Smack / Jun 8, 2010 / 5:44 am

Lakers face must-win games as NBA Finals moves to Boston

Lamar Odom (photo. Tim Tadder)

Trust, you won’t find anybody on the Celtics complaining about the NBA Finals 2-3-2 format. With a squad of veterans who probably need to play up-tempo every game to win this series, a long stretch at home is just what they need. It’s especially huge for Kevin Garnett, who struggled in L.A. (11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), but with a week’s worth of sleeping in his own bed and eating some home cooking, should see an improvement. And apparently the Celtics left Mike Finley behind in Boston for those first two games, so they can dust him off now … As for the defending champs, everybody is making this trip about Kobe and his legacy, but what they really need is for Lamar Odom and the bench mob to step up. As good as L.O. was in the conference finals, he’s been a non-factor against Boston. Odom is too talented to let Big Baby Davis become the most effective backup forward in this seriesPaul Pierce is just trying to create bulletin-board material, isn’t he? First there was the “We ain’t coming back to L.A.!” line he dropped in Game 2, then afterward he gave Ron Artest ammo in case he needs a chip on his shoulder. “I think I struggled offensively. I think I rushed a lot,” Pierce said about his 2-for-11 shooting effort. “I don’t think it was too much about what Ron did.” … Not like the Lakers leaders need any extra motivation. Kobe and Derek Fisher were there in ’04, when L.A. went to Detroit and dropped three straight on the road to lose the championship, and in ’08 when the Lakers went 0-3 in Boston … Kobe didn’t want to talk to anybody after Game 2, but did say it’s all about playing better defense. If you’re Phil Jackson, do you keep Kobe on Rajon Rondo and risk Ray Allen going off again, or stick Kobe on Ray right away? … The Cavs are interested in Tom Izzo, so much that they’re reportedly ready to offer him $30 million over five years to coach. Cleveland’s owner is a Michigan State alum, so there’s that connection. But honestly? If the Cavs don’t re-sign LeBron, Izzo might have more talent on the Spartans next year than he’d have in Cleveland. He should probably stay home; they’re gonna build a statue of him in East Lansing someday … With Tom Thibodeau off the board, Avery Johnson has jumped to front of the line for the Nets coaching vacancy. If somebody out there at NBA TV is reading this, can we PLEASE get a camera in the room when Avery sits down to interview with Mikhail Prokhorov? Is there an interpreter out there who can handle Russian and Country? … Major League Baseball had its draft yesterday, with 17-year-old catcher/outfielder phenom Bryce Harper going No. 1 overall to the Washington Nationals. Harper has been called the LeBron James of baseball after he left high school following his sophomore year, got his GED and played at a community college before entering the draft. The Nationals also had the No. 1 pick last year, taking pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Do you think the NBA should adopt MLB’s format of the top pick automatically going to the team with the worst record, or do you like the current Lottery system? … We’re out like Izzo in Cleveland …

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  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    I like the current season, no tanking to get saviors

    however the MLB works because talent takes longer to matriculate into the big leagues, except for Strasberg of course….

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    *Current system

  • sh!tfaced

    If the Celtics apparently left Finley in Boston, they should literally leave Shelden in LA and let him play cheerleader for Candace and the Sparks.

    And just send him his ticket back if and when Perk gets suspended.

    A conversation between Mikhail Prokhorov and Avery Johnson would prolly need at least THREE interpreters. From Avery’s “Country” to English and from English to Russian. With a 4th one being on expert on sign language on standby…

  • sh!tfaced

    Dammit. Voted too fast and checked Pierce. Should have went for Scalabrine on the poll.

    But I got a feeling PP is gonna lead anyways. He’ll first need to get Artest ejected with some superb acting and then explode ala post-wheelchair drama with the killer three-bombs.

  • alf (from melmak)

    Tom Izzo should just stay with the Spartans. No matter how good the coach is, it is the players that win games. But then again, I remember Utah some years back going 41-41 with Matt Harpring, a young Andrei Kirilenko, and a bunch of nobodies.

    Piece of advice to the Lakers — Try playing zone against the Celtics. They have the length to establish an effective zone that will eliminate Rajon Rondo’s penetrations and the outside sniping of Ray Allen.

    Top 100 reasons why Dime should hire me as one of its regular writers

    83. I grew up watching Sesame Street.

  • Rafa23

    anybody who says a zone will limit an outside shooter shouldn’t work for a basketball magazine…

  • M Intellect

    Alf – A zone makes it easier for shooters.

    Reason 1. You should never work for ANY basketball magazine.

  • Legend 33

    Got to admit Ron has done a good job of smothering Pierce with his size and length, lucky for us Ron has also shut himself down with the bone headed plays.

  • sh!tfaced

    LMAO! Save yourself and say you meant Box-and-One Defense.

    Well, Alf could still make it as a writer though…

    …for SESAME STREET!

  • IAMRICH

    please stop showing that suspect pic of Odom….. pleeeeeez

  • M Intellect

    LOL – It looks like he’s about to do the ‘I eat pussy’ sign…

  • alf (from melmak)

    A zone helps stop dribble penetrations. Most of the threes Allen hit were either from Rondo’s penetration or misdirection plays.

    Guys, there are many variations to a zone defense and they are designed to put pressure on the ball, get the offense out of its comfort set, and allows for some trapping.

    Peace. :)

  • JAY

    LMAO @ #7
    Peace of advice to Alf… learn the game before you start advising the Lakers. A zone would actually make it easier for him since he wouldn’t have to run around using screens. Ever heard the term “zone-buster”?? That’s Ray-Ray.

    I’d really love to hear how a zone would contain a perimeter shooter like Allen. Please….

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/703154723/the-soulchorea-project?pos=1 Kermit The Washington

    Ugh. Lakers really needed game 2. They’re coming out of this down 3-2 at BEST.

  • ab_40

    why is everybody treating it like must win games for LA and not for boston? I’m just waiting for KG to go off

  • Charles

    All lottery teams should be forced to playoff (double elimination tourament) for the right to get the most number of balls in the lottery. This way we never have to worry about the teams tanking at the end of the season and really how often does the team with the greatest odds ever win the lotery.

  • kudos

    Whoe’evers saying RAY allen would bust a zone is retarted. Have any of you guys watched the past 2 games. It’s pretty much Fisher flopping through 2-3 screens as Allen zips on by. Then Ray shoots the 3 wide open, with no man anywhere near him. So your guys’ ball knowledge must be very low, cuz ray allen is killin man on man.-

  • Heckler

    personally, I DONT think teams tank games at then end of the season. im sure a few have, but most dont.

    I dont believe that any owner or coach WANTS to LOSE.

    but still, i say the lottery format is a fair way to go about drafting rights and order. the worst record still has the best odds/chances, but no guarantees.

    although, i do believe the NBA lottery has been rigged before….

  • kobeeeeee

    this is what I do not understand about lamar. so we are basically repaeating ourselves here. every 4th lakers post/article it`s about odom playing a normal game and not a disappearing act. wake up lamar. you have a chance to do something great here. you only need to play normal and we do not ask a super game of you. 12 pts and 10 reb and 4 assists or somehing. you played with kobe for many years but somehow did not catch any of his ambition and agressiveness. lamar comè on!!!!!! disappear in regular games. but man and aim up for the next games!!!!!!

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Just my opinion but it would seem to me that with the 2-3-2 format you DON’T want home court for the finals. If the visitor steals one of the first two games it’s a difficult situation for the team with home court having to play 3 away games with momentum not in their favor. However, I guess it wouldn’t be an issue if LA just handled business at home.

  • JAY

    @ #16
    Yeah, I said Ray Allen would bust a zone. Thank you for calling me retarded. i won’t resort to calling you names. I’ll just argue my point and we’ll see who’s “retarded.”

    You bring up Fisher playing defence… so?? That’s D-Fish. Lol. When Kobe guarded Ray, Ray was silent. In a zone, Ray will be roaming without anybody on him. But this is supposed to make it tougher for him to get shots… i don’t understand that one.

    Please explain to me how a zone going to defend the perimeter? In ANY zone, the weakness is in defending the perimeter. That’s a fact. Ever been to a coaches camp?? I have. 2-3, leaves the angles open… 3-2, leaves the corners open… 1-3-1, can’t play in NBA because the defensive 3-second violation. I can see the Lakers implementing a zone just to throw off the Celts rhythm, but in no way will a zone stop any perimeter shooters, especially Ray Allen.

    Zone-busters like Allen will eat a zone alive. This isn’t something that a few of us conspired to make-up. It’s basketball 101.

  • JAY

    Regarding the lottery format… i think it was Jeff Van Gundy who mentioned something a couple of years ago that I though was a great idea.
    Make every team a lottery team. That way instead of the worst team having a 25% chance at winning the lottery, they now have a 15% chance(or whatever the math is). Basically it lowers the odds for the worst team to win it. Additionally, there will have to be a “highest” and “lowest” pick for different tiers, depending on where they finish. So the worst 3 teams, for example would pick no later than 6, for example. Then 4-7 worst teams, no later than 13. and the top 14 teams cannot pick higher than 10, or something like that. <–notice I said 14 teams. 16 teams make playoffs. The 2 worst playoffs teams still have a shot at winning the lottery.

    I think with a little massaging, this system sill work. A bit confusing but it would deter teams from tanking since the odds for the worst team to win the lottery are much less.

  • JAY

    Daaamn. I’m at work and I’m tripping that there are people who consider themselves knowledgeable about basketball who are truly convinced that teams should turn to a zone to defend a perimeter shooter. Wow. This is why the age limit is good for players considering going prep-to-pro. The college game will teach the fundamentals.

  • @BklynDre

    i like the lottery, unless teams would tank games

  • kudos

    doesn’t matter if zone is 3-2, 2-3, 2-1-2, or whatever else combo you think you could type. A zone doesn’t mean you have to stand by in your lil area and let someone pop a three in your face, coach? It doesn’t leave someone 4-on-5 though, which you should know. Have you every played basketball at any level? Or do you just observe.

  • Bandolero

    Lakers in 5… My people, Lakers ONLY lost by 9 points… shooting 5-22 three pointers!!!… Lakers are not a three pointing-team… They are now the twin towers plus they have the best coach and The Mamba… Mamba is going to go off on PP… Artest was in foul trouble therefore PP was able to score 10 points!!! lol, I like PP, but he’s due for a bitch slap for talkin shit!

  • karizmatic

    About the zone, I fully agree with JAY, a zone is a defense that is employed to make the defense shoot, you think Ray was having a good night against the Lakers Sunday? Just wait and see what kind of damage he would do against a zone. Widespread use of the zone defense in college is the reason that there is so much three point shooting in college. When a zone is used those are the shots that are open. You don’t even need to go to basketball camp to learn that. At any level of organized basketball the first thing you do is learn how to play against a zone and any coach that’s any good knows how to teach his players where the weak spots in the zone are and how to break the zone. The only reason Ray Allen needs to use screens is to lose his defender playing man to man. If the Lakers were to switch to a zone (which they wouldn’t do under any circumstances anyway) It would make the game much easier for Ray Allen, not harder. He could just get to the corner and shoot wide open 3’s to his hearts content. How do you think he got to the NBA anyway? He used to bust zones all the time at Connecticut.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    i normally don’t post nuttin on ‘off-days’ but this whole zone argument is bananas.

    good shooters = zone busters

    DUH

    yeah it’s all different types of zones but at the end of the day the zone is designed to force the offense to shoot perimeter shots or shoot tough shots, limiting thier success rate at converting a goal. the whole idea of the game is to increase your offensive opportunities as much as possible and in turn, score more points than the opposition.

    if you play zone on a tony allen, he’ll do exactly what you want. he’ll put pressure on the d by driving to the cup either to finish or dish. a good zone d in this situation would be to keep the ball in tony’s hands and keep him on the perimeter. he cant shoot for sh*t.

    tony allen = zone victim

    if you play zone a ray allen, he has the potential to hit his shots no matter what, always forcing the d to play honest which limits risk-taking and it limits the effectiveness of your help d. when he’s streaky in a good way…

    ray allen = zone buster

  • JAY

    @kudos…

    There’s a reason why a lot of teams don’t play zone in the NBA. There are too many great shooters. In college, you saw perimeter shooters like Trajan Langdon, Salim Stoudamire, Shawn Respert, Randy Rutherford, Scottie Thurman, etc, who scored a lot of points because of the zones, but couldn’t cut it in the NBA. Why? Man-to-man defences and no zones. When a shooter sees a zone, they are licking their lips.

    Fact: Zones clog up lanes for penetration and interior play. Even the 3-2, which is supposed to be the best zone to defend the perimeter, has a weakness in the corners. Why do you think most euro players can shoot?? They allow a pure zone overseas. They have to be able to shoot.

    and to answer your question whether i played or not… don’t be an idiot. I’m pretty sure everyone here has played competitively. Now I give back to my community on my spare time helping kids stay off the streets through basketball. You’re welcome to come join us and learn the fundamentals anytime.

  • JAY

    I don’t understand how that was even something to argue about. That’s like arguing grass is green or the desert is dry.

  • Celts Fan

    I like the lottery. If anything, they should tweak it so there’s more of a chance for the better lottery teams winning the top pick. I think the bottom 3 teams have something like a combined 4% chance at #1 overall. That seems a little too low. It’d take away the incentive of tanking (though, as it currently stands, the Nets had the best chance of landing at #4 than any other pick, which is as it should be.) I still think it’s teh best system in sports though.

  • JAY

    Another idea about the lottery…. televise the friggin thing. If it truly is a “lottery” and the teams are not predeteremined, then David Stern has nothing to hide.

    Televise the lottery live.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    @JAY

    Me neither, I don’t understand how that was even something to argue about…

    …like arguing water is wet or snow is cold or farts stink or pain hurts…W.T.F!!

    LMMFAO @ Alf and Kudos – you guys are hilarious!

  • karizmatic

    lol…I don’t know how that was an argument either.

  • JAY

    @Kudos
    You: “Whoe’evers saying RAY allen would bust a zone is retarted.”
    Me: “Yeah, I said Ray Allen would bust a zone. Thank you for calling me retarded. i won’t resort to calling you names. I’ll just argue my point and we’ll see who’s “retarded.””
    It’s probably best to withhold the insults until after you win an argument… retard.

    “Have you every played basketball at any level? Or do you just observe.”
    Well, have you?
    I work with the kids every other Saturday. You have a standing invite. You can pair up with Travis. He’s 5’11”, 13 yrs old, a sponge, and my best kid. He might be able to teach you a little something.

  • JR

    unleash the machine on rondo to piss him off and stick kobe on allen…. give lamar some candy and someone find ron artest’s brain please. gasol will continue to out play kg, no way bynum will have another great game like he did in game 2, at the same time, kobe wont be in foul trouble anymore…. stern wont allow it.

  • alf (from melmak)

    @ JAY

    3-2, 2-3, and 1-3-1 are not the only type of zones.

    Thanks for seeing where I am coming from, that LA can use the zone to disrupt Boston’s offensive rhythm. Throughout the playoffs, no team has zoned the Celtics and Rondo pretty much had his way. Give them a different look. It is not about Allen’s shooting ability because that is a given. But what if Rondo does not get him the ball in the right spots? Or the ball gets to him and he is not yet in rhythm?

    Thanks also for agreeing with me that zones clog up lanes for penetrations.

    Anyway, besides your use of the word “idiot” on some other guy here, I like you. Let us grab a burger one of these days.

    @ Mr. Brogden

    Man, you could pass for a younger Will Smith. Hollywood calls. :)

  • davros

    To stop tanking all the lottery teams should have an equal chance. Even if you have a really bad team, after a few years of getting top 10 picks (even if you don’t get the top pick), you are bound to improve. Please discount the Clippers from this theory – it dosn’t apply to them.

  • http://facebook.com/togstadlives Jeremiah Togstad

    Wow, are you guys really arguing about the zone defense in the NBA?

    I thought only the shittiest-defending teams used the zone as a last resort. That’s what the Suns did after getting Kobe’d (raped) by the Lakers bigs all day – they switched to a zone and let the Lakers have wide-open jumpers.

    They had to pick their poison: let Pau, Bynum and Odom dominate the paint, or let Kobe dominate from the wing. The chose the latter.

    You really think Phil Jackson would switch to a zone. It would send the message that his team can’t play man-D. That’s not going to happen.

  • Claw

    Izzo isn’t signing anything before Lebron does, and if he does sign that would be a good hire, as he would be more of a teacher for Lebron intead of Mike Brown letting Lebron call the plays. Lebron needs a knowledgeable coach, just like Kobe needs Phil, remember Kobe without Phil?

    Always an open shot in a zone, spot up shooting is easier than shooting on the run. The Suns zone were killing LA because they couldn’t hit any 3s but they had wide open shots (mostly on the wing Amare was playing D). Pierce would like a zone also, get Artest off his jock, Sheed on the other side, that’d be a HUGE mistake.

    Hell, Rondo is being guarded by Kobe BELOW the foul line with Kobe playing rover and trying to take away any penetration and daring him to shoot. Rondo is still driving and making shots over bigs, a zone can’t stop that, those are the same shots you’d have to make in a zone.

    Good argument to start Alf but just one last question. One of or “The” Greatest Coach of All Time isn’t going zone, is it because he hasn’t thought about that option or has thought about it and doesn’t think it would help?

    Are you or Kudos saying you are smarter than Phil Jackson?

  • JAY

    @alf.
    No doubt about that burger. I’ll call up Brian and Willie Tanner and we’ll fly to Melmak one day. Lol. My bad for #13. I was probably reading the article and I didn’t see your #12. Your logic in #12 makes sense.
    #17 on the otherhand is a whole different monster.

    At the end of the day, Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers will not have their teams play any zone, whatsoever. That’s for teams like the Nets, or my hometown Craptors *hangs head*. Teams with defensive chemistry, leadership, determination and the talent to play man-to-man don’t need a zone.

    However IF, in desperation, the Lakers do go to a zone, it won’t be to stop Ray Allen. It’ll be to disrupt the flow of the Celtics offense for a couple possessions. Pierce, KG, Allen, Rondo, and Sheed are too smart. After a possession or two they will see the seams. They won’t get caught holding the ball too long. Their crisp passes and perimeter shooting will break the zone.

  • JAY

    Abolish the fuckin zone!!!! I loved the NBA when there was illegal defence. The spacing was sooooo much better. I hate this half-ass zone crap they have now. Guys can sag all the way into the lane. Before this rule change, guys had to commit to a double-team, or “stay at home”. If you get caught somewhere in the middle, *whistle*, illegal defence. It was beautiful.
    In today’s game a guy like Lebron, who can barely stay in front of the guy he’s defending, is 1st team all-defence. Dude cannot play defence!!! He’s gets blocks and steals. True… but he’s not a good defender. There’s a difference. If you’ve been playing ball for a long time, you know what i’m talking about. You think he’s getting 1st team all-defence if refs were calling illegal defence?? Fuck no.

  • JAY

    “Dude cannot play defence!!!”
    I gotta take that back… he can play SOME D… but not “1st-team all-defence” type of D. The NBA is pushing their next big star. Battier is a better defender. That guy is a defensive stud.

  • Claw

    @JAY

    You saying the Lakers aren’t that smart or they can’t shoot, because the Suns zone was killing them.

    Now the Celts playing zone makes more sense since the Suns showed it worked and can live with Ron Ron jacking 3s. Now where it will kill them is that Bynum has come alive this series and might open them up to more O boards.

  • JAY

    @Claw
    U lost me man. Never mentioned anything regarding the Lakers intelligence. Lol. Help me understand please.

  • JAY

    @Claw, nevermind.. i get it.
    “Pierce, KG, Allen, Rondo, and Sheed are too smart. After a possession or two they will see the seams. They won’t get caught holding the ball too long. Their crisp passes and perimeter shooting will break the zone.”

    …then you hit me up with – “You saying the Lakers aren’t that smart or they can’t shoot, because the Suns zone was killing them.”

    A little of both I guess. It’s no secret the Lakers don’t have a pure shooter or “zone-buster”. Another problem for the Lakers against the zone was the lack of a true point guard to get them settled in.

    So I guess without specifically saying it, I’m said both. (thanks for reading between the lines) Their pg is stupid, and they lack the zone-buster we’ve been talknig about.

  • Marparker

    IMO,
    The easiest solution to the lottery problem would be to order the lottery teams by their record over a 3-5 year period. That way San Antonio can’t have one bad season and end up with Tim Duncan. At the same time a team can’t take this one season trying to get a higher pick.

  • karizmatic

    @ Jay

    I disagree, I don’t think the Lakers were stupid against the Suns, I think they were just stubborn, if you look at the games they lost they stubbornly kept trying to run the triangle even though Phoenix was running a zone, once they accepted that the zone was indeed an acceptable defense against the triangle, they began to look for the shots that are always available against the zone and knocking them down. Granted they don’t have a great 3 point shooter anymore. Vujacic doesn’t get enough time to really count, but check game 3 even without a pure point guard and a zone buster, they still put up 65 points in one half against the Suns zone. Artest was getting all the open shots and even he was able to drop 25 points on the zone, once again proving that NBa players at any level are simply too skilled to be beaten regularly by a zone. I don’t think the Lakers were dumb, they just didn’t respect the zone at all.

  • karizmatic

    not game 3 game 6.

  • JAY

    @karizmatic
    Great points all around. Stubborn is probably a better word.

  • M Intellect

    I bet Alf and Kudos have the same IP address.

    Anyway, a zone doesn’t stop penetration, it stops inside play. If the Lakers play a zone, Rondo WILL beat D-Fish/Farmar/Brown, the zone WILL sag and Jesus WILL splash, or better still baptize, from three.

    So please explain how that Zone works again against Boston. Hhhmmm…

  • Claw

    I’m in Phoenix and Suns fan and was surprised how well it worked. Kobe was hitting but Fish was off as well as Artest and Odom then the Machine had to start a Slovenian Civil war with Dragic that took him out.

    They did look off and I thought they would torch it or at least kill the Suns on the boards but didn’t. More surprised when it happened the next game, I thought Phil would have put something new in.

  • frmkt

    “Is there an interpreter out there who can handle Russian and Country?” LMAO!! That’s why you guys get the big bucks.

  • Claw

    Where is Lakeshow, are they waiting for a win before posting?

  • http://www.nba.com smoove chips

    adam morrison is due for a career night lol

    seriously lakers taking it to boston tonight.still sticking to my guns.
    LAL in 7.

  • alf (from melmak)

    @ M Intellect

    Geeez. How low can you go? What benefit would I get with having a double identity? Ask the Dime staff about my IP.

    Do not put your fingers on the keyboard if you do not know what you are talking about. Peace, man. :)

  • EN FUEGO

    Lakeshow is doing his best QQ impression. HAHAHAHAHA

  • K Dizzle

    Dear Dime,

    tomorrow’s Smack needs to have Fish’s pic. Y’all even have one?
    2 down, 2 to go.
    Lakers, baby.
    Retaliation is a must…