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This is late but It took me a while to recover from the debacle/disaster known as Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals but here are some thoughts.
First lets take a look at what I wrote in my Game Six preview. Cue up the laugh track.
“So what happens in Boston (for Game Six)? My guess for tonight’s Game Six is that it will be a tight one.”
Ha Ha Ha Ha. Well for at least one and half quarters it was.
“The Lakers will jump out to a big early lead like they did in games four and five or have a big second half spurt but the Celtics will make a comeback and then it will come down to which team executes the best down the stretch.”
HaHa. The Lakers were lucky the Celtics didn’t jump out to a big lead in the first quarter but missed several shots early on in the game but after that everything seemed to go their way. The Celtics out-executed the Lakers all night with the exception of their first period shooting woes.
“That of course means the Lakers still have to avoid making big mental mistakes they’ve committed through out the series and can’t count on the Celtics playing sloppy as they did in Games Three and Five.”
HaHaHa. It was mental mistakes galore tonight. Bad shot selection and unforced errors on offense, such as Jordan Farmar dribbling the ball of his leg and going out of bounds or Lamar Odom making a foolish decision by throwing a baseball pass down court to Kobe which was easily picked off.
On defense there were numerous breakdowns such as Sasha Vujacic rotating off James Posey leaving him wide open for a 3 pointer or Lamar Odom not knowing where Kendrick Perkins, his defensive assignment was which resulted in a layup for KP or Pau Gasol not rotating quickly enough to Kevin Garnett which left him wide open for a jumper. The producers of the Better Basketball series might want to take footage of the Lakers defensive play tonight and make a “Do Not Let This Happen To You” DVD. Of course you have to give credit to the likes of Paul Pierce for driving the ball in the lane and finding the holes in the Laker defense.
“Gasol and Odom can’t pull their Harry Houdini acts and must remain consistent as they did in Game Five. “
HaHaHa. Lamar not only pulled a Harry Houdini but also Bobby Fischer as well. Lamar did get to the free throw line and finished the game with 14 points, ten boards and five dimes but the team needed more then that, including his two-of-eight shooting and at zero offensive boards.
As for Senior Softie, I am not a fan of Pau Gasol AT ALL. I see Pau as Rik Smits with a little more athletic ability. He is not a good defensive player at all and was completely overmatched when trying to defend KG. Prime example: in the second quarter evidenced by when KG caught the ball in the paint and then took a dribbled and hit a fall away jumper in what seemed like one motion which was so quick Pau really couldn’t do anything about it. The team needed more then 11 points and eight defensive boards from him and couldn‘t he have gotten more then one offensive rebound.
Vladamir Radmanovic: HaHaHaHa. Surprised. Really Surprised. That’s how I felt when the team signed him to a 5-year deal two seasons ago. Yes outside shooters are important for the Triangle but besides shooting what else does Vlad-Rad bring? Very little. Needless to say is not a good defensive player who committed a silly foul on P-double in the second quarter when the Shamrocks were already in the penalty, and is a sloppy defender who didn’t pick up anyone on one second quarter Celtic fast break which resulted in a James Posey trifecta. He is more suited to be a shooting specialist unit for your second unit and fill-in-starter rather then a starting 3 on a squad pursuing a championship.
“David Aldridge of NBA TV pointed out that Kobe still hasn’t had a big 40-to-50 point game yet this series (although he did have a strong finish to game three) and he thinks it could happen in Boston so we could see indeed the series go a seventh game where anything is possible. “
HaHaHa. Well it did look like Kobe was going to bust out for a big night after nailing three trifectas in the opening period and shooting four-for-seven and 11 points. But the Shamrock D just tightened their grip on him after that. LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke hung the Black Mamba out to dry by wring
“Kobe made just seven of 22 mostly wild shots. He had just one assist. He had four turnovers. The league MVP was AWFUL, unable to break through even the most basic of one-on-one Celtic defenses, unable to carry a team that needed carrying. In the six games of the series, he shot poorly, led inconsistently, had only one really dramatic moment, and that was on defense.”
True Kobe did not have a great performance in Game Six when the Lake Show so desperately needed one, and James Posey did force him into taking a bad shot during one possession in the second quarter but in fairness to him his supporting cast at times did take bad shots instead of getting him the ball when he was WIDE OPEN. Also was Plaschke aware of how the Celtics defensive game plans were designed to harass the Kobester during the entire series?
Zero offensive rebounds in the first half and only two during the whole game for the Lakers. That can’t be right, can it?
As I wrote in one of my earlier blogs for the Finals, I think Phil is a good NBA coach and completely disagreed with all those who had dismissed him as someone who simply rode on the backs of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaq and Kobe to nine championship rings. However I think his strengths as a coach are bringing in good systems for teams to use and getting the respect of his players while providing psychological challenges and spiritual mentorting for his players. But when it comes to designing game plans and making coaching adjustments during a game, he can definitely improve. Doc Rivers to put it simply clearly outclassed Phil as a coach during this series as he made all the right adjustments during the series such as going to Eddie House instead of Sam Cassell and keeping his team mentally focused, such as making its historic comeback in Game Four or making sure they did not lose their edge for the second half of Game Six.
Also I keep asking it for the entire series and will continue to so for the rest of my life, but why did the Lakers stop running that screen and roll that worked so well in Game Two. Its puzzling and baffling he didn’t continue to use it just like Oscar De La Hoya stopped jabbing against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Jeff Van Gundy made good points about strategy and adjustments for the Lakers and wonder if he might make a better coach for the Purple N’ Gold.
But despite all my criticisms of my beloved Lakers, lets give credit to the Celtics. They played outstanding ball in all facets of the game during the series. Congrats to Danny Ainge on putting together a championship team after things looked rather bleak when they failed to win the Greg Oden sweepstakes, which as it turns out was a huge blessing in disguise, by not only getting KG and Ray Allen but then beefing up the bench with Eddie House, James Posey, Sam Cassell and PJ Brown. In regards to Inglewood’s finest, I always thought of Paul Pierce as a very fine player but didn’t really consider him an elite player. But during this series he impressed me with his play (which is how I thought Kobe would play) by hitting big shots, carrying Team Green when they need it, creating opportunities for his teammates and playing good solid defense and is indeed “Da Truth”. Thus I will now give him the respect he so rightly deserves.
Oh and here is a list of what I feel are the ugliest losses in Laker history from recent memory
List: The Ugliest Losses in Laker Playoff history
1. Game Six of 2008 NBA Finals @ Boston Celtics, 131-92: We don’t need to talk about this even more:
2. Game Seven of 2006 First Round @ Phoenix Suns, 121-90: The squad should have won this series in Game Six at the Staples Center but Tim Thomas hit’s a game tying three-ball at the end of regulation when they had a foul to give, and the Lakers get run off the court by Steve Nash and company.
3. Game Five of 2004 NBA Finals @ Detroit Pistons, 100-87: Final score isn’t that bad and Slava Medvedenko had to start in place of the injured Karl Malone, but the Lakers started out hot in the first quarter and then fell apart after Shaq picked up his second foul in the first quarter.
4. Game Six of 2003 Western Conference Finals vs. San Antonio Spurs, 110-82. The Dynasty ends.
5. Game One of 1998 Western Conference Finals @. Utah Jazz, 112-77: This win set the tone for the series and the Jazz sweep the team that had been red-hot after beating Seattle in five games in the previous serious.
6. Game One of 1985 NBA Finals @ Boston Celtics, 148-114: The Memorial Day Massacre. This is low on the list because the Lakers went onto win the series.