Putting Kobe on Rondo? Brilliant (Why didn’t Phil do this earlier?).
Kobe defending Eddie House the same way he defended Rondo? Not so much.
As much as we laud Kobe as a great defender, he does not do screens well. To be fair to Kobe, if the screen involved Garnett then in most instances it was an illegal one… but still.
LD2k posted an article from RedsArmy (a Celtics blog), which claimed that Pierce>Kobe, and I wanted to get my two cents in.
The main claim of the article was that Pierce has similar career numbers to Kobe but shoots a better percentage, and that this was being exemplified in the Finals (this was before Game 2).
It’s certainly an interesting debate. I personally don’t think there’s much merit to the discussion though… Not to take anything away from Pierce (he’s a fantastic talent) but as far as statistical similarities go, Shareef Abdur-Rahim (I know, who?) is a career 18/8 guy but nobody compares him to Gasol even though Gasol is also a 18/8 guy.
“Their Finals numbers look a lot like their career numbers: Pierce is averaging a couple of points less while taking fewer shots and shooting a higher percentage.”
That’s a misleading statement, because while it (was) true for the Finals, it’s not true for their career numbers.
For his career Pierce is averaging 23/6.5/4 on 44.2% shooting, while Kobe is averaging 25/5/4.5 on 45.3% shooting. In the playoffs (as of Game 3), he is averaging 18/4.5/4 on 45% shooting while Kobe is averaging 30/4/5 on 46.3% shooting.
And in case you didn’t get the discrepancy, Pierce is shooting a lower percentage.
On a side note: Lakers fans, please do not troll that blog, as it is not worth your time.
Marquee Matchups -
Point Guard – Derek Fisher vs. Ray Allen: This is actually a good matchup for the Lakers, because Fisher either fights through screens, or he knows how and when to cheat them effectively. I don’t know if we can call it a total success as Allen was the only “Big Three” to go off, but this is a lot better than Kobe watching Allen drain a 3-pointer from the other side of the court
Advantage: Celtics, though not by much.
Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant vs. Rajon Rondo: Maybe next year Rondo will have a reliable jumper and we won’t be able to double off him (next year we’ll have Bynum and then that’ll be all she wrote). However, until then, Rondo being “guarded” by Kobe is good for us, as not only does it allow Kobe to play free safety, but it creates a cross match on the defensive end which helps us in our transition offense.
Oh, and Rondo is injured too, although that really means nothing if you’re a Celtics player.
Small Forward – Vladimir Radmanovic vs. Paul Pierce: Vladdy is boneheaded on defense and airheaded on offense, but yet we struggle with him out of the line-up. It will be imperative that Vladdy limits Paul Pierce from going off early in the game, as any kind of momentum for Pierce could get his “adrenaline” pumping and help him to cope with his “injury” better.
Power Forward – Lamar Odom vs. Kendrick Perkins: What does Odom have to do to be effective in Game 4? Beyond developing a jump shot , he should get involved in screen and rolls, pick and rolls, anything that involves him either screening or having a screen placed for him. I can’t believe I haven’t seen more of this in games this season, as Odom slipping a screen should, at least theoretically, leave either Garnett or Perkins stranded on the perimeter, and that’s a good thing! If he were to be screened for, imagine how many less offensive fouls he’d pick up!
Beyond that, he’ll need to play D and “grab all the f-king rebounds” (We miss you, Bynum!).
Because he rebounds.
Not because he plays great defense, which he does, because Gasol is doing a number on him too (again, 35%). No, Garnett is being heralded for “imposing his will on the game” because he grabs 13 rebounds a night while Gasol is only managing… Well Gasol is averaging 10, but you’d never know it the way we complain about him.
On a side note, Gasol played really, really well in Game 2, I believe that’s the most aggressive we’ve seen him in a Lakers jersey. I don’t know if he was poor in Game 3 because Perkins was guarding him and he couldn’t bang at all with him or not, but it was not a pretty sight. Thankfully, he looked pissed about it, while Garnett seemed almost complacent about his shooting performance.
Advantage: Lakers (I’m going with my gut on this one).
Besides Sasha, Farmar had a nice game off the bench, getting a quite 5/4/5 in 20 minutes of action. Luke didn’t turn the ball over and Turiaf played pretty well against Garnett, only picking up 3 fouls in 18 minutes. Ariza still looked a bit rusty but he shot 2-3 from the floor in just under 9 minutes of play.
For Game 4, look for Sasha to be less deadly but for Farmar to step it up against a hobbled Rondo. For either Game 4 or Game 5 I’m hoping for a “Leon Powe” game from Ronny, but I’ll settle for Ariza. Haha!
Statistical Predictions -
Alright, I’m going to keep track of statistical predictions for the Post-Season!
Here’s how it works, copy and paste the below and enter your picks instead, Closest prediction wins. Posts will only be accepted before the game starts, in this case 6:00 PM PST.
20+ Points: Kobe & Gasol.
10+ Rebounds: Lamar, Gasol.
2+ Blocks: Turiaf (it’s a foul on the road, but a block at home).
3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha.
Closest To A Triple-Double*: Gasol.
Point Margin: Lakers by 7.
Out On A Limb: Tim Donaghy shows up at the game, winks at all the cameras, and then gets into a fist fight with David Stern.
* a 20/10/6 will be considered closer than a 20/7/7 because player A is only short 4 assists while player B is short 3 rebounds and 3 assists, or 6 stat points in total, as opposed to 4 for plater A.
Game Information -
Radio: KLAC & KWKW.
Burning Questions -
Has Kobe dunked the basketball this series? He may have gotten one in Game 1, but I don’t really remember. He had a moment in the first quarter when he was getting ready to on the fast break, but Allen (wisely) fouled him in the act of shooting.
What is up with Kobe and Gasol’s FT%? They combined to make only 14 of 26. Some of Kobe’s free-throws were short too, and he’s usually pretty good at that. Then again, so is Gasol.
A lot of Celtic fans are harping on Kobe’s 1 assist. Did they not see all the hockey assists?
Any solid advice for Lamar on getting out of his finals funk? (As Flight of the Concords sing “other rappers diss me / say my rhymes are sissy / what, what, what, what / be more constructive with your criticism.)