Posts Tagged ‘Phil Jackson’

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

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.

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………

Follow Me on Twitter

My intentions were to have this blog entry posted on Tuesday, but I decided to wait and think about this Lakers/Celtics series a little longer before I actually started stroking the keys on this one. I have also been busy writing football blogs for the sports website that I write for which one of my entries this week was the topic of someone’s article in a Denver magazine that gave me a little publicity. With all of that said, I am sorry for the delay if you were looking for this Lakers/Celtics blog. If you weren’t looking for it, then I guess there are no hard feelings. As I once said on twitter, football is my wife and basketball is my mistress. So today I am going to spend time talking about my mistress since I talk about my wife 24/7.

Tonight is the beginning of part two in what some Laker fans and the Lakers themselves consider being unfinished business from two years ago. This is the NBA Finals in which NBA fans and Laker fans around the world have been waiting for since the lost in 2008. Maybe only the media and Nike hyped LeBron vs. Kobe NBA Finals has been anticipated more. Back in 2008 the Lakers not only lost in the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, but they were manhandled the whole series and embarrassed in the closeout game. We all remember Kobe Bryant scowling at the podium after every loss agonizing over mistakes and missed shots that he and his team had during the loss. We also vividly remember the comments in which Bryant made after the blowout loss which ended the series. He commented on how soft the Lakers were and that he vowed that they would come back the following year a tougher team mentally and physically. During the Lakers championship run last year, the Lakers were never really tested mentally or physically until they reached the second round of the playoffs and had to go up against the Houston Rockets who had Ron Artest and Shane Battier on their roster and accepted the challenge of going toe to toe with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. After a grueling seven game series with the Rockets, Kobe commented on how he felt that the Rockets had really made the Lakers prove their toughness and the Lakers were ready to win it all after that series. The lakers succeeded in doing what Kobe said they were poised to do after the Houston series by defeating the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. But after the Houston series, no one really tested them from a physical standpoint the way the Rockets had done in the semi finals and the Celtics did in 2008.

Fast forward to today; the Lakers are coming into the NBA Finals for the third year in a row and as the defending NBA champions. Despite the impressive resume over the past three years, this is the series in which many people want to see whether or not the Lakers are a mini dynasty, or the product of a watered down, soft league. Unfortunately the general public has almost discredited last year’s championship since it came against a soft, young Orlando Magic team that wasn’t as talented as the Lakers nor the Celtics team that beat L.A. in 2008. People also remember the Lakers/Rockets series last year and remember how the Rockets were able to take that series to seven games without Yao Ming, which is something that shouldn’t have happened if the Lakers were so great of a team. Many people including Laker fans who watched last year’s Lakers/Rockets series, all say that if Yao wouldn’t have gotten hurt, the Lakers wouldn’t have won that series. So there is still a question as to if the Lakers can beat talented teams who play physical on both ends of the court.

To add to the Lakers new found toughness, they added Ron Artest during the offseason after Trevor Ariza left for Houston. The Lakers acquired Artest not just for the playoffs, but to win a second consecutive NBA championship. He has had his ups and downs during the season and during the playoffs, but as of late he has been playing great ball. Ron brings a level of toughness that he hasn’t shown yet in L.A. this year, although it is expected to come out in this series against Boston. The Celtics are a team that plays basketball the way it used to be played back when most people in their thirties and older were growing up. The NBA is an extremely soft league comapred to what it uesd to be back in the 80’s and 90’s. Boston plays physical, tough, and aggressive and is long and athletic which are all things that have bothered the Lakers in the past. Phil Jackson has done what he always does before every playoff series by commenting on what he feels is a disadvantage to his team. He called out the Celtics as to how they play defense and how Kevin Garnett defends players. Before the last series he singled out Steve Nash by saying how he felt that Steve carried and palmed the ball at times. Phil does these things to plant a seed in to the official’s heads so that they will look for it during games. Does it work? Who knows, bottom-line is that the Lakers still have to execute on both ends of the court. Looking for calls or complaining about how the Celtics play defense wont get them their second ring in three years.

After the Lakers advanced to the 2010 NBA Finals I predicted that the Celtics would beat the Lakers in seven games. I wavered during the week thinking that the Lakers may actually pull it off, but I am going to stick with the Celtics in seven. Kobe has always had trouble against the Celtics and if Kobe goes, so goes the Lakers. Rarely does anyone on the Lakers step up and perform on the big stage when Kobe is not his usual self due to tough defense or not playing well. In addition to that, I just can’t logically see how the Lakers can consistently win key matchups during this series. Sorry Laker fans, if I am wrong I will admit to it. If you feel that Iam wrong please comment as to why via on this blog site or on my twitter page which is linked below.

Follow David Johnson on Twitter