe took very few 3s – only 3 of his 26 shots. If he’s going to be given space on the perimeter, I think it might behoove the Lakers to allow him to try and bomb away from behind the line a couple of times. If the choice is between a semi-open 3 or an 18-ft jumper with 4 hands in his face, I’d rather him take the 3 – at least it’s worth more points, and probably isn’t that much more difficult.
3) There is the standard caveat of “lies, damn lies, and statistics,” of course. From Game 1, your +/- leader? Vlad Radmanovic, with a +1 despite his 2-5, 5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 personal fouls performance. Your leader the wrong way? Kobe, at -13 (a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Lakers made a run partway through the 4th with Kobe on the bench). Take everything ‘stats’-wise with a healthy grain of salt. Though +/- does back up what Darius noted above; behind Ray Allen’s +11, Boston’s #2 in +/- was P.J. Brown at +10 in only 21 minutes.
4) Luke Walton – ouch. Secretly working for the Celtics by order of his father? Who knows, but he was abysmal. He got plenty of run (almost 14 minutes), and did almost nothing with it. Zero points, 2 rebounds, one assist, three fouls, and poor defense for the most part (not to mention, yes, that shouldn’t have been a foul on Walton at the end of the game there, but he was trying to sell getting caught up to the ref instead of just going for the board with Gasol’s help). He needs to either shape up a bit, or get more time on the pine. To pick up some of those minutes in the rotation, what happened to Jordan Farmar? Came out aggressive, hit a nice floater over KG, and was pulled almost immediately just so that Sam Cassell could abuse Derek Fisher. I get that you don’t want Cassell posting up the smaller Farmar, but Cassell doesn’t really post-up effectively any more, just takes contested 20-footers. There’s no way he can keep up with Jordan when the Lakers have the ball.
Hmm. To combat all this negativity… Some reasons for optimism:
1) Sam Cassell. If he has another game where he starts off that hot, I’ll eat my hat. Boston fans might like to point as say, ‘no, that’s his usual game, look, he finished 4/9.’ This is true, but that’s because after the first 3 shots, 2 of which I was ecstatic that he took until they went in, LA switched Kobe onto him for a long stretch. He was 1-6 the rest of the way, but that made a significant contribution to helping Ray Allen and Paul Pierce get going, as it hindered the Lakers’ ability to effectively guard both players on the perimeter without Bryant’s help.
2) 21.4% – that’s the percentage that LA shot on 3-pointers. The Lakers have been one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the NBA this season. Boston’s defense is good, but not that good. Plenty of the looks were open shots that failed to go down (Sasha, Vlad, and Kobe were a combined 2 for 10, most of which were good looks). Emblematic of this case was the end of the 1st half – for some reason, Radmanovic was left WIDE open for a 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left. He simply missed it. That’s a shot that will start going down more frequently.
3) The Lakers actually won the battle of turnovers – Boston did struggle at handling the basketball at times. If this trend continues, it will help offset some of the Celtics’ superior rebounding. How much? Time will tell.
It’s just one game, and the Lakers have another shot at stealing one on the road in Game 2. They need to come out with the mindset of running the offense like the end of the FIRST half, and not like the end of the second half.
Its a good thing I’m not sober right now or that loss would be a lot more difficult to take. I don’t like what I saw out of Kobe offensively but defensively I thought we did what we needed to do to win the series if our offense steps up. Odom and vujacic seemed below average to me.
Hey, nomuskles – you need to get back to those liveblogs, man! The Lakers seem to have an awfully good record whenever you do one – and every little bit helps, donchakno!
The General says
What should make you nervous was that the Celtics missed a lot of open looks. KG, for example, shot terribly in the 4th. LA simply didn’t play the sort of defense that should lead the Celtics to shoot barely over 42% from the field.
Meanwhile, the Lakers were regularly chucking up contested jumpers. Kobe really got very few “bunnies” in the second half. That’s three bad shooting performances in a row for him vs. the C’s.
I just don’t know why we could not steel this game when with 1:58 remaining we were down a lousy 4 points.
it was nice reading this, it gave me hope – really. before the game i was very confident that we were gonna beat their defense – especially since we just whooped the defending champs’ defense. so right after game 1, i was really surprised that kobe was shooting more jumpers than drives.
i think we should upgrade our D. sasha was lost defending allen (he’s a different player than ginobili). KG was a monster on the offense (at least in the first 3 quarters) and he’s just a different offensive player than duncan. and rondo hasn’t even showed up yet.
7 (The General) – This is both true and untrue. For one, Garnett shot almost exclusively jumpers in this game (massive, game-ending putback dunks notwithstanding, of course). With ANY player, jumpers are going to go hot-and-cold (see Bryant, Kobe). Additionally, Gasol’s length is enough to keep him from getting what I would call “easy” looks. Garnett’s game didn’t surprise me all that much – he might make a jumper or two more, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be killing Gasol on those fade-aways. He struggled in the 4th, but he started the game 8-11 up through midway into the 3rd. His jumper then went cold, as jumpers tend to do to even the best.
Where he has (and has always had) the ability to do much more damage is off the dribble, or deep in the lane. He didn’t go to those moves in Game 1. If he starts to do so more often, he’ll be far more difficult to stop. If he doesn’t, expect more games like today’s Kobe-esque 9/22 for 24 points. It’s very telling – his eFG% on jumpers is just 47.2%, but he shoots them almost as often as Kobe Bryant does! 73% vs Kobe’s 75%. When he goes to ‘inside’ shots, that shoots up to 72.5% eFG.
I think you, and we, are viewing the game through Green/Purple-colored lenses (as appropriate). Though many of Kobe’s shots were contested, the majority of the looks for his teammates were not – often, they simply missed open looks. At the same time, I agree that there were some sequences were the Celtics had floor space and simply couldn’t hit. James Posey – a good shooter during the season – couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn door tonight. Then again, he’s still James Posey, and I doubt the series hinges on his shooting well, as far as BOTH teams are concerned.
Also, the Celtics’ shooting numbers are skewed by the number of free throws they received in the bonus. Twelve, to be precise (and no, I’m not counting fouling at the end of the game – because the Lakers didn’t do so, and all of those free throws were taken when the game was still in doubt, the last of them at 91-86 with 1:49. That’s six possessions ending in free throws on a non-shot attempt – plus one “illegal defense” tech, but that’s really neither here nor there.
The Lakers received 6 foul shots on ‘bonus’ free-throws; in fact, that’s exactly the difference between Boston and Los Angeles in terms of FT totals – Boston shot 35 shots, LA shot 28. 6 extra ‘bonus’ free-throws, plus the def. 3 tech. I’m not saying those fouls were or weren’t earned – I leave that to those more concerned with the mechanics of refereeing than myself. I’m simply noting, that was really – more or less – the difference in the game, and it had very little to do with being aggressive per se. ‘Bonus’ fouls aren’t really the result of attacking the basket the way shooting fouls are: though admittedly getting into the penalty can be a result of more fouls at the rim, the freebies themselves usually come from either overzealous defense or ticky-tack whistles (or both).
You’re correct in that there’s plenty LA needs to learn from this game, and lots of adjustments need to be made in order to hopefully even up the series. But I don’t think that the true storyline here was “Despite extraordinarily poor offensive performance, Celtics beat Lakers, who struggled solely due to Boston’s awe-inspiring defensive effort.” If you choose to view it as such, more power to you, but don’t be totally shocked if the Lakers have a lot more success offensively next game.
Warren Wee Lim says
I’m at a loss for words… we indeed gave up that 6-pt lead faster than Allen Iverson could run up and down the court. After that, the Celtics were steamrolling. Paul Pierce could have won an oscar on that “crippling” effects, seemingly putting the collective Boston unconscious to a big scare. Then he comes back (I swear I have nightmares of him pounding his chest) with such fire as if he was the Celtics savior. Is he?
We more or less hung in there… springing some life to the Lakers hope of eternal springs. Then KG slammed one down for the ages on a putback – and that’s the game.
We wrap up and take our disappointments to game 2. Boston merely held serve – but it was a game we had a very good chance of winning. Lets suck it up and channel all our anger towards game 2. That would be 1 game I would really really really really hate to lose.
This game was definitely the Lakers for the taking… (Sigh) As Darius mentioned, there was a huge momentum shift at the end of the third quarter. There was undeniably an emotional lift for the team and the crowd when Pierce returned. At the 1:34 mark of the 3rd quarter Odom misses a reverse lay up (that would have put us up 4) and it was followed by Pierce’s open three pointer, relinquishing the lead. On the next possession Pau misses a lay up and Pierce hits another three. In exactly 30 seconds Odom’s blown attempt at a 4 point lead turns into a 4 point deficit.
Before the series began I suspected that the better bench would decide the series. In game one the advantage went to the Celtics bench with some timely shots early from Cassell and a big three in the 4th quarter from Posey. We know Sasha will keep shooting, but Walton needs to have an impact in game two for us to win.
It was definitely the 4th quarter that did the Lakers in. They missed one contested jumper after another and uncharacteristically made some very sloppy passes. The Lakers committed as many turnovers in the 4th quarter as they did in the other three quarters combined. 15 points…in the 4th quarter…on the road…in the finals…is not going get it done.
I agree with Kurt that we need a more aggressive Odom in game two. He was scoreless in the 4th and missed some timely free throws in the 3rd.
Despite the lack of bench production and lack luster 4th quarter, the game was still ours for the taking in the final minutes, if they could have made a few jump shots. I am encouraged that we have a great opportunity to take game two, as we all know that Phil will make his adjustments.
The Lakers were hot hustled, outworked, and seemed to play tentative as the night wore on. I think the Celtics wanted it more.
On the bright side, the game was there for their taking, and they couldn’t get any shots to fall. I agree with Kurt that those shots will start falling.
How many were halfway down and popped out?
Gasol needs to start playing like a grown man.
I think the biggest difference in this game was Home court advantage. All the lucky bounces, loose balls, and close calls went to the celtics. There were at least 10-15 shots for the Lakers that looked good but just rimmed out, a lot them would have been momentum changers. That can be expected on the road. As Kurt mentioned we need to do a better job rebounding (Kobe, Sasha, Vlad all need to go in and fight for rebounds), and stick with our offense. I expect the Lakers to play better in the second game.
Oh and Bostons D is really really good.
George Best says
While getting to the finals should be considered a great year considering all the uncertainties at the beginning, if the Lakers cant win this series, the year should be considered a failure. The Celtics are not that good and are not better then any of the top five teams in the West. The Lakers did much hard work to get here, it would be a shame to lose to this team. Last night was a game they should have won even playing as poorly as they did.
The Celtics had one thing going for them offensively that they usually haven’t had in these playoffs, a high outside shooting percentage from both Rondo and Cassell. Even with that, the Lakers were close until the very end.
I only expected 1 of 2 in Boston. Looks like it will have to be Sunday, then …
The Lakers played as badly as we’re going to play this series, and we easily could have stolen this game. That’s a good sign as far as I’m concerned…the bench was non existent and the offense looked like Kwame Brown was still posting up and Smush Parker was spotting up for 3, yet we pretty much lost a coin-flip game
Re: #15 – As a Celtics fan I have to laugh at comments like these. We’ve been hearing it ALL year long how the “Celtics are not that good,” and how the Celtics record would be much worse in the impossible Western Conference. News flash, buddy – the Celtics had a higher winning percentage against the West than the East. At what point will opposing fans give Celtics credit for doing the only thing that matters? Winning.
And you all wonder why Celts fans are insufferable bastards.
The sky is falling! the sky is falling! Super hardcore freak out! Okay no, i’m not going to do that.
@15, i wouldn’t in any way shape or form consider this year a failure. we’ve had great success this year, especially when we did not expect a whole lot. This year has been beautiful to watch and win or lose, it’s been real. That being said, I’m with you in the sense that I’m going to be crushed if we don’t win because of all the success we’ve had in the playoffs.
We’ve got to do a better job boxing out, especially on our own glass. KG got the Celtics a couple extra possessions that turned into extra points and obviously he had that monster highlight-for-all-time dunk that sealed the game.
Hillary Ocholla says
I’m based in Nairobi, Kenya. I watched Game 1 on ESPN, had to wake up at 3:30am on friday morning to catch it live. Same routine will be followed on Monday morning to watch game 2 live.
I was so devastated by the loss, felt like reliving the 2004 finals loss to Detroit over again.
I cant believe how many times the ball rattled in and out of the rim. Strategic plays & tactics aside, I really think if Kobe’s shots didnt keep going in and out, the Lakers would have won this game. The rest of the team also had their shots rattle in and out, its like something was in that rim.
I think the Lakers played well in spurts and especially well for a few minutes in the 2nd period when the Gasol/Kobe pick and roll sequence was working and opening up the offense. In the second half it looked like the Lakers wanted to keep working the pick and roll but Boston was able to adjust. Then our spacing was terrible, Odom attempted a 3 point shot, the ball was stagnant, and the Celtics were able to push our Bigs around. I think a lot of this has to do with just playing Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the road. Our players were tentative and looking for Kobe to takeover—he wasn’t able to. Hopefully our guys will come out with more fire and less nervousness in game 2, if not then I still think the Lakers can regain the momentum when they go home.
It looks like this will be a fight whether Pierce is 100% or not.
Hillary Ocholla says
Also Lamar, please resist from shooting 3’s? You’re dead accurate on my NBA Live but, on the real court……………….
chris h says
I agree that there was A LOT of shots that went “in and out”, should’ve dropped. but it was like there was a clear, invisible cover over the rim to keep it out.
now, we are all grown men (and women) who know that Leprechauns are not real, so we can’t honestly blame them.
but I have a theory that the C’s have a secret staff (from MIT, and Langely VA) who have rigged a wireless control that tweaks the bolts that hold the rim to the backboard, they can then make the rim either too tight, or too sloppy, and they keep changing it so our guys can’t get the feel for it. (they have both ends of the floor rigged, so they switch at halftime)
it’s hard to win this way, eh?
ok, enough of that…
I am hoping that what this did was like that Japanese commander who said after Pearl harbor, “I’m afraid all we’ve done is wake up a sleeping giant”…
maybe deep down our guys were starting to believe all the hype about how they dominated the west, marched through the toughest of opponents and this was going to be a cakewalk, (well, not a cakewalk, but favored to win and all…).
now, they know they are in for the fight of their lives, and better take game 2, or else they are in a very deep hole.
one of the commentors said this earlier, and was right on, this is the first time this team has started off a series with a loss, so now we’ll see if they have the hearts of champions, and fight like there’s no tomorrow, and get GAME 2!
Comment 15 from George Best (who I loved on the pitch) is a remnant of the belief that the East is still Least. It’s not as deep as the West, but the top two teams would have been right there in the West.
The shot chart has Rondo 3 of 7 outside the paint and Cassell 4 of 8. I think we figured out Cassell, so I hope Doc goes back to him. Rondo is just going to be streaky but I’ll take 3 of 7 on jumperss, 4 of 10 overall from him.
The rust factor was apparent for the Lakers last night. But, if I’m Boston, I’ve still got a lot to be worried about. They play at home with six days of rest for their old-timers, Kobe Bryant has a bad game, Lamar Odom has foul trouble, the Lakers bench is largely quiet, Kevin Garnett plays huge, the Celtics defense is great, Paul Pierce rouses the crowd and his own players with a Willis Reed impersonation… and the Lakers manage to stay within 4 points with under 2 minutes left to play. If the Lakers hadn’t gone ice cold in the 4th, they would have won, even with the Celtics playing their best game. Once the Lakers break the seal with a victory in Boston, there will be no looking back. And I wouldn’t be surprised if L.A. manages to win all 3 at home. Boston will have to deal with fatigue again as this series wears on, and their pitiful road play in the playoffs may still come back to haunt them. The Lakers got a game to feel them out. But, like the 76ers in 2001, the Celtics should realize that they will have to play THAT well and the Lakers will have to play THAT poorly for them to continue to eek out wins. I don’t see that happening.
First of my update linkis today, this from Coach Anthony over at Basketball Prosepectus:
I’m still very confident that the Lakers take this series. They were in control of this game at halftime and the momentum just happen to switch to Boston when Pierce came back into the game. Those things happen from time to tiem but you can’t expect that to be the case for an entire series.
Boston did what a lot of people expected they would do, win Game 1. Nobody should forget that. If LA can win Game 2 (very possible), this puts the Celtics’ backs against the wall.
My original comment  was in response to 15. Apologize for the confusion. I swear it was comment 8 [and mine was comment 12] when I originally posted it. [editor’s note: When comments get held for moderation (as they were last night while I slept) they go into the queue when they were written, that can bump down existing commments. I made the change to the numbers for you.]
Is anybody else having site problems since the ad went in? I’ve now had a couple of people say things are off. I may take it out until a new solution can be found.
#18 – Kyle, as much as I hate to concede anything to a Celtics fan, you make some valid points. The Celtics are for real, and if L.A. drops game 2 they are going to lose this series.
Mark Sigal says
It was a painful game to watch. No ifs, ands or buts. The bench was what you’d fear from the bench on the road. Lamar was invisible, and the missed shot from the corner in the 4th where KG did the rebound-dunk happened because Pau was standing on the side “waiting for the rebound” unawares on boxing out KG. I love Gasol but that play typifies the soft tendencies he shows. In fact, there were a couple of other times that he had a clear path to the basket but went for a floating type of layup versus a jam only to get fouled and have to shoot free throws, which happened multiple times in earlier series. Plus, he tends to miss his free throws at crunch time, as he did against San Antonio.
In any event, give the Celts credit for their part in disrupting the Lakers, and respect to the home bounces and breaks. We have got to play four quarters against these guys if we want to win, and we didn’t last night.
Game 2 and a split. Fingers crossed.
chris h says
Kurt, I checked both my mac (safari) and the pc(explorer), and the site looks ok for the, (the ad is skewed a bit to the right, not sure if that’s by design)
hope this helps.
29 – None that I can tell on this machine; though on one of my other computers, firefox froze up every time I tried to look at the comments section of a post. Something along those lines?
18 – Anyone who says the Celtics are a ‘bad’ team is simply wrong, and you are more than right to laugh at them for saying so. However, it’s not entirely impossible that the Celtics would have been right in the middle of that big 50-wins pack in the west. The Celtics went 14-1 against the West at home, and 11-4 on the road. A fine record, to be sure, but on the road against the West’s playoff teams the Celtics were 4-4. Yes, sweeping the Texas teams was impressive. Dumping 3 straight to teams that play zero defense (Nugs, Warriors, Suns) has to be at least a bit worrisome.
I mean, the average number of wins the Celts’ opponents had in their last 10 games? 30.5. The Lakers? 40.9. In other words, down the strech the Celtics got to play an aggregate 10 games against a team slightly worse than the Bobcats. The Lakers were dueling with teams approximately equivalent to 10 games against the Trail Blazers. You REALLY don’t think that the Celtics would have managed to struggle a bit more if they’d played in the West? Really? Not at all?
Even 6 fewer wins (not that unfeasible given an extra 6 or 7 really difficult road games, plus a lot stiffer competition at home) gets them within striking distance of the Lakers, Hornets, Spurs and Jazz going into the last two weeks. Maybe if they were playing teams with a pulse over those final ten games, with a couple of hard-charging young teams in the Lakers and Hornets, plus the defending champion Spurs, the Celtics tighten up a bit. Maybe not. But since the East has three varsity teams and a dozen from the JV, we’ll never know.
Here’s the thing – nobody is really trying to take away from your team’s accomplishments. When they say the Celtics look beatable, it’s because they did. Kobe, after killing in 3 straight series, looked horrible. Maybe that’s partially Boston’s defense – but it’s not totally, because when he’s really on it doesn’t matter who’s guarding him, and that’s the most widely-accepted truth in the league. I think why other fanbases sometimes find some Celtics fans insufferable is how they react to comments this season that don’t immediately proclaim the Three Party & Friends as the greatest team of all time. They get awfully defensive.
I know because Lakers fans are often accused of the same with regards to Kobe Bryant. Admitting it is the first step. For BOTH sides. 🙂
… Scratch that ‘ad looking okay.’ It’s completely covering up the FB&G banner and offset slightly to the right (just didn’t notice it, I guess). Ugh.
I can’t be too upset with that loss. Kobe missed alot, and Pau missed some he would normally hit, and we still had a see-saw game until the Celtics home emotion pushed them through. I can live with KG taking all of those outside shots, because it keeps the offense stagnant, and he won’t hit it consistantly in the 4th. We need to do a better job on the glass also. But basically it came down to hitting shots. that was the difference. I’m not sure why Kobe was hesitant going to the basket MORE. Good things happened when he did, but he settled for jumpers. Isn’t this what the Celtics want? I hope there’s some master plan involved. I say this because Phil didn’t mention much about it, and Kobe didn’t seem to worried either. considering the closeness of the game, I feel that they felt fine with it.
Does Kobe open it up more in Game 2? He needs to, and Lamar has to be more aggressive. I feel the Celtics pretty much played as well as they’re going to, but the Lakers were far from their best. I couldn’t feel disappointed at all. I think one got away though.
Oh by the way, PP must have gotten some tips from Curt Schilling how on to create a legacy. I can’t believe he was as hurt as he appeared to be. A litle showmanship.
Defensively, it doesn’t appear the Lakers have too many adjustment to make. The Celtics offense looks pretty unimaginative, and the only reason they got to 98 pts was 1. Pierce got a couple of transition 3’s, 2. The Lakers gave them free points by playing over aggressive defense away from the hoop, which should NEVER happen. The Celtics have not proved they can score consistently on even decent defense in the half court. Lets force them to make shots, and rebound better, and they’ll stay around the 85-90 area. If that happens, the Lakers have a chance to win any game in Boston
Here is what I want to see from Kobe on the offense.
1. Fewer long 2s, like other posters pointed out. Those are the most inefficient shots available, and he can have them any time – so it’s a fall back option
2. More patience on his drives. The Celtics rotate really well, with the objective of taking charges. That means you don’t go bulldoze into the defense – you drive but maintain your dribble, then look for midrange J, floater and runners as well as kick-outs. In Atlanta, Joe Johnson KILLED the Celtics D this way
3. More drives into the middle of the paint – and better if it comes from picks or post up situations. When he gets into the heart of the Celtics D, he becomes the ultimate decoy. And the C’s slap and grab like crazy, it increases the chances of him going to the line
A very good, exciting game with some drama last night. Thought the Celtics played poor defense in the first half, which is why the Lakers shot over 53%, Boston upped the defense in the 2nd half, which is why they won.
The thing that strikes me most as a Celtics fan over the course of the playoff is how much better they are playing as the playoffs have gone on. Looking at the Atlanta series I never thought they would be in the finals. But against Detroit they managed two road wins in a very tough place to play, Looking at the makeup of the teams I think Detroit is a lot more balanced team than LA, and in some ways that can be a harder type of team to play against.
One of the things that I think that the analysis misses is that Fisher is going to be a big factor because of his experience. Not so sure of that – I think Billups is a far tougher proposition for the Celtics to deal with than Fisher.
The other thing I was surprised about was the Lakers bench play. I thought that was going to be more significant. Detroit had a really really good bench, what I saw from the Lakers was not at all comparable. Maybe they had an off night, but I think that if the Lakers are going to win they are going to need better bench play.
I agree with you. I’m in RI, so I got to see alot of Celtic games on TV. I watched them 2nd most to the Lakers. I’ve thought all season long, that they have no real offense, or set offense. They thrive on talent and they swing the ball around well. Maybe it’s me being used to watching the triangle and seeing the offense play out as it should, but I feel that the Celtics have no game plan offensively except to rely on letting KG and PP do their thing and work off of that. You saw a gameplan with the Spurs, or Jazz. The Celtics are like a more fundamental, slower paced, version of the Nuggets. A free flowing offense.
I don’t think it makes sense for a superstar to pull himself out of the biggest game of his career with a fake injury. I think he was really hurt and really scared and after settling down he realized it wasn’t going to be a lasting thing so he came back. ::shrugs::
I like DTC’s comments except I don’t know about increasing his chances of going to the line. The refs are apparently going to let them play.
Kurt – post not okay?
I didn’t think he wasn’t hurt. I just think he, ummm, definitely went for the dramatic effect.
39 – otbricki, just curious: How healthy do you think Billups was over the course of that series? 80%? 90? 100? I definitely agree Billups is a better PG than Fish (one of the best in the league IMHO), but I’m not sure he ever totally got over doing that split.
I wince every time I see that clip. *wince*
No. Detroit’s bench is not better. The Celtics didn’t play poor D either. The Lakers is THAT good, on offense to be bad and still be 53%. The Lakers played poor offense, if anything. That should worry you. Kobe straight up missed shots. Shots he normall hits. Not because of the Celtics D, although he settled for the jumper too much. When he drove, guys got easy baskets.
Kobe’s career statistics in the NBA Finals are pretty pedestrian for someone who gets the respect and recognition he does.
Around 22pts, 40% FG, and less than 11 rebounds and assists combined.
If Kobe keeps on playing in the Finals the way he did with Shaq i.e. sporadically brilliant, other times downright putrid, the Lakers will not win more than 2 games in this series.
Kobe wanted this more than anyone. To be the top dog and get his own ring. The road only gets tougher from here.
The MJ comparisons are laughable, but Kobe needs to prove that he is indeed the best player in this series.
I love that it’s Kobe’s fault, win or lose. The reason those Shaq teams were winning titles is that the role players stepped up in big games — Rice, Horry, Fisher, on down the line. What Laker role guys stepped up last night?
I think we may have solved the Tech/ad placement stuff. How do things look for you?
from LA TIMES Blog:
Game 1 of the NBA Finals garnered a 10.4 overnight rating. This has to be considered disapointing and begs the question, is the NBA a particular popular league if a matchup between it’s two most storied franchises, coming from markets #2 (Los Angeles) and # 7 (Boston), gets a rating at least %50 lower than than that of of any NFL wildcard game this decade? Note, that ratings for finals tend to go downward after game 1 – until a game a game 6 and certainly a game 7.
While the rating is still relatively high for a finals game 1 – the highest game 1 rating since Pistons/Lakers 2004 – it’s only %30 higher than last year’s game 1, Spurs/Cavs, a series noted for it’s miserable ratings.
Even in Los Angeles, the rating wasn’t great in a historical context. A 22.8, down %22 from the 29.3 LA gave game 1 of Detroit/LA.
In Boston, the rating was 22.1. The rating for Red Sox/Rockies world series game 1 in Boston was 49.8.
The national “concern” for the NBA with the ratings are that this could possibly be “as good as it gets” for the league. Unless the New York Knicks somehow became an exciting, star laden, great team that faced the Lakers in the finals, one can’t think of a better finals matchup for the NBA..
The confirmation here, is that without any ambiguity, the NBA stuck as the third most popular American team sport after baseball, and is not showing signs of moving up.
nope. it’s now blocking the subtitle of the page.
This might back up chocomm’s assertion although, I kind of disagree with Chocomm’s idea that Kobe and MJ comparisons are laughable. http://www.michaeljordansworld.com/stats_finals.htm
I never thought I would say this, but I think I have to side with what Sheed said in the Eastern Conference Finals. Outside of Perk and KG, the Celtics look like “floppers” and over exaggerators. To me, the fact that Pierce could come back after maybe 5-10 minutes after being wheelchaired off was melodramatic to me.
This point was epitomized when on an ensuing play when he very obviously grabbed a handful of Odom’s jersey to get a rebound. I’m okay with the jersey grabbing and the over the back call, but I’m not okay with the fact that Pierce had to rub his neck and wince like someone just stabbed him after the fact. You sold it and got the call already stop playing it up.
Lakers lost to a scrappy Celtics team and looked like they bought Pierce’s wounded animal routine and didn’t think he would bomb those consecutive treys on them.
Kobe got caught up in the lights and tried to do too much on his own in the 2nd half. The Lakers best run actually came with Kobe on the bench and when he came back out they loaded up on him and the passing was not there. Odom eluded to this in a postgame interview and I felt like he was thinking of Kobe when he was talking about it.
All in all, the one thought I had during the entire game was this was the BEST the Celtics could play. Pierce 22 on 10 shots, Cassell NAILING those 15 footers (I know that’s what he always does, but not for years now), Allen with the all around good game of 8 boards and 5 assists. I just can’t see all those things happening again.
KG is gonna be KG, but the rest of the cast playing like that along with the Lakers playing that bad in the 4th…and still only losing by 10…
I was kind of indifferent before, but after seeing Boston fans and some of the Celtic antics…Go Lakers =P.
Nice thoughts. I couldn’t agree more.
chris h says
kurt, I’m assuming you are busy working on the technical issues, but thought you might want to know the page just went to that ol’ sky blue page layout we had a whle back…
(those darn advertisers, gotta have ’em, at least it helps to see some $$’s for your efforts, but look at all the extra work they make for you)
Craig W. says
Now we are back to the old format. I suggest people refer to other comments by name, not by number. Makes it easier to follow, since the numbers often get changed.
Nomuskles, I know about the subtitle. We may just live with that at this point.
Craig W. says
I am not sure whether last night was an off night because 1) the Celtic’s defense was that good, 2) the Lakers were rusty, 3) or this is the 1st final game for people who have had pressure issues or are relatively young.
I actually think we can deal with #1 or #2. It is #3 that worries me. Three point specialists consistently missing wide open shots and Lamar reverting to the guy in the background give me cause for worry. I sure hope #2 was the biggest problem and that Phil and staff will bring the team in line for Sunday – I am glad we have two days between games at this time.
53. Chris. all the tech monkeying around should be done with for today, we should be on this format and stay there. I learned some things about how this site was built that will be a part of redesign discussions this summer. Bottom line, I don’t get many ads (I don’t solicit ads is a key reason) but when they do come my way it shouldn’t be this hard.
The Fanalyst says
I just read where Pierce’s knee is stiff and swollen and he won’t practice prior to game time for treatment. Didn’t seem to slow him in the second half, but once the adrenaline wears off and you wake up in the morning look out. I’m sure he’ll be in uniform, but this might be the kind of injury that lingers and effects him through the series (cough, cough, Manu).
I don’t have anything on Kendrick Perkins, but his ankle prevented him from returning. Doc said he was 60%. Hopefully he stays 60%. We’ve been beat up all year. Fish’s torn ankle tendon and Kobe’s useless pinky finger aren’t mentioned anymore. Sounds like we’re the tougher team that can gut out the series when it gets even more physical. At least I hope so.
Underbruin, Billup’s heath is an interesting question; I think it is clear that he was not 100%.
However that doesn’t mean he wasn’t effective. His minutes played and points scored in the playoffs were essentially the same as his regular season numbers.
“It’s very telling – his eFG% on jumpers is just 47.2%, but he shoots them almost as often as Kobe Bryant does! 73% vs Kobe’s 75%. When he goes to ‘inside’ shots, that shoots up to 72.5% eFG.”
eFG% is a meaningless stat for Garnett, because he doesn’t really shoot three pointers, so his eFG is pretty close to his actual FG. What you really want to say is that he is making about 47% of _all_ his jumpers. Which is actually a pretty good rate.
There is another bias you fail to recognize: his high percentage on inside shots comes from the fact that he’s taking mostly ‘good’ inside shots — putbacks, wide-open dunks, drives against single coverage. Of course, look for this percentage to plummet if he tried to take it in against double teams and help from the weak side.
if we click on the hideous ad, does that net you more money? or is it making u money just staring me down? I’m more than happy to click on it a bunch of times.
wondahbap, I haven’t seen the Lakers that much this year, so maybe their bench is better than Detroit’s. But it sure didn’t play that way in game 1. We shall see over the course of the series if they can up their performance. If it doesnt get better the Lakers are not going to win, IMHO.
As far as the Laker’s offense, I think you are being a little over the top. They shot a higher percentage than their playoff or regular season average against the top defense on the road in the first half. That is a pretty good result and claerly not poor play on their part.
So we all know the Lakers lost because they played a terrible second half, didn’t move the ball well at all, settled for jumpers, probably got complacent when they saw Paul Pierce go down, didn’t run the triangle and all the automatic cuts well, etc. etc. Clearly they let themselves get beat, or beat themselves, whatever you want to call it. In watching the game, its still apparent that the Lakers CAN BE the better team, if they play their style of basketball. The Celtics gave their best effort last night and we were still right there most of the game.
ALL THAT BEING SAID, Eddie Rush and Dick Bavetta can’t call a fair game if their lives depended on it. The Lakers were in the penalty almost immediately after the start of the quarter and the Celtics not until the end. The Celtics were constantly grabbing jerseys (see this link: http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/breakout/stories/PE_Sports_Local_S_finals_06.405f8e2.html),
PJ Brown was pushing off for rebounds and setting moving picks, ditto Garnett on the pushing off, and while the backcourt violation on Garnett looked like a good no-call on the replay, the one on Pau and Kobe was just bogus. While the referees didn’t cost the Lakers the game, it certainly doesn’t help that the officiatiing is not consistent on both ends of the floor, with one side being allowed to play more “physical” than the other. While it is not the reason the Lakers lost, it certainly didn’t help them or even things out more. It’s kind of ridiculous.
otbricki, I will say the Lakers bench tends to play a lot better at home then on the road. That may be a function of being relatively young and inexperienced. This is not the first playoff game they seemed useless on the road.
Also, when you look at the Lakers season shooting averages, you really need to do it with Gasol in the lineup and without. The shooting percentages from November are from a very different team in a lot of ways, so the season numbers are not totally useful.
J.D. Hastings says
I’m still not sure how to take that game. The Celtic’s defense was great and largely kept us out of the lane, but we also missed a lot of open shots we often make.
I thought Kobe’s first 8 shots were his worst. At times he and Ray Allen were the only guys on their side of the floor, but instead of driving past Allen to get a closer look or force the help to come, he would bail Ray Ray out by just shooting the long jumpshot. It was like he’d read that they were going to defend him like San Antonio so he just came out and assumed he had to make the exact same shots. After a while he figured it out a bit and started wracking up assists and getting 10 foot shots instead of 20 footers. Not surprisingly, more of those went in. Overall, I’m hoping this bad game from him and the 2 days of rest are a good thing because he’ll be upset at himself and will watch a lot of tape. I’m hoping he responds similarly to how he responded to his bad game 1 against Denver actually.
Will Pierce and Perkins be affected by their injuries in the next games (and yes they were really hurt. The people saying otherwise sound EXACTLY like the Utah fans whining that Kobe didn’t really hurt his back. Just stop.)? I’ve had sprained ankles before where the night of the injury I was able to use it, but couldn’t walk the next day or two. Regardless, if he is on the court guys have to force him to be mobile. Drive on him and don’t give him open 3s. Same with Perkins.
All in all, the Pierce injury-return was weird in that it didn’t seem like it fired up the Celtics as much as it seemed to throw the Lakers off their game. Like they didn’t know how to react. In the 4th quarter when they looked a little lost it felt like a 15 point game when it was really 6-8 points. The team can absolutely come back if they have the right attitude and don’t face another distraction like they did this game.
J.D. Hastings says
Actually, check that. Go ahead and give Perkins the open 3.
Interesting note out of practice today: Kobe was working on his post moves.
I don’t think it was “adrenaline” that carried Pierce through the 2nd half. I would probably call it “Morphine” or “Cortisone.” That’s just my assumption.
I think it is funny how the media never asks bout suck injections when players are injured, because they do not want star players to be perceived less than the super heroes they are made out to be.
To be honest I was hoping that Pierce would come back, because beating the Celtics without Pierce would be like hunting a three legged dear.
Does anyone have a sports science back ground, or know what the realities of such pain killing treatments are?
I’d personally like to see Ariza gaurding either Allen or Pierce next game. I think this would make our defensive backcourt more dynamic and also free Kobe up to concentrate more of his game on offense. I don’t like the match up of Pau against KG seeing as Pau is not very athletic nor is he physical enough to keep KG out the paint. LO is the perfect matchup for KG he’s long and athlectic and he can actually cause problems for KG on the offensive side taking him off the dribble. Farmar needs to get more minutes! I know he’s inexperienced but he is the only answer that we have to Cassell. We all know that Cassell is not a great defensive player (and he’s old) so when he’s in the game that gives us and opportunity to attack him and get him in foul trouble early. I’d also like to see Sasha playing more minutes at the point gaurd spot for defensive purposes (like he did against Utah) I think his size would create problems for both Rondo and Cassell. At some point in the game I think the line-up should be Sasha (PG), Kobe (SG), Ariza (SF), LO (PF), Pau (C). I think this line-up gives us the best chance at matching up with the Celtics on defense. Oh yeah and on another note KEEP LUKE WALTON OUT OF THE GAME IN THE 4th!!!! He does absolutely nothing for us on O or D and I don’t see the point of having him in there. I’d much rather see Radman in the game than Luke.
re: “As far as the Laker’s offense, I think you are being a little over the top. They shot a higher percentage than their playoff or regular season average against the top defense on the road in the first half. That is a pretty good result and claerly not poor play on their part.”
No, I am not being over the top. They missed a ton of shots they make alot of the time, shots not affected by the C’s defense. I will gice the C’s defense credit for boxing out, and for stifling Lamar, but not for all of where the Lakers went wrong. Like you said, you “haven’t seen the Lakers that much this year.” Meanwhile, I have watched about 75 Lakers games, and living in RI, I’ve watched at least 25-30 Celtics games. So I happen to know what I am talking about. When this Lakers offense is going, it is unstoppable. We all know that here, and it’s not homerism. Boston has very good defense, but I cannot call it great. Detroit in ’04 played great D, great individual defense, and great team defense. They completely stopped what the Lakers wanted to do. Boston did not do that in the 1st half, nor the 2nd. We know the shots the Lakers take and make with regularity, and we all here, can tell you that offensively, the Lakers weren’t anymore stifled in the 2nd, than the 1st. We were 2 unanswered baskets (PP’s 3’s) from that stealing that game.
***including 16 playoff games….makes 92 Laker Games, 31-37 Celtics games….
Hastings, maybe you were thinking he was Sam Perkins. Hah…
Ryan O says
Re: The Pierce injury, I don’t think he was consciously faking, but I do think his reaction was more due to fear than actual pain. He said after the game that he heard his knee “pop” when he landed; my guess is that sound, combined with whatever pain he did feel, made him think that the injury was way worse than it really was. I think it’s unrealistic to assume that whole sequence was somehow calculated on Pierce’s part. If it had been Kobe, no doubt Celtic fans would be saying the same thing, but we would know better. Same thing here.
It’d be nice to see him post up more. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he let Jesus Shutlsworth off the hook. His eyes should light up when he sees #20.
Kurt, thanks for the info from practice – I like it. Putting Kobe closer to the hoop may mean less long twos, and also forces help defenders to show their cards BEFORE Kobe starts to drive, which could allow him to survey the defense and find open men better.
I worry, however, about the physicality allowed at the Garden. the C’s might be able to do whatever they want in pushing Kobe off the block. Then we’re right back where we started
Couple more updates worth reading.
David Neiman at SportshubLA:
and KD at Yahoo:
I don’t quite get some of the comments suggesting that we should take away the positive that the Lakers were in the game in the fourth quarter despite Boston playing it’s “best” game — Paul Pierce made a single shot in the first half; Ray Allen was 5-13, and KG missed 9 or 10 shots in a row in the second half. To me, that leaves a lot of room for the C’s to improve. If anything, it just shows how a tremendous defense can compensate for offensive deficiencies. The Celtics really impressed me last night with their will to win.
It’s also discouraging that we’re 4 series into the playoffs and we’re still having to discuss Lamar’s and Pau’s lack of aggression and toughness. They should get it by now. I also think the Lakers are in a little bit of denial that Kobe just had an anomalous off shooting night in game 1. Pau or no Pau, Kobe has faced the C’s three times this season, and all three times he has had “off shooting nights.” There’s a reason for that trend.
Despite that pessimistic view of yesterday, I have to put faith in the best coach in the game, the best player in the game, and a Lakers team that previously has shown tremendous heart and the ability to adjust. They have proven my doubts wrong before, and I hope they can do it again.
61. nomuskles: hideous? I don’t hate it, personally. It’s less distracting than the flashing Pony ad that was up for a whole season at one point a couple years ago (probably before many of you were regulars here). Fun ad but distracting.
No, I am not getting more money for clickthroughs. It’s a flat sum based on site visits estimated. However, if a lot of people clicked on the ad and went to the Converse site, I’m sure that is tracked and would help with potential future advertising. There will never be a ton here, but I do want to cover my costs.
Frankly, I don’t know why people care so much about Pierce’s injury. Real or fake, bum knee or good knee, real leg or prosthetic leg, the Lakers’ job is to focus on the task at hand and execute..
I think many people are only bitter about it because we lost, and slamming the other team’s character makes some feel better (certainly doesn’t do the same for me)
” If anything, it just shows how a tremendous defense can compensate for offensive deficiencies. The Celtics really impressed me last night with their will to win. ”
Good points. But KG is known for his 2nd halves not being like his 1st, and Ray Allen has been aub par most of the playoffs. I would like to think the Lakers expected those things. I would prefer to Let KG have that same game (minus the huge putback dunk). It was what I thought would happen pretty much. Him taking those shots keeps the offense standing around. Not saying it’s a selfish shot at all, or bad shots. But the less the Celtics swing the ball, the better for the Lakers to be in rebounding position, because it keeps the Celtics in one spot, and keeps KG away from the basket.
Well… we played like crap, still got off relatively decent shots in the 4th (missing most of them) and still had a striking distance game… I think the player quotes said it best… ball rotation stopped after the 2nd pass/cut… Unfortunately, the Celtics didn’t play exactly great to close out that game, they left the door open a lot longer than, say, San Antonio would have (in the 2nd as well)… The Lakers need to trust the triangle rotations, and the shots will fall. They shoot their percentage in the 4th and they probably win.
Kurt, the site looks fine to me…
Haha PJ Brown is pretty fun to watch out there. I kept waiting for him to set his feet just once. At one point he was like Sean Avery out there waving his hands in front of the people he was screening.
For the record did Ed (F the Lakers) Rush call anything against Boston all night?
barry g says
1. last night, it seemed like taking his man 1-on-1 was the last thing gasol wanted to do. too often i saw him get the ball in the post, and then spend too much time looking for someone to pass to before thinking about shooting. we need more pts in the paint, and he has to be a big part of that.
2. celtics did a great job not falling for kobe’s jab steps and feints, and keeping him out of the paint (in the 4th qtr especially, you could see kobe trying to get into the lane, but w/ no decent way to get there).
3. getting outrebounded hasn’t been a problem yet in these playoffs. i think it is now.
4. hope phil’s adjustments don’t take the lakers too far away from what they’ve done to get to this point. doubt they will, but i’d hate to see us turn to iso’s in desparation.
5. guess boston’s coaching staff spent so much time focusing on defense that they forgot to construct an offense. boston on offense is like watching a pick-up game (albeit a game involving some pretty damn good pick-up game players like KG and pierce). hopefully the lakers can get it together on defense by sunday.
The General says
Sleeper, #51, you’re kidding, right? When Pierce went to the line after Odom grabbed him, you could clearly see he was bleeding from his neck.
It’s hard to blame the refs for this one – while there were a few bad calls, they went both ways: see, for example, the foul called on Perkins when he got injured. Did I miss something, or did Derek Fisher fall on his leg and they called Perk for the loose ball? Bizarre. Generally, I thought that the refs were pretty decent in this one, especially given how terrible they’ve been through much of the playoffs.
Underbruin, #10. You make some good points. Regression to the mean (shooting-wise) can be a killer/saviour. Of course, one doesn’t expect KG to finish 9-22 from the field when he begins a game 8-11,.
As you point out, James Posey shot poorly from the field. But Ray Allen and PJ Brown (who can hit that 12-15 footer) as well as KG, also missed some nice looks in the second half.
The series will be a competitive one, but the pundits who predicted the Lakers to blow the C’s out of the water were way off base. Defensively, the Celtics don’t have wonderful one-one-one perimeter defenders; certainly no one as good as the the Spurs’ guys, Bowen and Ginobli. But they do have the best low-post D in the league: their front court is substantially deeper and more athletic than that of the Spurs and the Jazz. They help/rotate very well. And they played out of their minds in the 4th quarters of both Game 6 against Detroit and Game 1 vs. the Lakers..
Did Kobe’s teamates miss a lot of wide open jumpers in that last period? Maybe in the last minute, but not before that. I remember them missing a lot of well-contested shots. But then, what you say about Green/Purple colored glasses is also correct…
Right on. I believe the same thing. Read #40. DTC had a good post regarding the same thing.
J.D. Hastings says
74- I think you’re on the same page as Kobe himself, if Kurt’s post at 67 is any indication…
Random thought… teams that have good offenses have 1 ingredient: a perimeter player who is at once a shooting, driving, and passing threat on pick and rolls. I’m thinking Phoenix (Nash), GS (BDavis), Jazz (Deron), Hornets (Paul), Lakers (Kobe), Pistons (Billups).
Granted this does not guarantee good offense (see Rockets with Tmac, or Cavs with Lebron), but it’s interesting to note that the Celtics have NONE. Neither Pierce nor Allen is particularly good at distributing off of pick and roll, and Rondo you can mostly just go under the screen on. Which is a shame, because KG is the perfect PNR big man. But this is why the C’s have to rely on 1 on 1 play and screens for Ray Allen
My internet has been down so I just tried to plow through all of the excellent posts/comments. It seems there are lots of good points about our bench production (slim), the refs (I agree with Kurt, and I mentioned it last night too, the 50/50 calls went the Celtics way, but they are at home so…), and about our average play in comparison to the Celtics playing above average, but not at their peek either.
I think what threw off our bench is that Phil altered his rotations some. It was subtle but he did change things up. He went to Sasha when he subbed out RadMan in the first quarter (putting Kobe on Pierce and Sasha on Ray), he only went with Farmar for a short period of time (I think Phil feared Cassell manhandling Farmar, but Sam still went to work on Fish), and he did not give Kobe his normal rest at the start of the 4th. And though I am never one to criticize Phil, I don’t think any of these things worked in our favor. I know that Luke is getting slammed again on these boards, but I still think we need to go to our normal rotation. If that means that Luke gets his number called and he’s matched up with Pierce, then so be it. Play your team defense and execute the best that you can.
I could go on and on about all these little things that happened, or lament about what needs to change, but I won’t. The Celtics played a good game, hit some timely shots, made some hustle plays on some loose balls, rebounded the hell out of the ball and got the win. We played an average to below average game, were in it the entire time and just could not make a shot when we needed it. If Boston plays the same game on Sunday, but we make 3-4 more shots that are good looks for us, we will win. BUT, every game is new and will play out in it’s own way. I will not discount the Celtics…they are the best team that we have played so far. Their 3 best players have all been GREAT in this league at one time and deserve the respect they get; they’ve earned that.
Now is the time where we see what our team is made of. This is the first series where we’ve trailed. It’s the first series where a game was close (besides the Kobe/Back game against Utah) where we were in striking distance and did not pull out the win. It’s the first series where a team has as much capable depth as we do (I mean, come on, Cassell, Brown, and Posey were major contributors last night and gave them more than anyone off our bench but Turiaf). So I expect a fight on Sunday. But I know that our top game can beat theirs. I know it. Doc can tell his players during every timeout that they are the better team…I think Kobe, Pau, Lamar, et al are going to have something to say about that when it’s all said and done.
The Celtics’ offense, as some have noted, is not inspirational. I think the Lakers can handle that. And I think that their straying from the triangle in the second half really hurt them. There was not enough movement off the ball and, as Kurt said at the top, we were made into a jump-shooting team. I really think the Celts got into our heads as we went on in the 4th quarter. We did miss a lot of jump shots but we really have to play our game. And less Luke in the 4th quarter. We should be playing Sasha or Ariza in place of Luke; either that or we really need to rotate better.
Pierce was really hurt but he is a big time drama queen (although not as bad as D Wade being taken off the court in a wheelchair for a hurt shoulder). Now it will go down in Celtic lore as one of the great heroic moments in history like the Bataan Death March. Get me a bag!
Odom’s inability to consistently hit the mid-range shots (never mind free throws) is really hurting the offensive flow. The Celtics aren’t the Denver Nuggets, you can’t keep trying to dribble drive through a swarming defense.
Too many times the Lakers went for pump fakes by outside shooters and bailed the Celtics out with free throws.
It’s always bad news when the more physical team gets more free throws and is in the penalty sooner. They get the benefit on both defense and offense.
Still, all things considered, the game was there to be won.
Kurt, I don’t disagree with you in saying that the role players really matter greatly in the playoffs, especially during the Finals.
What I’m trying to say is that now that Kobe is the one and only #1 option on this team, he needs to improve his level of play in order for the Lakers to have a shot at winning this series. Yes, Rice, Fisher, Horry were amazing contributors, but we always had Shaq’s 30 points and 15 rebounds as a solid foundation. And on nights where Shaq was in foul trouble and/or he didn’t produce Finals MVP numbers? The Lakers almost always lost. (Although the Game 4 of 2004 Finals was a great disappointment when Shaq had 35+ points and 18+ rebs)
If Kobe is going to hover around 40% FG’s with 25+ attempts, I think it’s not going to look good for us. In a series this evenly matched, I expect a Sasha three or a Derek flop to matter as much as a Kobe jumper, but in the end, he is our best player.
I don’t get to watch a lot of ball on the TV, so I’m kind of in the dark here, so I’m looking for enlightenment.
A thought on Gasol: the few games I’ve seen of the Lakers these playoffs, I haven’t seen much of a post game from him. Is it the defense? (He’s facing Garnett now: check. Duncan: check.) Or the triangle? I know he’s not forcing it–his shooting percentage is crazy good since joining the Lakers, he’s getting lots of good looks due to body and ball movement.
And as the series goes on, can Gasol continue to get the ball in the post but always look pass first? Or is that normal (and good) for the Triangle?
84 (The General) – true that Garnett went ‘colder’ than one might expect. I think, though, that was partially due to the fact that a lot of his shots were of the 18-ft turnaround variety (and the couple of times he went down low, he got 2-shot shooting fouls, which don’t count towards ‘made’ shots but help your team nearly as much).
I agree on the Perkins call that it did look like Fish managed to get tangled in Kendrick’s feet – but one bad call in one direction doesn’t offset ten in the other. Not that I actually agree that the Lakers were the victims of awful officiating – I think it was, like Kurt, fairly close with largely the 50/50 calls going to Boston as one expects at home in the playoffs. I’m simply pointing out that one blatant missed call doesn’t excuse a litany of others the other direction (also known as the ‘Spurs game 4’ argument, heh).
I’m less worried about PJ Brown getting going than I am about Allen (obvs), and I actually do expect Posey to hit more often. I was simply pointing out that this series is unlikely to hinge on the shooting efforts of bench players, given the heavy hitters involved. Whereas for teams like Detroit ‘role’ players come off the bench, for LA and Boston the ‘role’ players are the ones surrounding the main trio (other two starters plus maybe 6th man) who will, I think, dictate the series.
Re: pundits, I think we’ve hopefully all learned to never trust what comes out of their mouths, yes? 🙂 Anyway, the Lakers were such favorites because of how well they played in the first two rounds compared to Boston – I think that both teams played equally well in the conf finals, with maybe even an edge to the Celtics (given that two of LA’s wins involved double-digit comebacks in the 2nd half). Having said that, though, if Kobe shoots in Game 1 like he did against the Spurs, it’s likely the Lakers win. I’m not a fan of depending on a player – even one as great as Kobe – staying unusually hot in order to win. Nevertheless, when commentators saw how he cut down the Spurs from the midrange, they expected more of the same against Boston. If he hits another 4 or 5 shots (which would put him in the same ballpark as his efforts against San Antonio), the Lakers are possibly leading or tied going into the final couple minutes. One never knows – Kobe’s uptick in performance could have meant Tony Allen off the bench going crazy and knocking down 7 threes. Unlikely, but technically possible, so we’ll never know.
I think Game 2 will be awfully telling – not just because it seems so vital for the Lakers to avoid going into a 2-0 hole. It will also show how LA responds to adversity, how the Celtics handle a game with a bit less of an adrenaline high, and whether or not ‘bad’ Kobe has returned, or was simply making a cameo appearance to remind Lakers fans how lucky they are not to have to watch him nearly as often anymore.
Good chatting with you, sir. See you on Sunday.
Bill Bridges says
Lets hope both Pierce and Perkins are healthy for game 2.
Espcially Pierce who was a stud. Hopefully it was just a sprain and he can play.
the other Stephen says
our lakers need our help! just a little gaggle of hometown LA fans situated near the benches would be enough. i bet i could outcheer at least 5 celtics fans. man, i destroy graduations..
Eerie similarities to this team and the Detroit team in the sense that both teams were juggernauts on defense and highly underrated by the media.
What is weird to me is that both teams have players who uniquely and strangely matchup well vs. our key players. For example Gasol and LO have trouble against long, lanky, spry bigs who can alter shots (KG). Turiaf has problems with bigger & stronger energy players who can battle him for the boards (i.e. Powe, Glen Davis). Sasha has trouble with quick release shooters (Allen). Luke……well he has trouble with everyone!
In addition, they have the right mix of players to guard Kobe. A hard-nose tall defender (Posey), a bigger SF (PP), and a shooting guard who will tire Kobe out by just running around picks all day (Ray Allen). Remember, this is the first time Kobe has to actual guard someone in the playoffs instead of conserving his enery (Anthony Carter/JR Smith, Ronnie Brewer, Bruce Bowen).
That is why if we force them to play our tempo and less half-court offense….we have a shot. I think a lineup of Fisher, Kobe, LO (on PP), Turiaf (KG), and Gasol will do well. Also a bench lineup of Farmar, Ariza, Sasha, LO, and Vlad would work well too (intermittently having Kobe run with that squad).
I really feel that this particular series…..Luke is not going to help us much. He should not under any circumstance be paired against PJ Brown or Powe. He is just too small and will get outrebounded. I rather play Mbenga than Luke right now.
Game 2 will be really telling in terms of adjustments. I agree with Kurt that we really don’t know what we are getting out of Ariza with the long layoff and of course the staff knows better than we do in regards to his conditioning. But come on….he can at least give us some serviceable minutes. I don’t see how he can be as harmful as Luke or Vlad. The guy can flat out play! Its not like the guy forgot how to run or play basketball. He is what he is……..athletic wing who can fly and dunk! I can recall that these are exactly the type of guys that play for the Hawks (and we all know what they did to the C’s).
Rob L. says
The Kobe-Pau pick and roll worked magic for a bit, then the Celtics adjusted/the Lakers stopped executing it. But if Kobe is posting up in practice, there could also be a Lamar-Kobe pick and roll. Two sets depending on who’s at the wing. Add in some dishes from strong side post Kobe to weak side post Pau and it could be real pretty.
I know this forum is all about strategy and match ups, but you guys got to love Phil’s cynicism:
“Well, if I’m not mistaken, I think Willis (Jackson’s former teammate) missed a whole half and three quarters and literally had to have a (cortisone) shot, three or four of them in his thigh, to come back and play,”
“Paul got carried off and was back on his feet in a minute. I don’t know if the angels visited him at halftime or in that timeout period, but he didn’t even limp when he came back out on the floor. I don’t know what was going on there. Was Oral Roberts back there in their locker room?”
I was just trying to lighten the mood a bit. I am sure everyone is a bit concerned about trailing for the first time these playoffs, but I think that we should all just relax and enjoy Sunday’s game. The Lakers will prevail.
wondahbap . #70
“They missed a ton of shots they make alot of the time, shots not affected by the C’s defense.”
All teams do that. Anyone who watches as much basketball as you do must realize that.
Look at Garnett in the 2nd half of the game. He missed a ton of shots he makes a lot of the time. It is a normal part of any basketball game.
I am pretty sure it wasn’t cortisone. That is an anti-inflammatory, not a pain reliever that takes a couple of days to work. Initially it makes the soreness worse, not better. Morphine is a powerful pain reliever, but is also a strong sedative. I don’t think you would give it to a professional athlete looking to come back into a game.
Don’t discount adrenaline. That is a natural response that is as powerful or more so than anything artificial that you can inject. Release of adrenaline is often triggered by bright lights and loud noises.
new post up, echoing the points from these comments.