Posts Tagged ‘Lamar Odom’

Big Baby carried Nate Robinson and the rest of Celtic team in the fourth quarter

I am going to try to keep this blog entry short and sweet although I have yet to write a short blog. There isn’t really much to discuss about game four of the 2010 NBA finals that hasn’t already been said in games one thru three. Seems like after every game we are discussing the same players not doing what they should be doing or praising them when they did perform how they were supposed to. As I watched game four, there was one monumental move in the game that was something that hadn’t happen in this series and is worth discussing. It was the move that Doc Rivers made or didn’t make in the fourth quarter. It was a move that could have majorly backfired on him and have the whole city of Boston as well as the rest of America asking why?

With four minutes left in game four of the 2010 NBA finals, Doc Rivers had Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the scorer’s table ready to check in for, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace. The Boston Celtics had just taken a nine point lead in the game after scoring on their first nine possessions, but he felt that it was time to put his core group of guys back into the game. Boston’s quartette of Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace had done something that the starters had trouble doing in the first half and part of the third quarter. They began to trust each other and play with intensity on defense, and most importantly were efficient and effective on offense. Going back to game three, the Celtics had been stagnant on the offensive end of the court for seven straight quarters. During that stretch, Boston had made the Los Angeles Lakers defense look like the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.

Doc recognized what was going on with his four reserves on the floor, so he motioned for Rondo, Pierce and Garnett to come back to the bench. This decision by Doc was a huge gamble but a great example of what type of coach Doc is. Celtic players have always said that Doc is the type of coach that trusts in his players and instills confidence in them by making decisions like he did last night. If the Celtics would have gone on to lose game four, we would be talking about how dumb of a move it was for him to ride with his reserves down the stretch. Instead it proved to be the right move and showed great intuition by Doc Rivers.

Kobe Bryant had been feeling it more than he ever had in the previous games in the NBA finals, and he had made some unbelievable shots in the second half. One thing that we have come to learn over time is that with the best “closer” in the NBA hitting shots like he was last night. Taking chances like Doc Rivers took are ones that usually backfire on you. Throughout the fourth quarter, Boston played in all out desperation mode as if their lives and careers depended on the outcome of that quarter. With Kobe doing what he was doing, going into game five down 3-1 was going to be like playing with fire for the Celtics. Kobe has yet to have one of his signature superstar type games in this series where he is flat out unstoppable. If Boston were to have gone into game five down 3-1 to the Lakers, this series would have pretty much been over. Kobe is known for being one not to mess with in “close out games”. He will end it and smile while doing it while everyone is in awe, and I am sure Boston was well aware of that last night.

Andrew Bynum looks on with Adam Morrison as the Lakers fall to the Celtics in game four

Boston was able to take advantage of Andrew Bynum only being able to play for twelve minutes in game four. Andrew had been playing extremely well in this series, unfortunately he had to sit most of the game on the bench due to his injured knee. Bynum not being in the middle for the Lakers made them vulnerable on the front line and Boston took advantage of the Lakers unfortunate situation. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol had no answer for Glen Davis as he had his way with both of them and took over the game in the fourth quarter. If Davis wasn’t killing them down low then Nate Robinson was killing him with is penetration into the lane and scoring almost at will. Tony Allen had his moments offensively, but where he was really effective was on the defensive end making the Lakers guards settle for jump shots and/or low percentage shots.

Doc finally felt that with 2:51 left in the game, it was a good time to put Rondo, Garnett and Pierce back into the game. Pierce came in and hit a jumper that put Boston up 87-79 with 2:18 remaining, and scored on a lay-up that sealed the Lakers fate with 1:18 left in the game. While the last few seconds of game four ticked off the clock in the Celtics 96-89 win over the Lakers. I began to wonder what Celtics team will show up on Sunday. You can’t ignore the mistakes and issues in a win that you wouldn’t ignore in a loss. Although the Celtics had just played their most complete quarter since game two. You had to recognize that the Celtics success during the fourth quarter came from the backs of the reserves not their starters. Ray Allen struggled again as the starting five as a group still wasn’t able to get it together in this game. So what Celtic team should we expect to see in game five?

On the other side of the coin, you have to wonder if Bynum’s injury is going to end up being the Achilles heel for the Lakers and the down fall in them repeating as champions. Gasol has played great in this series and has been the best big man on the floor between both teams. But Andrew is the key to that Lakers front line and it shows how important he is to that front line every time he isn’t on the court. Whatever happens between these teams on Sunday, the winner of game five will win this series. I believe the Celtics will win game five and head back to L.A. up 3-2. It may be another ugly game like game four, but a win is a win no matter how ugly it is.

Until then, enjoy your weekend and be on the lookout for my Sunday sports notes blog entry by noon.

Derek Fisher not Kobe was the fourth quarter closer in game three

I am aimlessly typing this blog wondering where do I begin to discuss this game. If you watched game three of the 2010 NBA finals tonight, you too are still trying to figure out what you just watched. It was by far one of the sloppier NBA finals games ever played. I really don’t know what to make of this game or even what to write. I don’t think anyone from the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics could describe what happen tonight verbally or on paper. This blog entry may end up being as lame as Drake’s debut album.

Boston started the game playing extremely well going up 11 – 3 during the first four minutes of the game. Kevin Garnett came out looking like the Garnett from 2008 by running the floor and beating every Laker big man down the court on the first three plays of the game scoring on a dunk, lay-up and alley-oop. L.A. started the game completely out of sync. No one in the Lakers starting five seemed to know who they were guarding or who on the Celtics had the ball at times. Offensively they couldn’t do anything right. Phil Jackson then did something uncharacteristic by calling a time out while his team was down early in a game. Immediately out of the time out, it seemed as if the teams had switched jerseys. Boston couldn’t guard anyone on the floor, and on offense they looked perplexed. This was an early sign of things to come from both of these teams tonight.

Kobe Bryant was pretty much the only decent bright spot in the entire first half as the Lakers erased a eight point deficit to take a fifteen point lead midway through the second quarter. Lamar Odom aided Kobe in establishing this lead by coming off the bench for Ron Artest who couldn’t run an offense if he was playing a game of one on one basketball. Lamar chipped in with eight points by being aggressive and attacking the basket instead of settling for jump shots. Odom’s mobility caused the Celtics duo of plump big men of Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis issues. Other than Kobe and Lamar, the Lakers weren’t anything special. A lot of what they were able to accomplish was aided by Boston’s ignorant, sloppy play on both ends of the court. Boston made a run that cut the fifteen point deficit down to eight at one point. But L.A. was able to push it back out to a twelve point lead before the end of the half.

Ray Allen wondering what happened in game three

After watching a half of bad basketball, you expected or at least hoped to see a better played game in the second half. Unfortunately what many of us may have expected or hoped to see didn’t happen. Immediately both teams started the second half as they had ended the first by playing bad basketball. Kobe by himself allowed the Celtics to get back into the game by taking several ill advised shots that were not within the flow of the offense. Kobe became 2004 to 2007 Kobe Bryant where he was going to jack up shots whenever he felt like it no matter what. Kobe may have taken some bad shots, but Ray Allen couldn’t hit anything whether he took a good or bad shot. After putting on a shooting clinic on Sunday, Ray went 0 for 13 and became more of a liability for the Celtics rather than an asset when he was on the court. Paul Pierce wasn’t much better and he had no one to blame but himself tonight because Ron Artest sat on the bench most of the game in foul trouble.

Finally in the fourth quarter the Celtics made a run to come within one point of the Lakers. Glen Davis came up huge in Boston’s fourth quarter comeback. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also contributed in the comeback. On the defensive end of the court the Celtics had no answer for the Lakers and their pick and roll offense that they were running with Derek Fisher on every trip down the court. Usually in the fourth quarter it’s Kobe that’s the closer, but in game three it was D-Fish who hit all of the big shots in route to scoring eleven fourth quarter points. Garnett, Rondo and Davis hit some big shots of their own, but Fisher was too much for Boston in the fourth. Once the tomfoolery of a basketball game was over, the Lakers stood victorious in a 91 to 84 victory over the Celtics.

Overall you would have to give the Lakers credit for hanging in there and winning this game. L.A. Was able to play gritty, tough defense and get huge contributions from their bench in this game. Kobe and the Lakers did what Boston usually does on a regular basis and it’s something that many people including myself have wondered about the Lakers. Can they win “ugly”? That question is put to rest after tonight’s game three. On the other hand you still wonder what is wrong with the Celtics and will they ever get their form back that they had coming into this series. Right now Doc Rivers needs to figure out a way to get the “Big four” playing well again. Part of me wonders if old age and injuries are starting to catch up with the Celtics now. If Boston doesn’t come with it on Thursday, then there will be a cause for concern as to what will happen in games five and six.

Earlier today I posed the question in my blog as to if game three was the most important game for the Lakers. They didn’t play like it was at times, but when it really counted. Derek Fisher played as if it was the most important game for L.A. During Fisher’s teary eyed interview after the game, he commented that game three was a very important game for them and possibly the most important game for them in this series. I completely agree with that statement.

Some say that the most important games in a seven games series is game three when a team is down 0-2, and the closeout game. The Lakers aren’t down 0-2, but I am wondering if that saying applies to this series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. With the scene being shifted to the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston where the next three games will be played. One has to wonder what will happen if the Lakers lose to the Celtics in game three tonight. Is game the the most important game for the Lakers? Of course the series won’t be over nor will the Lakers be in a win or else situation from a technical standpoint. But with these two teams having a history between them going back to 2008. You wonder from a psychological standpoint how a game three loss would affect the Lakers with two more games left to be played in Boston.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher won’t be affected mentally by a game three loss. The players who may become affected are players like Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest. Artest has never played in the NBA finals, and Andrew barely played in the 2009 finals due to him constantly being in foul trouble. Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Shannon Brown, and Sasha Vujacic are also guys that you wonder as to how they will play when the intensity of the NBA finals gets tougher if L.A. goes down two games to one. Two more players to think about are Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Both are very talented players who are inconsistent and have a tendency to play small when the noose gets a little tighter. I am fully aware that all of the players that I have mentioned except for Ron Artest played in the NBA finals last year. But during the 2009 NBA finals there wasn’t ever a time where the Orlando Magic posed a serious threat to the Lakers chances of winning it all. In my opinion for the exception of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, the Lakers aren’t really battle tested from a mental standpoint.

Unlike the 2009 Orlando Magic team, this Boston Celtics team pose a serious threat to the Lakers. Playing from behind in this series in terms of how many games they are down to Boston is a position that this Lakers team may not want to get into. An ideal situation for the Lakers would be for them to win all three games in Boston to end the series there and celebrate winning back to back NBA championships on Boston’s home court. That’s an ideal situation though and one that most likely won’t become reality. The Lakers need to do what Boston went to L.A. to do and accomplished, which was to win at least one game so that they can bring the series back to their home court with a chance to close it out. In order for this to happen though, I feel that they may have to win game three tonight to take some of the pressure off the role players. This may sound crazy right now, but if the Lakers are down 2-1 to the Celtics after tonight. The pressure will be all on the Lakers for games four and five……………..Celtics win tonight by 5

Ray Allen broke a NBA finals three point record by hitting on 8 of 11 from behind the arc.

I am not one to say “I told you so”, but I will. The Boston Celtics 103 to 94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers was a game that was a tale of two halves. The first half was about a shooting clinic that was put on by Ray Allen as the Celtics played tough, fundamental basketball and dominated the Lakers at times. The Lakers became the team that we have all become accustomed to seeing for stretches during games if not a whole game or games. L.A. played uninspired basketball on both ends of the court and could not figure out a way to slow down or stop Ray. The second half was a very close, grind it out, defensive type of game that was nip and tuck throughout the second half with the Celtics winning by nine as I had predicted earlier yesterday in my Sunday sports notes blog. In both halves the Celtics played how most people expected them to play in game one but didn’t for some odd reason. Rajon Rondo did what I expected him to do and played aggressive, smart basketball throughout the whole game and ended up with his fifth playoff triple-double. Rondo really came up big defensively in the last three minutes of the game by stealing the ball from Kobe twice and blocking one of his shots which ended up being a key moment in the fourth quarter. Ray Ray or as his mama named him, Ray Allen, played extremely well and set the tone in the first half by breaking an NBA finals three point record by hitting eight of eleven from behind the arc. Paul Pierce was pretty much ineffective as expected with Ron Artest guarding him most of the time last night. Kevin Garnett was not himself again. I don’t know whets going on with him except that maybe it’s time for him to hang it up after this year. Kendrick Perkins was okay at times when he wasn’t embarrassing himself by trying to do things with the ball that he had no business doing. On four separate occasions, Kendrick received the ball on the baseline two feet away from the three point line, and he would try to face up the opponent and drive to the basket. That isn’t your game Perkins, know your role and play it!

Kobe Bryant had a Kendrick Perkins moment of his own last night. He seemed to be content with not asserting himself into the game until the last two minutes of the first half. I understand that he wants to get his teammates involved early, but he still needs to be assertive throughout the whole game and not just when the Lakers are down by fifteen. Kobe may have Jesus like abilities on the court and would make one think that he can walk on water and perform miracles. But imitating LeBron James by not having his presence felt on the court as he did in the first half is inexcusable for a superstar in the NBA finals. I am not pinning the loss of the Lakers on Kobe, just stating what I saw and what the game film shows. Andrew Bynum played great last night and I have been impressed with him answering the bell and playing through injuries and standing toe to toe with the Celtics front line. Pau Gasol also played well at times but wasn’t consistently effective throughout the game. But we have become accustomed to seeing this from him. Pau is a good but not great player who has issues consistently playing tough and well during games. Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar were not much of a factor except for Artest on the defensive end. Odom and Farmar barely even saw the floor once they got routinely “handled” by one the Celtics. If the Lakers want to have this series comeback to Los Angeles, everything I have typed in this paragraph needs to be corrected or they could once again be walking off the court, watching the Celtics celebrate winning a NBA Championship in Boston.

One thing that is a little painful to watch is the horrible calls that the referees have made in both games in this series. Some of the calls in game two were some of the worst I have seen in a long time. On two calls late in the fourth quarter, replay should have been used to determine the proper call but wasn’t. Why even have instant replay and the ability to use it if the referees won’t use it? I would hate to see this series decided becasue of a pivotal call that tips the series in either the Celtics or Lakers favor. It seems like not only are the refs making bad calls on who knocked the ball out of bounds or if a block shot was goal tending or not. The refs have been calling some ticky tack fouls in both games that have put several players in foul trouble and have caused them to spend more time on the bench than on the court. Rasheed Wallace had four fouls by the middle of the third quarter and I don’t even remember him even checking into the game. I know the refs want to keep it clean, but let the players play and stop being so quick to blow the whistle. People are watching the NBA finals to watch the star players compete in the game, not the star players watching the game from the bench.

Game one of the 2010 NBA finals has come and gone leaving most if not all of us impressed with what we saw in the Lakers 102 to 89 win over the Celtics. The Lakers did what defending champions should do in the NBA finals by displaying excellence on both ends of the court. Kobe Bryant came out aggressive and focused like I have never seen him before. You could tell that the Lakers were trying to prove a point and put their imprint on this series. I have always had a philosophy that the first game of any playoff series in any sport is almost meaningless. The reason I believe this is because typically all home teams will come out in the first game and dominate, even more so with a defending champion. Then once game one has been played, the real strengths and weaknesses of both teams come out in games two through seven. As we all know though, when Phil Jackson wins the first game of a playoff series, his teams always win the series. Maybe this proven philosophy of mine doesn’t apply to Phil and the Lakers, but there is always a first time for everything in life. Kim Kardashian was ever so kind to remind us of this Phil Jackson tidbit last night by tweeting this fact. Like I said last night on twitter, I’m sure that someone told her about it because I doubt that Kim can read nor knows anything about sports.

All you Laker fans can enjoy the memories of game one, but don’t start buying tickets to the championship parade just yet. In lieu of the Lakers dominance, they’re things that happened last night that I don’t expect to happen routinely throughout the rest of the series. I don’t expect Rajon Rondo to continue to be hesitant and non aggressive when Kobe is guarding him from ten feet away. I don’t expect Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis to not make Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Kardashian err I mean Odom, work on both ends of the court. The last two things that I don’t expect to see the rest of the series is Paul Pierce and that defense to not be effective or nonexistent. Kobe Bryant didn’t see the typical defense that he usually sees when he plays against the Celtics. There were not any double or triple teams or any trapping to get the ball out of his hands. Everything that I just mentioned are all things that happened last night along with the Lakers answering the bell in the 102 to 89 win over the Celtics.

Kobe Bryant may have made a statement with the permanent scowl that he had on his face and his flawless play. But will we see this the rest of the series or will he and the Lakers do what they always do? Play well and determined when motivated, but play uninspired and disinterested for stretches if not games. The Lakers are the Lakers and for the exception of Ron Artest, they are the same team from two years ago. Tiger’s can’t change their stripes nor can teams when they keep the same core players. Sure teams can learn how to win and do great things together. But there comes a point within a seven game series in which who you are as a team to the core comes out. So the question is how long will this revenge factor continue to fuel Kobe and the “Lake show”? Because what we saw last night is what we have seen from this Laker team before.

I still say Celtics in seven folks………

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