For All Of You Who Thought The Lakers Would Win in 5 Games
Shame on you. Shame on you on so many levels, that I can write a James Joyce novel to describe the non-intelligent analysis that all of you rooting for the Lakers posted all over the Internet.
But I'll just leave it to a couple of things that were grossly overlooked by your over-confident clique.
1. Shame on you for underestimating defense.
Defense wins championships. Teams rarely win championships when they give up 100+ points a game. People who were mentioning the prowess of the Lakers' offense had failed to understand that they only used their energy on one side of the court.
The Lakers tried to play defense, and they have nothing to show for it. They didn't play defense all year, and when they finally dropped down against their man, it cost them their first two games.
To think that the Lakers were going to use their season game-plan of outscoring the opposition by somehow managing to score the century mark against the best defensive team in the league on their home-court shows an astounding lack of common sense.
I do not know if defense means anything to NBA analysis anymore, but last time I checked, defensive teams (and teams with a defensive giant named Shaq) have been the only teams running the show the last decade.
If you don't believe me, ask every other Western Conference team that allows 97+ points a game and makes the playoffs every year. If you can't ask them all, I think Steve Nash or Dirk can sum it up for you.
2. Shame on you for underestimating the bench:
I have seen it from 99% of the blogs and articles: The Lakers' bench is so fast, so quick, they play well together, they eat ice cream at church on Sundays, they save helpless animals from burning fires, etc.
What they also do is not match-up against the Celtics bench.
The Celtics have two players (Posey and Brown) who would be starters on a decent amount of teams in the NBA right now. They are not quick, but they are versatile in their game, and can change their styles to suit the needs of the team.
Posey posts-up, he can shoot 3-pointers, he can rebound, he can take the ball up the court on point-guard pressure, he can pass, he can make picks, he doesn't turnover the ball, and he plays good defense.
PJ Brown's repertoire isn't as great in his old age, but his defensive skills are also solid, he doesn't make mistakes, he rebounds well, and can make shots if he is open.
For me, I would take him over Ronny Turiaf. Those who favored the Lakers bench would disagree—those people are looking at their team being down two games going into Los Angeles.
Not to mention Leon Powe, Sam Caseell, and Eddie House (who has not played, but expect to see him at least once in the series). Glen Davis's smile could make a step into the show, and people forget how good he was going into the post-season.
3. Shame on you for thinking the refs were calling a West Coast game:
If you watch games in the Western Conference, you see the reason why so many fouls are called—Because hard defense and bumping is rarely initiated by any team.
If teams are running transition basketball, and trying to create mismatch opportunities for shots and drives toward the basket, there aren't many opportunities that the refs will need to use their whistle. When playing transition defense, players are usually too busy running toward other players than actually guarding them, thereby nullifying any intense physical contact.
On top of this, because of the few times there are contact, fouls are usually called because they are, in comparison to how the rest of the game is played, physical enough to warrant an official's response.
In the Eastern Conference, there are a lot more half-court sets, more posting up, and more physical intensity to stop players' opportunities from scoring. The refs have adjusted to call the foul based on this system. A lot more gets away in contact in our conference than the Western Conference.
A lot of Lakers fans are calling "foul" over the lack thereof during the Game 2 spectacle on Sunday. They see that Kobe getting physical contact (or reacting to needing a call), or Gasol making noises, constitutes a foul.
These usually are not fouls. Most times the foul has to impede the shot (by a hit on the arm or a shove) and not necessarily move a body—which might be because so many players flop they don't even bother to go by the offensive players' movement.
They are not going to get the easy contact calls, because the Celtics (and because they had to adjust, the Lakers) imposed the East Coast game and were able to play harder defense.
BTW: Kobe had whined about calls almost every time he shot the ball, and every single time he didn't get fouled.
This is what separates him from Jordan; he will make excuses if a call or play doesn't go his way. He blames his lack of execution less on his inability to make the shot, and more-so on the refs or his teammates. Did you see him yelling at Vujacic at the end of the game? Jordan doesn't do that. Period.
Pierce gets bumped just as much, but the refs made sure both he and Kobe didn't get those calls, since they have a tendency to initiate contact for the foul—which is a no-call in most cases (like when Pierce got bumped and fell to the floor in the 3rd trying to get an o-foul, there was no call).
I love Kobe, but he uses too much energy to whine to the refs. He needs to use that energy to make shots.
The Lakers had the ability to play the same defensive game.
Everyone looks at the disparity in foul shots, but you have to remember that the Celtics never got over the foul limit in most quarters, and the disparity was 28-21 fouls. This really isn't anything, considering the Rondo offensive foul, and the Lamar Odom going over PJ Brown's back.
Also, the Celtics were shooting two to four foot shots on half of their possessions, which was way more than the Lakers. Fouls are given on good looks from under the hoop, not shooting away from it.
The LA defense, instead of playing in front of their man, tried to swipe the ball on penetrators to the basket. They didn't try to play defense in front of their man. If you don't play defense, you are going to be called for a lot fouls, or you are going to let Leon Powe run the entire court and dunk it in front of three players.
4. Shame on you for not watching the Celtics:
If anyone, anyone by a spark of random motivation, ever sat down to watch at least three Celtics games this season, they would've been proper to understanding the ONLY reason the Celtics ever lose: They lapse.
The Lakers were finally witness to the most dangerous achilles' heel a championship-caliber team has, and the Celtics demonstrated that this psychological lull can kill them during its appearance in the 4th quarter in Game 2.
For you fans who thought this was five games—let me give you some advice about the Celtics: They have only lost one game, just one game, this entire season that didn't have anything to do with their psychological lapses. That game was at home against the Utah Jazz in January.
I wish I could say this isn't true, but when the Celtics have played their game and don't fall asleep during their leads, they are unstoppable.
As an East Coast fan, I have more leverage to compare this with the Lakers talent than a west coast fan. Not saying that the East Coast has better water, women, or music (which I have come to the sad realization the West Coast sweeps these three), but our time-zone gives us the ability to watch both our games and your games.
While the Celtics are winning games by 20, the west coast is just getting done watching Seinfeld. Sorry, but seeing two games is usually better than seeing one.
At the same time, a lot of these silly crystal-ball statements of a 4-1 series in the Lakers' favor weren't even based on watching the game, but because of the Celtics' struggle in the playoffs—the fact that the big three are old, they don't have a bench, they don't have a clutch shooter, their point guard is mediocre, they have no Finals experience, their coach is wacky, and they don't have a great offense.
All of these have been proven wrong throughout the season.
If it took until game two to wipe away your disposition on the powerhouse that is the Celtics, the team who was No.1 in defense, and the team that had the best record in the league, then shame on you.
If it took until game two for you to understand that this team is just as good as the Lakers (and maybe better if the series says so), then shame on you for not being a basketball fan.
And watching too much ESPN.
To assume the Lakers were the better team, with all the evidence that had shown otherwise—shame on you for not bothering to watch our game, or at the very least, look up some Leon Powe highlights.
Ps: My analysis articles on the Finals & Game 2:
ESPN Article on the disparity of fouls:
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