Posts Tagged ‘Nate Robinson’

Phil Jackson

“This team (Boston Celtics) has lost more games in the fourth quarter than any other team in the NBA. This team knows how to lose games in the fourth quarter.” – Phil Jackson

With the Los Angeles Lakers trailing by five to the Boston Celtics with 1:40 remaining in game five of the 2010 NBA finals. Phil Jackson called a timeout and attempted to motivate his team by channeling his inner Confucius and giving this fortune cookie type of NBA tidbit. This statement is true as to how the injury riddled Celtics played during the regular season, but this has not been the way that a healthy Celtics team has played in the 2010 NBA playoffs nor the NBA finals. Boston went on to discredit Phil’s statement by beating the Lakers 92 to 86 in game five of the 2010 NBA finals, taking a 3-2 lead in the series with game six and if necessary game seven to be played in L.A.

Throughout the night the Lakers had been getting out played and out coached by Doc Rivers and the Celtics. It was your typical Lakers performance where Kobe Bryant was doing any and everything he wanted as the rest of his teammates and Phil Jackson just sat around and watched. L.A. looked as if they were playing in slow motion during the entire game. The Lakers played with no sense of urgency or energy; they let the Celtics get to loose balls and deflect entry passes, and allowed the Celtics to score on lay-up after lay-up. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and at times Nate Robinson did what they wanted to do anytime they felt like it, along with Paul Pierce finally having a breakout game by contributing with 27 points of his own as L.A. couldn’t find a way to stop him no matter who was guarding him.

As L.A.’s championship hopes and dreams were becoming a nightmare, the last thing Phil needed to be doing was dropping words of ZEN wisdom to his team. Instead, Phil should have been drawing up plays and finding ways to get other players involved. Not all players respond to the same type of coaching. That Zen stuff may work on Kobe or some of the other guys on the team, but some may just tune it and Phil out and probably already have.

I and many other people have always questioned Phil’s ability as an NBA coach. I have felt that he is a great leader of men and a great motivator, but as an X’S and O’s guy he leaves much to be desired. The fact that the vaunted triangle offense doesn’t even have a playbook and it’s an offense based on principles makes you wonder even more as to how good Phil is at drawing up plays. He may have won ten NBA championship titles as a coach in the NBA, but with the talent that he has had on many of his championship teams. Who couldn’t have done what he has done?

One of the major problems with the Lakers is that they seem to think that all they have to do is show up and they will win games. The lack of focus, motivation and discipline is what has plagued this Lakers team for years. The Lakers are a microcosm of what our society has become. Hardly anyone these days believes in working for anything, most people are always looking for some get rich quick scheme or trying to find the easy way to become successful in life. As the Lakers are finding out in this year’s NBA finals. Art often imitates life, and unlike last year, you can’t just roll the ball out on the court and expect to win.

With the series headed back to L.A., the Celtics are going into game six playing with house money with two games left and only needing to win one. While the Lakers have to win both games if they want to repeat as NBA champions. After game four I mentioned that the key to the Lakers hopes of repeating as NBA champions is Andrew Bynum. If people didn’t realize what I was saying after game four, I am sure that people can see what I meant after what happened in game five. To be honest thought I don’t think a healthy Bynum would have made a difference last night. L.A. just played uninspired and undisciplined basketball in every phase of the game. If the Lakers don’t get Kobe some help which they didn’t do last night, or wake up and play with a purpose. The Lakers will have lots of time during the summer to ponder what happened and agonize over how close they were to winning it all.

Not only do the Lakers need to “man up” and play solid basketball in game six. Phil needs to stop trying to philosophize during games and start coaching this group of under achieving players. I know that Phil Jackson won’t read my blog, but if you are reading Phil. Let me drop a little fortune cookie type of wisdom of my own which won’t come true like I said in my blog after game one;

“A Phil Jackson coached team has never lost a playoff series when his team wins the first game of a playoff series.” – David Johnson

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.