The Los Angeles Lakers are in the drivers seat with a 2-1 series lead. Tonight’s game present’s them with an outstanding opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 lead. The Celtics had visions of winning at home and making this a series before their dreams were shattered by the Purple and Gold clad warriors. The Lakers coaching staff provided the team with a one sentence message that spoke of the only thing that matters, “2 wins to go”.
The Lakers have had a 2-1 lead in the Finals 16 times and have won it all 16 times. Oh, I’ve taken the liberty to add this season to that number. It’s no mystery that the Celtics are a desperate team faced with two must-win games.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been reduced to lobbying/complaining to the league about the officiating. The officiating has been atrocious in the Finals for both teams and as professionals, the players have to adjust. Rivers seriously needs to stop because we’ve reached the embarrassing level.
Tonight’s contest is Boston’s game seven. I expect them to pull out all of the stops in an attempt to even the series. I’m also expecting the Lakers to match the intensity of the Celtics and pull out another close win. Kobe Bryant, the second best thing that came out of the Lakers Game 3 win, was the emergence of Lamar Odom and the bench.
Kobe Bryant had been the main focus of the Celtics defense until the fourth quarter of game three when Derek Fisher showed the Celtics that he too possesses the clutch gene. Strangely enough the Celtics seem to have forgotten about Derek. The Double D’s (Derek and the Defense) won Game 3.
Look for Kobe Bryant to be very aggressive and in attack mode. The Lakers gave the Celtics something else to think about with the emergence of Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom and the contribution of the bench.
I love how Ron Artest is taking away Paul Pierce’s space or freedom defensively, which has dramatically slowed him down. For the Lakers, it is all about their defense, they can care less if the Celtics give them credit for it. The Lakers need to come out aggressive on both ends of the court. They need to stop the dribble penetration of Rajon Rondo, do a good job defending the sound screen and roll action plays, they must get back and play solid transition defense, and extend that defense out to the three point line.
The Celtics need this game badly, but as I said at the start of the series, it is about who wants it more and the Lakers are the ones that want it more.
The so called big three have been off the mark and haven’t had good games together. The Lakers bigs have been huge and will be again tonight. The Lakers need to trust their offense and rely on excellent ball movement as well as excellent players movement to get a high percentage shot on every possession. They know what’s at stake and the challenge ahead of them. They are the ones that need to make some adjustments. A big adjustment would be remembering that the Lakers are the defending World Champions for a reason.
Trust me, I can’t wait to see a little more green and white in the Lakers Championship commercial.
Tip-off: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ABC
- Boston: ABC
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Boston: 850 WEEI (Sean Grande & Cedric Maxwell)
- Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture, Right Index Finger)
- Andrew Bynum (Small Tear in the Meniscus of his Right Knee)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back)
- Marquis Daniels (Concussion) Listed as Day-to-Day