Tag: Boston Los Angeles

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 7: The time for strategy is past, now is about execution, desire

1 Comment

Kobe_Pierce.jpgFormal game plans have been drawn up. Film has been broken down and shown to the teams. Xs and Os will be on the greaseboards in the locker rooms. The coaches will go through the motions because they are creatures of routine and structure.

But by Game 7 of the NBA finals, it is no longer about the game plan, nothing has really changed there for about three games. It’s about execution. It’s about the ability to adjust and adapt when Plan A is taken away. It’s about getting the 50/50 balls.

The Lakers know what they have to do to win. The Celtics know what they have to do to win. And they are a lot of the same things.

Control the paint. The most overused statistic for this series has been “the team that wins the rebounding battle has won the game.” It’s true, but that is a result of other actions, a symptom of the real cause. The team that has been able to enforce its will defensively in the paint has won the games. The team that kept the other team shooting jump shots. The team that took away the easy baskets driving to the rim. Doing those things leads to missed shots, which will mean more rebounds for a defensive team working hard inside. That is how you win.

Get transition baskets. Both teams stymie each other fairly well in the half court, easy baskets are hard to come by. However each game one team has forced more missed shots and created more turnovers, then used those to get out and run. The team that can get easy buckets in transition will win the game. Look for Rajon Rondo, who did not get run a lot in Game 6, to really look to push the pace.

Make the other team’s stars work. Ray Allen has taken over a half this series. Kobe Bryant has taken over a quarter. Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol have had good games. Any one of those guys is capable of winning one game all by themselves on the right night. If teams can defend and force one of the other guys on the team to beat you, not the guys who do it every night.

Doing all those things comes down to the basics. Execution of the game plan. Boxing out. Not losing track of your man on defense. Being smart but aggressive. Wanting that loose ball more than the other guy.

This game — this championship — is going to turn on those things, what sometimes get called the little things. One little thing, maybe.

And it won’t have anything to do with what play was drawn on the greaseboard before the game.

Want Game 7 tickets? Well, are you rich?


Lakers_fan.jpgRonald Regan would love this, basic supply and demand at work. Plus, he was rich so he could afford them.

There are Game 7 tickets to be had if you want to go tonight. And consider dropping $2,4000 for two seats high at the top of Staples well within your budget.

StubHub.com says this is the most demand it has ever seen for an NBA finals, and that tickets are going for $1,100 each, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Another ticket Web site, FanSnap.com, said their average ticket price was more like $1,560 a pop. SeatGeek had sellers asking for about the same amount, but noted that the average actual sale was “only” $788 a ticket.

Understand this — Los Angeles is a Lakers town. This is the sports team people care about. There is no NFL here, they long ago abandoned L.A. for PSLs. The Dodgers are loved, but they haven’t had the steady history of winning the last couple decades, plus the current owners are complete idiots.

Outside of Los Angeles, people think Lakers game are all about the celebrities and being seen. And it is for some people in the lower bowl who can afford those seats. But for the vast majority of Lakers fans — the real ones who sit above the luxury boxes where the cameras never pan — this is a real passion. That is where the Lakers fanatics who are mechanics or sell insurance or are Thai restaurant cooks watch games. When they can afford to go.

The demand in Los Angeles is insane for tickets right now. And as always when things are in demand, the items go to those who can afford to pay. Supply and demand at its best and worst at the same time.

But don’t worry, the celebrities can afford them. They will be there.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 7: Is losing Kendrick Perkins that big a deal?


Thumbnail image for Perkins_hurt.jpgThey’re done for, right? Boston’s defense without Kendrick Perkins in the middle — that’s a donut. A donut the Lakers are eying like Homer Simpson. Right?

Not exactly.

If the Lakers could roll out a healthy Andrew Bynum then yes, no Perkins would likely mean a dunk fest. But Bynum is dragging around his own bum leg, and the Celtics have stopped fearing him on offense. Perkins had been helping off Bynum to Pau Gasol or any Laker driving the lane.

Bynum may now be matched up on a smaller defender to start the game, but he can’t really exploit that.

Gasol, on the other hand, is the one people see going off without Perkins pushing him around. But that’s not necessarily true. I watched all of Gasol’s shots after Perkins went out in Game 6 and — once you remove all the easy transition and offensive rebound buckets — he was 3 for 9 shooting.

He had a nice turnaround over Rasheed Wallace, and had a beautiful left-handed hook over Kevin Garnett at one point. But he also missed an in-the-key fade away over Big Baby as well as a quick a turnaround in the lane over him. He missed on one post up move on Garnett. The Celtics were able to push him off his spot.

What Perkins provided in the halfcourt others can provide — Sheed is long and can be a good post defender, Big Baby can provide that physical presence. Both can slow Gasol if Boston can keep the game in the half court.

Where Gasol can exploit any Celtics defender is if he beats them down the court in transition or they do not box him out on the boards. The Celtics without Perkins were very guilty of both of those last game. Both are also correctable mistakes, things that simply require focus.

The same rules apply to Lamar Odom — in the halfcourt he has struggled all series against Boston. But if he is allowed to get a rebound then run out and lead the break he is very dangerous. Boston needs to keep him caged.

More Sheed could be key in another way — his ability to shoot the three can pull Gasol out away from protecting the basket. He can open up the floor for the slashing drives of Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce. Big men who can stretch the floor have been a problem for the Lakers all season.

Certainly Boston is going to be missing something without the fire of Perkins defending the paint. But for one game, against these Lakers, it does not have to be a championship-costing injury to the Celtics. If their other big men can execute.

Legendary Lakers/Celtics Game 7s: 1969, when the balloons never dropped but Don Nelson's shot did

Leave a comment

This is awesome, mostly because of the fantastic background music, the kind of tune usually reserved for 1970s porn movies. Not that we have seen any of those, it’s just what we were told. Moving on.

We talked about this legendary game yesterday. The highlights don’t get into the balloons hanging from the rafters, but you do get to see Don Nelson’s lucky-bounce game winner.  And a great Sam Jones finger roll. That is worth every penny.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 7: In Boston's own words

Leave a comment

Doc Rivers knows somebody needs to step up and be the man tonight with Kendrick Perkins out (Sheed, we’re looking at you). Paul Pierce loves him some pressure. And Kevin Garnett loves everything but playing point guard.