Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Breaking down Game 3: BOS v LA

I'm glad ESPN replayed last night's game as I was in San Diego speaking at the San Diego Hall of Champions, which honors the top high school players in the area. Today, I'm back at the SD Hall of Champions speaking at a luncheon for my alma mater, the University of San Diego, to honor the mens and womans NCAA tournament teams .

In between the two, I watched the LA-Boston game and took some notes.


-- LA is now 9-0 this postseason at Staples. That's remarkable considering they've played some good teams in the playoffs.

-- When an unlikely role player steps up to have a huge game, he usually lifts his team to a win. In Game 2, it was Leon Powe. Last night, it was Sasha Vujacic. Both Powe and Sahsa did it in limited minutes, too. With young players, we're seeing a trend that they play better at home than on the road.

-- LA got a nice contribution from Ariza in limited minutes. Turiaf had a couple of nice blocks, but he's got to rebound the ball more while he's on the floor to help the Lakers. Farmar was solid off the bench. Radmanovic picked up a couple of early fouls again. LA should think about bringing him off the bench in Game 4 and start Sasha in his place.

-- Defensively, the Lakers have Kobe guarding Pierce for most of the game. Pierce really struggled in this game, finishing with only six points.

-- Boston needs two of the Big Three to have a big game in order to win. In Game 3, only one of the three played well (Allen). KG and Pierce had off-nights. Boston's just 1-4 when Allen has 20+ points.

-- Other than Kobe, the Laker starters were just 7-28 from the field last night. Gasol and Odom have to step up in Game 4.

-- Sasha almost had as many points as Boston's entire bench.

-- LA won the FT game, 34-22.

-- Boston played three point-guards in the game. With Rondo injured and Cassell generally ineffective, Doc Rivers went with Eddie House, who played with good energy down the stretch.

-- The Lakers did their best job so far of contesting Boston's 3-point shots.


-- Both teams played like they were feeling each other out. Neither established any real rhythm.

-- Cassell got an opportunity with seven first-half minutes, but wasn't effective.

-- I thought KG played his worst half of the series in the first-half of Game 3.


-- Kobe shows some frustration with the technical.


-- Phil Jackson, who's usually not a high-volume timeout-caller, called two in the third quarter.

-- Rondo's injury really hurt the Celtics.


-- BOS entered the fourth with a two-point lead, 62-60.

-- LA's points come from Kobe, who had nine points in the final seven minutes of the game. Boston played him straight up down the stretch and didn't double-team him much at all.

-- Sasha hit big shot after big shot and played with his usual high energy. His eight fourth-quarter points were critical in the win.

-- Gasol finally had an impact on the game with two late tip-ins. With his length you have to keep a body on him on box-outs.


Starters: Boston 60, LA 58. It was all Kobe for the Lakers. KG and Pierce got shots, but weren't connecting.

Bench points: Lakers 29, Boston 21. Leon Powe, who was the go-to guy in Game 2, played in limited minutes in Game 3. Powe's points in Game 2 came off him being active, hitting the offensive boards, and from drive-and-dish from Rondo. For LA, Sasha was 7-10 FG.

Points in the paint: Lakers 30, Boston 28. Gasol must be more effective inside in Game 4.

3-Pointers: Celtics 24, Lakers 18.

Free-throws made: Lakers 21, Boston 15. LA should have had a huge advantage here, but didn't shoot well (61%).

Mid-range/perimeter scoring: Lakers 18, Boston 14.


Guards: In this game, it was Ray Allen vs KB/Sasha. Lakers 67, Boston 41.

Forwards: Boston 29, Lakers 11. If Pierce and KG have big games, this is even more lopsided. Odom must step up.

Center: Gasol vs Perkins needs to be +10 the rest of the series as the Lakers really have no back-up scoring at the center spot with Bynum out.