I felt compelled to give you guys an article after the last game because it was a classic...classic disaster. I had so many things running through my mind after the game that I could have written my first book.
They consisted of things like: Why Stan Van Gundy didn't play Rafer Alston at all in the fourth or OT, why Kobe gets every single leaning-jump shot foul, why SVG didn't foul Derek Fisher, or why Rashard Lewis had three points going into Overtime. I'm telling you, I could have published my first book just on game four. But that's neither here nor there.
So let me give you a run down of seven adjustments Orlando needs to make to at least win one more game and make this series watchable again.
1) First and foremost, get in the gym and shoot free throws for about seven hours straight before the game tonight. You can't be a finals team and miss 15 free throws. There is no one guarding you. That's why they call them free.
2) If I'm SVG, I'm hiring Kareen, Bill Russel, Shaq, Patrick Ewing, Hakeen Olajuwon, and every other big time center who ever played and bringing them in to drill into Dwight Howard's head that YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE BALL HIGH IN THE POST.
For god's sake, it's like watching a sixth grade 5'11" kid who has no talent but he's taller than some teachers. So they ask him to try out and he gets the ball in the post, brings the ball to his knees to gather it, and the 4'11" guards come and steal the ball from him.
How are you going to have seven turnovers and be the best BIG in the NBA. Why am I doing this instead of coaching?
3) Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston. Play Rafer Alston
4) Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson. Sit Jameer Nelson.
Seriously Stan, if you can't see that Jameer can't play at an all-star level right now then you really need to be doing something else. Now you've shaken Rafer's confidence again, just as he was gaining it back. We could be witnessing one of the all time coaching debacles in Finals history.
5) I personally have NEVER, I repeat NEVER, been a fan of playing a zone defense. But in this case I think Orlando should try and use one. The Lakers are not running the triangle offense anymore, and don't try and argue with me.
They've completely abandoned it in the second half of games. They run either the famous LeBron-victory play where they spread out four guys and watch Kobe do his thing, or they send Gasol on a high screen and roll.
So why not use a zone and try and force the Lakers to beat you by the three because Gasol is killing the post. This also gives you massive help, besides Howard, in the lane when Kobe drives.
6) Orlando has to get Rashard going. It's so obvious that even my little brother said, "Tom, Rashard Lewis doesn't have a lot of points this game."
Me: "Thanks Matty. Why don't you tell Stan Van Genius."
The Magic go as Rashard goes. They can deal with Howard not scoring 20, and even Turkoglu not scoring 20. but Rashard HAS to score for them to win. Kudos to Lamar Odom's defense on him last game though.
7) Finally, the Turnovers. Oh My Lord. We could be witnessing the Greatest-Worst team in NBA history. In other words, I've never watched a team that could play so bad, and so well in a matter of seconds. It is really incredible.
The magic have the players to be the best team in this league. But then they go out and they play so bad sometimes it's like they switched uniforms with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The turnovers have to go. The Magic are by far the most undisciplined team in Finals history (although the 2007 Cavaliers are very close). SVG has to drill his team to protect the ball. The Magic had 19 turnovers last game and 20+ in the first game. Take two or three turnovers away, combined with two or three made free throws and Orlando wins easily.
SVG has to make some kind of adjustments. Someone should send him this blog. Or at least tell him to call his brother him for some help.
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