The Lakers return to the Staples Center for Game 5. The series is tied at 2 games apiece but that means that the Western Conference Finals is now a three game series. The Lakers need to win two games and they’re in the Finals.
The Lakers had a terrible effort in game 4; the team was out-played, out-scored, out-rebounded, out-hustled, out-fought and got blown out, 48 hours removed from playing very well and taking game 3.
The Lakers need to make the following adjustments tonight: 1) get Pau Gasol more shots 2) Lamar Odom & Derek Fisher need to step their game up 3) It’s time to give Jordan Farmar more minutes as well as insert Josh Powell & DJ Mbenga into the game.
I’m making this statement due to the fact I’m tired of seeing the Lakers settle for jump shots and stop attacking the basket when teams get physical with them. Powell & Mbenga are both physical guys that are on the bench when teammates are being pushed around.
I know that Phil Jackson has his regular rotation that he rarely changes. Although when the team is out rebounded as badly as they were in game 4 some changes have to be made. Granted a lot of that can be eliminated but adhering to the basics such as boxing your man out.
The Lakers will bounce back and win tonight but the game four loss could easily signal another seven game series unless the team wins two games in a row. Kobe Bryant will make amends for his poor outing, he will set the tone and the team will follow his lead but his teammates have to knock down shots.
The Lakers have to control the tempo, the glass, get back in transition, and stop the dribble penetration as well as rotate out to three point shooters. Not accomplishing these tasks has killed the team. The Lakers will need to slow Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups & JR Smith.
The Nuggets bench needs to be slowed down as well but in concert with that statement the Lakers bench needs to show up. Lamar Odom is a ten year NBA veteran but isn’t playing like it. He needs to stop acting as if he is allergic to attacking the rim and get the idea that lay ups will work out of his system.
This is the sure basket time of the year. Chris Andersen is a good off the ball defender for the Nuggets but the Lakers front line needs to remember that he is also three pump fakes away from being in foul trouble. He cannot stop Pau one-on-one and that is the match up that needs to be exploited.
The Lakers are shooting way too many three point shots and need to start their offense from the post. The Lakers need to come out and play this game as if it is an elimination game and they’re on the verge of being ousted from the playoffs. Role players tend to play better at home and the Lakers need a solid contribution from everyone. Most importantly the officiating crew that let game 4 get out of hand won’t be in Los Angeles. The Lakers need to make a huge statement tonight.
Tipoff: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ESPN
- Denver: ESPN
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KCKK AM1510 (Jerry Schemmel)
- None to report.
- None to report.