Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics out-work Lakers on way to NBA title

Congratulations to Doc Rivers and the Celtics. This is how it should be: The team with best regular season record earns home court advantage and wins the title on its home floor.

The 82-game season plays out where every game is meaningful as home court advantage helps a team all through the playoffs -- even in the first round where Boston's home court played a big role in the Celtics beating the Hawks.

Doc and his team did a great job. I loved his club's intensity this season. LA had a great season, but met a better team in the Finals and some of the Laker players lacked competitive fire in the championship series.


-- Fisher had a high volume of free throw attempts and drew early fouls in first four minutes.

-- LA was careless with the ball early, turning it over four times in the first five minutes.

-- As has been the pattern, Radmanovic picked up two fouls in the game's first seven minutes. Radmanovic vs Pierce is the worst defensive matchup I can remember. Obviously, it was too late to change him out of statring lineup, but its a broken record. Luke Walton subbed in for VR and did a better job on Pierce as Pierce did not score until there were 40 seconds left in the first quarter.

-- Ray Allen did a great job early with eight points until he gets poked in the eye.

-- Bston was trapping Gasol on his post-ups. The Celtics did not want Gasol to get off early.

-- Defensive adjustment: Lakers switched on pick-n-rolls with Pierce handling and KG setting the pick. It's a great adjustment as the Lakers defenders on pierce are the 3-man or 4-man switching on to a 4-man, so it's not that big of a size disdvantage. Really Luke Walton and Radmanovic are at times better on a 4-man than a 3-man like Pierce anyway.

-- With Pierce handling and House setting, the Lakers stab and under and recover to own. The Lakers went under the other pick-n-rolls with Rondo handling.

-- Rondo was very active defensively and really showed how good his defensive anticipation and quick hands are. Rondo is a different player at home. He really bounced back in this game. Young fresh legs in quick turnround game is a real key.

-- Bryant came out in an offensive mind set and shot three early 3-balls. He had 11 points in opening quarter.

-- KG countered with 10 first-quarter points, making some tough mid-range shots and getting great early post-ups vs Gasol, who was not meeting him early on his post-ups.


-- It was all BOS in the second as the Celtics score a remarkable 58 first-half points.

-- LA inserted Turiaf to try and be more physical vs Garnett to start the second quarter, but had no effect on game.

-- A surprise in Game 5 was LA sub Chris Mihm. In Game 6, Boston makes the surprise sub with Glenn "Big Baby" Davis. Boston had Davis and Powe in up front in a close-out game. Remember, Davis had not played in the series, but PJ Brown and Perkins each had two fouls. It demonstrated the depth of Boston's bench.

-- With Powe defending Odom, Odom was able to get to the rim. And with Davis on Gasol, Gasol's length was too much for Davis. But Davis played his minutes and didn't hurt his team as Boston opened up a big second quarter leader.

-- As I watched the game, I'm thinking about Fisher not being in the game. But when Fisher checks in, he picks up his third foul.

-- House and Posey have hit momentum 3-balls all series. They did it again midway through the second quarter. Posey got open 3-point looks all game.

-- The Lakers begin to stall offensively as guys are standing around and there's lots of one-on-one play.

-- Beyond that, Boston totally out-worked and out-hustled LA in the second quarter.

-- Radmanovic picked up a terrible foul on an inbound play when Boston was in the bonus. Plus, on the prior possession, VR launched a poor 3-point shot attempt.

-- Boston had two illegal defenses as the Lakers had the floor spaced and limited offensive cutters.

-- Big stat: Bryant had no FG in the second quarter.

-- The Laker subs had no positive impact in the first half. In fact, the Boston bench totally out-played LA's bench.

-- Pierce really passed the ball well with nine first-half assists. Excellent.

-- Pierce and Garnett, two of Boston's "Big 3," played well and Ray Allen had 8 points in his first 8 minutes until the injury. Boston had great second-quarter energy.

-- LA committed several careless turnovers and had low defensive intensity. Phil Jackson was really searching to find five players who wanted to compete hard.

-- Boston did a great job on the glass. Excellent defensive rebounding. LA was inactive on the boards.


-- Perkins picked up his fifth foul, but Boston actually gets better when Perkins goes to the bench and PJ Brown comes in.

-- With 9:11 left in the third, Radmanovic's poor defense is on display as Pierce drives right by him. VR lacks defensive urgency.

-- Rondo's steals helped change this game. And in a bounce-back game, Rondo was aggressive with his shot attempts, as well.

-- At 5:57 of the third period, Gasol's lack of defensive rebounding was evident. Rebounding is about pursuing the ball aggressively. Pau isn't showing that aggressiveness.

-- Radmanovic was shooting pull-up 3-balls like he was playing a pick-up game at a rec center in LA someplace. Watching these quick pull-ups that VR is taking, I can see why Kobe goes through stretches where he's trying to do it all by himself.

-- At points during the third quarter, the Lakers weren't running anything resembling a Triangle offense...

-- Posey did a great job defending Kobe.

-- Celtics played as good of defense in second and third quarters as a team could play.


-- Boston has a 29-point lead heading into the fourth.

-- Ariza checked in for the first time tonight to start the fourth.

-- The Lakers' passing is so poor and nonchalant. Really disappointing.

-- 10:00 mark: Sasha gives a ton of air space and tries to shoot the game over top of screen of Ray Allen. The only way to play this catch and shoot play is to "chase" and stay attached. The result is back-to-back shots for Ray Allen.