The Los Angeles Lakers are back at the Staples Center for a must-win game. They have given away at least two games in this series and return home with several questions and very little answers. Their defense has regressed and has allowed the Celtics to utilize more than one way to beat them. I am still of the belief that the trend of the Lakers playing badly will end tonight.
Despite the fact that the Lakers haven’t played well or like the championship team they are, the Lakers need to stay together. This series isn’t over and will be going seven games. It will take a concerted effort from everyone wearing a Purple and Gold jersey and passion on every possession.
A lot has been made of Kobe Bryant berating his teammates at the end of Game 5 as opposed to lifting them up or motivating them. However, 100% of the people in the media that made the above statement have no idea if he later did just that or not. The fact of the matter is, that in Game 4 and 5 this series has looked eerily similar to the 2008 Finals and I was under the impression that the Lakers had learned from their mistakes.
The Lakers have to win the game in the trenches, with their big players in the middle, meaning it goes back to what Pat Riley said years ago “no rebounds, no rings”. They have to be physical, aggressive and be the one hitting first. They have to play with a bit of desperation; it is imperative that they outwork, outhustle and outrebound the Celtics.
It is a must that the Lakers ball movement and player movement improve, this is a key in moving the Celtics’ defense and when the opportunity presents itself, they must execute their offense at finish. They need to have productive trips offensively.
This is the most important game of the year and the Lakers have the luxury of being at home in front of their fans to play the game of their careers.
The Lakers front line of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, and Lamar Odom can redeem themselves by playing big, making a significant impact, owning the painted area, and playing TWO of the biggest games of their careers. The Lakers need multiple players scoring in double figures.
The Lakers defensively need to communicate and get on the same page when it comes to defending the screen and roll action plays. The screen and roll plays have allowed Paul Pierce room to operate as well as open shots for Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, and Rasheed Wallace that faucet needs to turned off. The Lakers have to get back in transition, close out to the shooters, and stop allowing so many wide open shots.
It is now or never, the Lakers are anxious ready to put on a performance that the Lakers fans can be proud of. The Celtics and their few fans in the Cuidad need to be silenced and the Lakers Nation needs to be loud. I do not believe that the Lakers will allow the Celtics to celebrate in Los Angeles. The Lakers will use a team effort tonight and force a game seven.
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