Game 1 of the series quickly turned into the great giveaway as the Lakers repeatedly took quick shots, did a poor job of controlling the tempo of the game, squandered a 16-point lead, and literally handed a much-needed victory to the Mavericks.
An NBA Playoff series doesn’t really begin until the home team loses. Consider the Lakers in a series, in need of making adjustments and in a must-win scenario tonight. To even the series at a game apiece they will need all hands on deck.
After the loss, majority of the chatter turns into the blame game with Kobe Bryant being the target for shooting too much. I am not buying it. He’s position by definition is a shooting guard. Het was dominant in Game 1 and far from the reason the Lakers lost.
The biggest adjustments needed by the Lakers are Pau Gasol being present and accounted for, better defense, taking care of the ball, better ball movement, better shot selection, eliminating all of the standing around and executing down the stretch. There is no way to sugarcoat the issue, he has to show up and be aggressive. He has been timid, lethargic and almost non-existent in the post season. He needs to focus on catching the ball close to the basket and making aggressive moves attacking the rim.
The entire front line has to be aggressive and prepared to outwork the Mavericks. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum took a combined 18 shots. That number needs to increase; the duo needs more than 18 shots to affect the outcome of the game. For a team that starts two seven-footers, the Lakers are shooting too many three-point shots.
Dirk Nowitzki is a match-up nightmare who will get his points; Lamar Odom and Gasol have to make him work for his points defensively and aggressively attack him offensively. The road to success for the Lakers lies in running their offense effectively utilizing excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to outwork the Mavericks and find high percentage shots.
The Lakers have to control the tempo of game, do a much better job of defending the screen and roll play, have better-shot selection, quickly rotate out to open shooters and get back in transition. They need to start their offense on the inside and let the post players dictate the outcome of the game. Ron Artest needs to be utilized more by posting up smaller players as opposed to firing away from distance.
The reserves have to be effective when entering the game. Once the starters have established a lead, the reserves need to increase said lead as well as increase the tempo. Most importantly, the reserves need to knock down shots.
The Lakers need to play defense without fouling. The Mavericks have used the drive and kick play to perfection all season. They have to play straight up defense and stay with the shooters tonight. This must-win game is all about the Lakers defense. There isn’t one good logical reason that Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Peja Stojackovic are allowed uncontested shots.
Where is Rick Fox when you need him? Lakers will win big tonight.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Mavericks: J. Kidd, D. Stevenson, S. Marion, D. Nowitski, T. Chandler
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Dallas: TNT
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Dallas: ESPN 103.3 (Bob Ortegal & Chuck Cooperstein)
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Kobe Bryant (Ankle) Day-to-Day, will play
- Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
- SF Caron Butler (Ruptured Patellar Tendon, Right Knee) Out
- SG Dominique Jones (Right Foot Stress Fracture) Out