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WCF Game 4: Suns 115 - Lakers 106 (Series Tied 2-2)

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#841 LakersChamps243


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Posted May 25, 2010 - 10:21 PM

Does anyone else agree with me that the Lakers tanked this game? Or am I just crazy? We were UP by 2 in the 4th quarter in a game where we were playing TERRIBLE and then we don't play smart, are sloppy with the basketball, show no sense of urgency, Phil takes weird timeouts and we still decide to shoot threes and not try to break the zone. The refs were also pretty bad even though I hate blaming a game on the refs. It seems like sometimes Phil just says [expletive] it when the officiating is terrible. If we had a lead in the first two games of this series, we would have pounded them relentlessy. I just don't get how it would benefit us to tank a game, especially in the WCF... now I could just be crazy but we seriously need to figure things out.

On second thought after seeing Kobe's presser it looks like it would be a pretty far-fetched idea that they would tank the game. I just can't believe once we took the lead on that Farmar three in the fourth we basically stopped playing and showed no urgency from then on. Just a weird, weird game. Time to bounce back in game 5 and start playing like champions, and like Kobe said play some [expletive]ing DEFENSE and REBOUND the basketball.

Edited by LakersChamps243, May 25, 2010 - 10:23 PM.

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#842 noknife


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Posted May 26, 2010 - 09:04 AM

On second thought after seeing Kobe's presser it looks like it would be a pretty far-fetched idea that they would tank the game. I just can't believe once we took the lead on that Farmar three in the fourth we basically stopped playing and showed no urgency from then on. Just a weird, weird game. Time to bounce back in game 5 and start playing like champions, and like Kobe said play some [expletive]ing DEFENSE and REBOUND the basketball.

I watched the game again last night, taking out the emotion of watching it live. Here are the adjustments I would make. Defense, allow them to take 2 pointers, do not under any circumstances foul them ever, no double teams, if Amare goes for 60 without freethrows, so be it, if Nash scores on running jumpers, live with it. Offensively they should continue taking open 3 pointers if they are given them. They should have Kobe attempt to penetrate the zone a bit, it will give us even less pressure on our wide open 3's and once those start falling we can pound the inside and get some easy buckets and fouls to slow the game down and allow us to get back on D more as well as be able to play Kobe and Pau almost the entire game. On the open 3 pointers there has to be zero hesitation, if you get the ball thrown to you and you are uncovered, shoot the ball in rhythm. You are not going to make half of your 3's it is statistically impossible, and this is the most important adjustment to make, when you miss the shot, you need to run back on defense, do not defend the rebounder, get your butt back on defense and set up so that we aren't playing with a man disadvantage when the rebounder outlets the ball to one of their quick guards, we need to run back to the other side of the court immediately. Several times they were not only defending the rebounder but also double teaming him, leaving 2 guys in the back court against Amahnson or Amare getting a board is a humongous misplay. Yes you may strip the ball, but the vast majority of the time the rebounder will find the outlet pass and against a quick team you are then at a humongous disadvantage basically guaranteeing that there is a man uncovered on the other end of the court, risk v reward. Offensively they are playing a fine game, they are shooting well, they are getting shots that they should want to take, they are outscoring the suns if you take out free throw disparity (and they aren't going to get calls shooting 3's unless it is a blatant foul). Defensively they are fouling too much, double teaming too much in situations where they shouldn't be (which is ever) leading to wide open 3's, just getting a hand up in those situations is about all you can ask for and should be enough. Limiting fouls, and getting back on defense instead of defending rebounds is number 1 priority, do not listen to any clowns that tell you that the Lakers can't figure out the zone, if that was true their record would be somewhere around 0-82, teams would just zone them and beat them. They are scoring and getting very high percentage looks. Defense is fine in spurts when it is set up in the half court game, the gameplan is just flawed and needs to be addressed, which I expect it to be in game 5. I am no basketball coach, but I have played and studied the game a lot, those are the adjustments I would go with.

Finally. I would give Sasha a chance, he is a tenacious defender (not good, tenacious) and he can hit an open 3 better than most of our players. I like how he defends Nash and Drajic, very good pressure on and off the ball. Unless he is hurt, I would throw him in place of Brown who cannot hit open 3's, sucks on defense, and just isn't good at anything other than dunking. Farmar can hit the occasional 3 and is terrible at defense, but at least his shot has to be respected. Brown gives nothing. Josh Powell is another option, he can stretch the zone since his mid-range game is better than average, and he plays fast. Honestly, the Lakers can probably win without making a single adjustment, but making adjustments would be nice to see.

#843 An Assassins Mentality

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Posted May 26, 2010 - 11:06 PM

yeah I went back and watched both games 3 and 4 a little while after the finished so I could watch them without the emotion.. really, the main adjustments we need to make are on the offensive end, but ill start with some of the defensive adjustments I would consider:

we have to make them play 1 on 1 basketball.. it is no secret that they fire on all cylinders when they get you in the Pick n Roll and have that slight advantage where the defense doesnt know exactly who to defend since they can go with the quick slip to Amare, or the traditional PnR, or the pick and pop, or Nash can pull up off the screen or (what he likes to do a lot when the defender goes over the screen) is curl around towards the paint, draw the 3rd defender over to help and skip pass to a wide open shooter in the corner for 3.. the one way to take them out of that game is to swit



the only "advantage" Amare would have when you switch on every screen is in the post, since hypothetically that big would have the advantage over the smaller defender in the post.. but thats not Amares game.. and with that, you can occaisionally run another defender at him and double him, more times than not forcing a turnover or a bad possession because he is not a good passer out of the post.. I believe if you take him out of what he whats to do and what he is most comfortable with, you take him out of the game entirely.. and on occasion he gets to the rim on that pick and roll, foul him hard.. Im really tired of these weak a** touch fouls.. this is the playoffs.. make him feel it and make them earn it.

the other "advantage" the Suns would have is with Nash up against a big man.. preferably I would switch all screens with Gasol or Odom defending against the screen since they are much more mobile than Bynum..with Gasol and Odom switching and defending Nash, all they have to do is keep him in front of them (easier said than done, but not impossible).. make him a jump shooter and make him make contested jumpers.. but by making Nash a 1 on 1 player it takes them out of the offense they want to run and it gives you the slight advantage because it takes their 3 point shooting out of it.. they are getting open looks off the pick and roll because of all the defenders that have to help, and the rotation is usually late and with Nashs ability to find guys you never know who he is going to pass it too.. but when you switch and make him the primary scorer, it takes him out of his game since he is NEVER looking to score.. if we make him the primary scorer on their team I believe we can slow them down tremendously.

now in regards to the zone defense they are running, we gotta keep in mind that they are really only in the zone off of made baskets.. so in this case, better defense will help our offense since they cant run back into their zone if we are in transition.. so if we can bring their shooting percentage down to the mid 40's, I believe it would help our offense exponentially..

In my and a lot of other "analysts" opinions, the biggest weakness of the zone defense is penetration.. if you can penetrate the zone more times than not you will find success because penetration draws extra defenders, so ideally you want to draw 2 and kick.. but instead of kicking out to the 3 point line, we need to have that guy slash to the hoop as opposed to just sitting at the 3 point line.. you need more movement and slashers because there are ALWAYS soft spots of every zone, usually on the weak side.. so rather than staying at the 3 point line, Artest or Shannon or LO or whoever needs to cut to the hoop.

another thing we need to do is focus on getting the ball into the post.. that is a must in the triangle offense and it is a must when playing against the zone.. when we dont get it into the post we are lost on offense.. too many times have we seen that ball swing side to side but only stay on the perimeter.. that ball needs to get to the elbow or on the block and if you have a lot of movement and guys cutting and slashing to the hoop, they will be able to find the soft spot in the zone and will usually be able to finish at the rim as opposed to away from it..

one thing we need to do more of is get the ball to Kobe on the elbow.. Kobe is the best playmaker we have on this team so we need to get him the ball in the post as opposed to at the 3 point line.. you cant rely on Kobe to put the team on his back and shoot an unbelievable percentage from the perimeter every game.. even with that performance we werent able to keep up.. get him the ball in the post and let him create.. they usually have 3 or 4 sets of eyes watching him and with plenty of movement by the other guys he will be able to find the open man which gives us our best chance of beating the zone.

and stop shooting those damn threes.. I dont care how wide open you are.. if you are wide open enough to shoot an open three, you also would have enough time to either step in for a much better midrange shot or drive to the lane.. with the defenders having to rotate over and run at you, you put them at a disadvantage since you can drive by them into the lane and at the rim for the bucket, or the foul, or you can dish to a teammate.. all are better options than settling for threes.

and I agree, noknife.. I was really hoping we would see more of Sasha last game.. I know he'd been struggling this season even though he was shooting much better before he got hurt, but he stretches the floor as well as anyone on our team.. I would also like to see Walton in the game over Brown/Farmar at some points when Hill is in the game.. he is not that much of a defensive liability when up against a guy like Hill who is more of a spot up shooter at this stage of his career and in this offense, but Waltons ability to pass the ball and create for others is NEEDED when up against a zone defense..

so in a nutshell.. switch everything on defense.. especially when LO and Gasol are in the game which is like 85% of the time, and especially when that scrub Channing Frye is in the game (he doesnt even look to post up the smaller defender).. keep Nash and Dragic in front of you and make them primary scorers by being jump shooters and by not allowing them into the lane; make them beat you by taking contested jump shots.. great defense will lead to much better offense since they wont be able to set up their zone when we arent taking the ball out from net.. get Kobe and Pau the ball in the post and get much more movement by having guys slash through the zone.. our size is still our biggest advantage and we have 2 of the most skilled bigs with great passing ability in the game.. dont settle for threes but use that open space to either drive into the lane or take a higher percentage shot.. and lets get Sasha and Walton more PT.. just my $0.02 on how we can neutralize/beat what the Suns do best.. lets go Fellas!!!

if you guys have any opinions or criticisms Id sure like to hear them.
  • LakersChamps243 likes this
"He's the best player in the game. It's just that simple. There's nothing that Kobe Bryant can't do. He will defend your best player. He will shoot from the perimeter. He will get all in your mug, he will do whatever it takes. He is the most complete basketball player in the game today, bar none. He has an assassin's mentality." -- Stephen A. Smith

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