The 13th Pick: Game 6 or Bust

As I write this with 8.9 seconds to go in Game 5, praying for a miracle but knowing the Lakers lost, I know I share the frustrations of the rest of the Lakers Nation. I am sure lots of hearts were broken Sunday night, where instead of looking for the closeout on Tuesday and planning on how to get a good view by Figueroa this weekend, the Lakers are facing elimination against the Boston Celtics. Again.

Let’s throw out the obvious points…

Apart from Kobe Bryant, the rest of the team was just atrocious, especially in the second half. The Lakers dug themselves a hole by shooting 39.7% in the field, compared to the Celtics’ 56.3%.

Seriously, you can’t rely on Kobe shooting 48% night in and night out against the Celtics’ chest-to-chest defense while the rest of the team chucks up 35% (Fisher and Artest, in particular, each going 2-9 at a time like this is just inexcusable); almost as ugly as Tony Allen‘s jumpshot.

The battle for points in the paint — Lakers 32 and Celtics 46.

Why? Because Pau got checked, Lamar took just six attempts, Andrew had his knee problems to deal with, and in the second half, the Laker bigs get out-hustled and out-rebounded. On paper, the Lakers got more offensive boards, but it was more from their effort in the first half.

Oh, and if you do the math, the nine free throws the Lakers missed could have come in handy in a game where they lose by six.

But the biggest discrepancy, the Lakers have a measly 3 fast break points against the Celtics’ 14. There were stretches where Rondo was absolutely threading the needle, and the Lakers’ interior defense slowly threw in the towel with all the frustration that they were accumulating.

It’s the strangest thing, to see a game in which the final score doesn’t really show how badly the Lakers were outplayed. One of the analysts noted, the Celtics’ defense (back in Game 4) is a defense that “pushes people out into the perimeter.” You could then imagine how frustrating it can be to be pushed out, with the time running down, and if you’re the Lakers, you have to take long two’s or three’s just to beat the clock.

In Game 5, you could see one play where Tony Allen goes body-to-body with Kobe, forcing him to drive left. If it weren’t for Mamba being as good as he is, the running shot he took would have been a forced, low percentage attempt for someone else.

For a team with such a high collective basketball IQ and a proven offense, it is really bizarre to see them play so stagnantly, with slow rotations and predictable people movement. Why is Lamar at times with Kobe at the top of the key? Why is Ron just waiting for a catch and shoot?

Which reminds me… Ron, where’s the promise you made back in ‘08 to Kobe? “This ain’t gonna happen no more.” Is this really what you meant? I mean, we love you and all, but you’ve really not made any significant impact in this series for a player of your stature. What’s up with that?!

Offensively, sure, it’s not as big a problem as making stops. Except the Lakers aren’t making stops. But I personally don’t understand why they would overload on the strong side while trying to post Pau up, instead of the guy in the corner (usually D-Fish) just clearing out to the other side. It lets the Celtics crowd the post man while covering the shooters.

In effect, Pau has to react to two people setting screens for each other (usually Kobe and Derek) while he has Garnett or Perkins on him. It’s a lot of traffic for such a small space, and with a tight defense like the Celtic’s, it would be hard for Pau to get a rhythm going when he’s expecting to kick it out. The problem is, there’s usually no double, so when he kicks it out it’s a turnover waiting to happen.

But, I digress.

As Bryant eluded to, it was a matter of getting defensive stops, which they were unable to do so. “They got layup after layup after layup… We can’t survive when that team shoots 56%…”

So, yes. They have a challenge here. NBA history shows 19 of the 25 teams that won Game 5 have gone on to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.

The good news for the Lakers? Since 1985, of the six teams that have led 3-2 and played on the road for Games 6 and 7, whenever they lose Game 6, they lose Game 7 as well.

This has happened twice.

I guess the one thing that could spell the difference from 2008, is the fact that our boys have home court advantage. Ideally, the Celtics only did their job by protecting their home floor. The Lakers now have to do the same.

In some respect, I still want to believe that should the Lakers’ role players falter in the next game, Kobe can put a Herculean effort so incredible that they still win.

But the fact is, they’re too good for Kobe to have to do that. It was once said that “adversity introduces a man to himself.” I am sure we’ll know what team we have by the way they play on tonight. And it could be a glimpse of a Dynasty, or a team in need of re-tooling this off-season.

As for the Lakers Nation, we should find hope in the fact that this was where we wanted our beloved team to be. We’re still alive.

There aren’t any fat ladies singing yet.

  • sh0wt1me

    it will be bust for the lakers if they can’t find that mojo from game 1. boston has all the momentum right now and it’s looking scary. it will be my worst nightmare if the celtics win on our homecourt. man…this is crazy!!!

    • LAKERS in 7!!!!!!!

      Lakers fan……FEELING YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LakerNationCitizen

    it ain’t over til’ its over. I ain’t worried, are you?

    Let’s go LAKERS!

    • LAKERS in 7!!!!!!!

      Lakers in 7, homie!

  • Mamba4Life

    I know we’ll win, I’m not hoping for a win or anything. We have Kobe.. and he can do anything possible for us.. I mean how many times have seen him do incredible things? Recently Game 5 3rd quarter anyone? What Kobe said after Oklahoma series went to 2-2 came to my mind.. “What’s wrong with people? They defended their homecourt, now it’s time for us to do same thing…” or something like that.. We know what happened after 2-2.. As long as we have Kobe, I’m not worried.. He’s to-be-G.O.A.T.. it’s not a joke.. When this is all over, people will remember these 2 last games, and all will hail Kobe.

    • LAKERS in 7!!!!!!!

      Hell yeah!!

  • Rio Rondo

    I feel bad for Kobe. It’s not fair that he plays with a bunch of scrubs. Kobe can join the Celts next year. I can see ocho times three in a Celtic jersey!!!

    • LAKERS in 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Well, well, well, I see you have taken “College” off your name. With that said, you still have a stupidass name.

    • eboK

      i feel bad for you and your Celd!cks because Lakers gonna whoop your Celd!cks asses tonite

      • LAKERS in 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        DAMN RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

    • tita

      we’ll see.

      • eboK

        Now you changed you name to Tita? Should change to Titties. Titties Celd!cks

      • eboK

        My bad i thought you reply to Lakers in 7 :)

  • Mr.Laker

    My disgust for the Lakers performance Sunday is well documented. I hope for the best. This is the biggest game in recent Lakers history and I hope they play like it. Simply this… LETS GO LAKESHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • LAKERS in 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Lakers fans………………..FEELING YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lakers2000

    By any means necessary!!!!!!!! Go Lakers!!!

  • Robert

    Lakers ‘gave away’ 2 games. I think we were all upset that they did that, when in fact the series should be over by now.
    .
    That is why we’re all nervous. The Lakers can crush the Celtics, but they seem to not be playing with the switch ON. (remember the switch?).
    .
    I proclaim that the Celtics CANNOT win the Championship, and that the Lakers can only ‘give it away’, if they don’t really want it. That’s all.
    .
    Here’s what they should watch out for this game: the pattern ‘in the past’ has been that at a given time, it only takes ONE Celtic to have a breakout game per game, and it is a different one each time. One time it’s Ray Allen, another time it’s PeePee, another time it’s KG, and another time it’s Pig Baby. They trade off. So, count out PP this game, since he did it last time. The Pig is out too, if Bynum plays. KG has been streaky, and .. um … lucky. It’s Ray Allen’s turn. But, I think the Lakers figured out how to guard him (finally).
    .
    So, it may be one of the scrubs (?). Remember, 2 years ago it was Leon Powe. Could be Wallace? Robinson?. So, basically, the Lakers have to concentrate on STRONG D, run to the basket A LOT (to get those fouls), make all their free throws.
    .
    And — another secret (that Phil should DO) is to play one of the ‘not much played’ bench players. It throws off the Celtics. Their defense is structured, but when an unknown factor comes in, it confuses them. That’s why Luke was able to run a great offense a few games back. I say put in Mbenga. But, my guess is Phil is saving that for last (game 7). He might do that this game. Put in Josh Powell. These things throw off the Cell-Dicks.
    .
    Another thing they should teach Lamar Odom: the ‘floater’. Lamar constantly charges. The Cell-Dicks defense is predicated on bodying up the Lakers – not on blocking shots outside the 12-15 ft. range. So, they are more intent on preventing the Lakers from getting to the basket. Therefore, what Lamar needs to do is to get a running start to the basket, stop and put up a floater. You have seen Pau do that too, but Pau is a gifted player who almost never charges. Lamar can’t help it, and needs to work his game differently. The Cell-Dicks won’t jump outside 12 – 15 ft. range. They are concentrating on blocking the man, rather than changing the shot. So, stop at 12- 15 ft, and pull up. Lamar – you better do this. Do it for Khloe. Do it for US.
    .
    Ron-Ron – his game hasn’t clicked yet, unfortunately. We can only hope that it does this game. He will try to save the team too, but he has to be in a ‘positive’ streak. Remember Houston last year? For the first 4 games, Ron-Ron was unstoppable. His shooting was off the charts. That’s why they stayed around, because of him. But then Kobe and Ron got into it (remember that?), and he backed off, and wasn’t the same the rest of the series. His shot fizzled. Let’s hope he just hasn’t found it yet, and will find it this game. He needs to be a little rougher too. He needs to risk technicals, and flagrant fouls. The Cell-Dicks don’t like him, because he’s rough like them. So he needs to push them around a bit more.
    .
    OK, that’s all the ‘unsought’ advice I’m going to give :) … on to Game 6 (and then, of course, Game 7!).
    .
    Oh actually — one more thing we should all know: what has happened in the past, has nothing to do with what will happen. Statistics are meaningless. The intangibles make it that way. Remember that whatever any percentages are listed, a game or event can go any way, and change that percentage! So, when the Lakers win Game 6, we don’t have to worry about ‘well, the Lakers have to win 2 in a row – it’s hard to win 2 in a row, etc. etc. etc.). After Game 6, nothing else matters – it’s a BRAND NEW GAME. The Finals BEGIN on Thursday, and the team that SHOWS UP will win. The Lakers are a better team. Will they show up on Thursday?

  • Robert

    Oh (sorry), one more thing the Lakers (esp. Lamar) should do …. spin. If there’s a rock in front of you, and you are running toward it, what is the quickest way to get around the rock and keep going in the same direction you were initially? Spin. The Cell-Dicks stand there like 10 ton rocks, and the Lakers run into them.
    .
    They should ALL spin, make the spin move, and that will get them confused. The Cell-Dicks are a bunch of Rhinocerous beetles. If you can’t step on them, spin around them.

  • gameplan

    kobe should got it going early, take 10 shot every quarter, but the bigs should take care of the offensive ends if kobe misses, then when the defense collapse on him it’s time for the others to step-up. sorry but that was the only idea I got now. I don’t trust gasol in low post now his too soft. artest should post too and draw some foul. I don’t know but I have a 90% on their chances of winning todays game. Just being true!

  • sj24

    hello lakers fans!! the lakers as a team are playing well and as fans we should support them in every way we can and not play the role of critics. THIS IS A MESSAGE To all you lucky bastards who gets to to watch GAME 6 in staples center . SHOUT IT OUT LOUD!!! ya you heard me.., SHOUT IT OUT LOUD!!! Remember NBA is where the 6th man happens!! So put your game face on and play the 6th man and seize the moment!! show the celtics everyday is not sunday.., let then know they are in the wrong court!! Like my mom always said, TREAT THE GUESTS RIGHT. (wink)

  • har8124kb

    We’re all nervous but God’s on our side, we’ll get through this. GO LAKERS!!!! Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!

  • Robert

    It’s time for the Lakers to close the door on this rivalry ONCE AND FOR ALL.
    .
    It’s too bad it has to be done under the pressure of winning these games, but I suppose Kobe wouldn’t have it any other way. Win when it looks like things are down.
    .
    But we STILL have the advantage: home court – which helped ‘them’ in 2008, will help US in 2010. It’s time for the forces of good (Lakers) to vanquish the forces of evil (Cell-Dicks).
    .
    The WORLD wants the Lakers to win. Win it for world peace, for nature (in the face of the oil spill), for John Wooden (rest his soul) — ALL countries in the world UNITE. This is it. Your world champion Lakers have come to play.

  • Robert

    Good, is winning over evil now! Up by 20 at 1/2. But we ALL remember 2008, and the comeback from 24 points down. Gotta keep that lead.
    .
    SHOW NO MERCY