Charles Barkley knew it. DeJuan Blair knew it. Now Glen Davis knows it. The best way to beat length in basketball is to go right through it.
If game Four of the NBA Finals taught us anything, it is that the big men of the Lakers cannot beat beaten by going over the top of them or by trying to go around them; the only way to beat them is to attack their thin-framed bodies.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis was the key to the Celtics beating the Lakers in Game Four. His 18 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench were the difference in the game. And how did this short big man overcome the Lakers unbeatable length? He went right through it.
When the six foot, four inch Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley played in the NBA, seven foot bigs dominated the game. Conventional basketball wisdom would state that this player would have no chance in being a successful player at the power forward position. But Barkley ran right through his critics by attacking the bodies of these taller, longer players.
The 2008-2009 college basketball season saw one of the greatest shot blockers in NCAA history, Hasheem Thabeet. He was such a great defensive player that the seven foot, three inch Tanzanian center was drafted second overall in the NBA with less offense than World War I. However, the six foot, seven inch, DeJuan Blair had his way with Thabeet. How could he accomplish this? He attacked his body and went through his length.
Thursday night, Big Baby did the same thing to Pau Gasol and company. He out-muscled for rebounds, he out-hustled the Lakers under the basket, and he attacked the taller longer players’ bodies, drawing foul after foul. The Lakers taller players are not used to other players coming at them and pushing them around. Purple jerseys were bouncing off the large body of Big Baby.
This was so evident that the great Phil Jackson did not even wish to comment on the subject. He did not want to give away the secret to beating length to the opposing coaching staff (sorry Doc, you have vastly improved recently as a coach, but you had a long way to go to become great and you aren’t there yet). If Rivers and his staff can implore Davis and the large-bodied Kendrick Perkins to attack the Lakers’ bodies instead of trying to sneak around or over them, they can truly dominate the match up in the paint.
For the Celtics to win the series, they must be able to be effective down low. Or Ray Allen can hit eight threes and Rondo can go for a triple double. They should probably stick to sticking it to the Lakers length.