Shipping Up to Boston

JUN 8| TUES |NBA FINALS, GAME 3| (1) Lakers  vs. (4) Celtics: Series tied 1-1

The blood boiling Game 2 ended with the Lakers losing 103-94.

The series is tied, and giving off a smell that this is going to be a long series.

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PROJECTED STARTERS:

LAKERS:
(C) A. Bynum
(PF) P. Gasol
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher

X-Factor: The Heart of the Lakers. As cliche’ as it seems.

CELTICS:
(C) K. Perkins
(PF) K. Garnett
(SF) P. Pierce
(SG) R. Allen
(PG) R. Rondo

X-Factor: Rondo.

The game was essentially decided in the 1st quarter. Ray Allen was left open, taking what I like to call “gym shots” as he was unguarded and knocked down four 3s in the period.

We didn’t do our job. They (Boston) did.Phil Jackson

Boston would lead 29-22.

The Lakers rallied on numerous occasions, but payed for their lack of discipline defensively from the begining.

The officiating is part of the blame. But LA simply weren’t poised in their attack. Each player had miscues. Helping too much or too little. Particularly their turnovers and absent perimeter defense.

Now the series heads to Beantown for three straight games.

Los Angeles would have preferred to have a 2-0 lead coming into Game 3, but unfortunately that isn’t the reality. Such is the life of a Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

“It’s the most important game. Game 1 was the most important, Game 2 was the most important, now it’s Game 3,” Bryant said. “It’s just the next game, simple as that.”

“It has nothing to do with scoring. Nothing. It’s all defensively,” Bryant said. “We gave them too many easy baskets and blew too many defensive assignments. That’s it.”

Kobe Bryant

That is why the Lakers will come out and take Game 3.

Keys for the Game:

Lamar Odom

Odom has to show up in this series. He seems to go into hiding at random moments. If Odom comes out aggressive, Boston will not only have trouble guarding him, but will a problem containing the talented Lakers team altogether. When teams have to pay attention to Lamar, it takes pressure away from Kobe and Pau.

The “lucky” lefty has the ability to single-handedly outplay the Celtics frontcourt. He’s forever the enigma for the Lakers, the measuring stick to how well they play as a unit. He will have to do his part in this series if he wants ring number two. And it starts with being the unusual Odom; the great one.

Discipline

The Lakers are the better team, but they didn’t play that way in Game 2. They blew a lot of assignments on the defensive end. There is a difference between playing with a sense of urgency and playing with the panic button mashed down, which is what the Lakers did on Sunday. A great example of this would be to juxtapose both Games 1 and Game 2. You can see the different levels the Lakers played in. The result was more of LA playing bad than Boston playing well.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe knows the importance of Game 3. The Lakers don’t want to trail in this series and will need to play their best basketball on this 3-game road swing. In my opinion, Los Angeles will have to win at least two games in Boston to insure a series victory. Kobe didn’t have a great game Sunday with just 21 points and 6 assists. If we know one thing about the Mamba is that he always looks to redeem himself, so I know he’ll have a great Game 3 against the Celtics.

Protecting the Perimeter and Rebounding.

Boston will never beat LA in the paint due to the Lakers size advantage. But the perimeter was left up for grabs in Game 2. And Ray Allen took it to them like a boxer’s sucker punch. Its no question that Allen is an amazing 3-point shooter. But the Lakers can’t allow him to take “gimmies” and expect to win. A player has to be attached to the hip of Allen like siamese sibling. He will run around constantly. Shannon Brown is very much quick enough to keep up, but he must be diligent on not letting Ray 3 inches away from him. Sasha may also be a good fit to place on Allen. The “pessismistic” Vujacic has worked hard defensively to gain back the praise of his coaches and can garner even more value with his defense of the perimeter.

Rebounding was also a huge issue.

The Lakers need to outrebound Boston to make the task of winning much easier. Game 2, they were outrebounded 40-33. This stat will have to reverse in LA’s favor for Game 3.


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