In a game that, to be honest, wasn’t very well played, the Lakers pulled out another win over the Boston Celtics 97-4 in what is likely the end to the Big 3 vs. Big 3 matchup over the past four years (though Bynum was not a part of it for the first two years). It was sloppy, both teams looked old, both teams looked sloppy. The Celtics looked unable to execute because of talent. The Lakers kept getting in their way. But it still felt big, still felt epic, still felt like the kind of game that defines the greatness of both teams. As long as you don’t actually like good basketball.
Somehow, some way the Celtics found their way into the lead. Key plays by Rajon Rondo kept them afloat and killer threes from Ray Allen (how do you leave him open?) made it a one-point Celtics lead down the stretch.
And that’s when Kobe Bryant, with all that clutch discussion, came walking in.
OK, needed some iron, there. But the point is it fell. And everyone who likes to talk about metrics, and advanced clutch numbers and all that, only need watch this play to know what Bryant’s clutch legacy is. You don’t need all those misses. Just watch this one game and let that decide your argument. Watch the game, people.
We’ll have more on this game in a bit, including Bryant turning to Andrew Bynum to put the finishing touches on it, maybe a foretelling of the Lakers’ future to come, in a bit. For now, Black Mamba is the man.
Dwyane Wade says Bulls’ showers had no hot water in Boston
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.