That Vaunted Lakers Defense, Pt. II

The Lakers defense just seems to love leaving wide open lanes and allowing the Celtics free looks at the hoop.  Leon Powe got one in Game 2… and Ray Allen got one at the most critical point of the game last night. Celtics up 3… less than :20 on the clock… and Ray blew by Sasha Vujacic…

And got to the middle of the lane completely untouched.  Completely.  Check out the video.  Vujacic is frozen by a stutter step.  Pau Gasol reacts WAAAAAAAAY too late and too slowly (how’s that trade working out for ya?) and Derek Fisher can’t get close enough to foul unless he leaves EHouse wide open.

Meanwhile… Paul Pierce personally asked Doc Rivers to check Kobe Bryant at halftime… and he played Kobe wonderfully (his block of Kobe, seen here set to music, was awesome).  The Celtics defense was just stifling.  James Posey destroyed Lamar Odom’s psyche.  Lakers scored fewer points in the 2nd half (33) than they did in the first quarter (35).

Some people are saying that the Celtics team of round 1 would have gotten blown out in this series… and that might be true.  But that’s because it took until the Conference Semifinals for this team to really figure things out.  That’s when Paul Pierce became the true primary scorer on this team.  Its when KG could really focus on defense andrebounding.  All of the stuff that didn’t shake out in the regular season had to be addressed in the playoffs.  Its why the Celtics had to go 7 in each of the previous rounds.  But once Pierce when nuts in Game 7 in Cleveland… everything else started to make sense.  The world focused so much on the first two rounds… and they didn’t hear the Celtics click against Detroit.  The Lakers never really had a chance.

Ladies and Gentlemen… the Lakers are done.  Yes, they are technically still alive… but they’re about as alive as a gazelle 2 seconds after a lion clamps down on its trachea.  The Celtics defense is just too good… while the Lakers defense is virtually non-existent.  They can’t stop the Celtics when the Celtics decide to do what they want.  It was their most glaring weakness before the Gasol trade… and the deal never did anything to address it.  Now its killing them.  And we all know (say it with me now)… Defense… Wins… Championships.  Now excuse me while I pick out which Cigar I’m smoking at the parade.

Rondo’s Blog: The Comeback  |  Herald:  Gotta ‘C’ it to believe it  |  Celtics win stuff of legend  |  Celtics go to extremes  |  Stunned, Lakers hit deck  |  Rivers:  Give ‘em a shot  |  Officials get Stern defense  |  Posey blooms in crunch time  |  Owner of the road, too  |  House money in the clutch  |  Kobe & Co. take New England point of view  |  Rest is best for Celts  |  Title is there for taking  |  Globe:  Roaring back  |  game 4 photos  |  Ryan: seeing this was believing  |  3rd quarter brought historic victory  |  Perk leaves early  |  Posey’s hot hand the key  |  Pierce’s D shuts down Kobe  |  TrueHoop:  Lakers court, but Celtics’ House  |  Camerato:  Where 24 point comebacks happen  |  Souza:  Game 4 “Obstructed View”  |  SI:  C’s grasp urgency of Finals  |  Balance keys win  |  Unselfish Kobe burned by collapse  |  Pierce sparks unreal rally  |  ESPN:  C’s about to prove defense wins championships 

By the way… a Lakers fan trolling our forums decided to post this thread calling for a blowout yesterday afternoon.  Now its a sticky… and ready for your complete and utter demolition of said fan.  Have at it.

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8 Responses

  1. Gasol’s inability to get to Ray is mind boggling. You teach that type of help defense in CYO hoops….

  2. you can criticize this play all you want but Lakers got happy with there 24 point lead and just played happy. Again nobody to blame here. If and when the Celtics win hands down Ray Allen is the Finals MVP. He has been more consistent then pierce and Kg in this series and I have a feeling a alot of celtic fan are gonna counter this statement i just made.

  3. Props to Paul Pierce for completely shutting Kobe Bryant down. Dan Wetzel wrote a great piece about how Pierce told Doc Rivers that he wanted to be assigned to Kobe at halftime, and how that sparked the team’s comeback. Word.

  4. People are making the argument for Ray… but I think Pierce is MVP. He was THE key in games 1 and 2… and his defense last night, along with 20 points, was HUGE.

  5. Paul has been the MVP of this team and arguably the league all year and when it matters, he comes up big. Without Paul in Game 7, we wouldn’t be this far. Selfless, clutch, leader, that is what an MVP is.

    I firmly believe that if the path to the Finals was reversed (LA, Detroit, Cleveland then Atlanta), the results would have been close to the same. This Celtics team knows when they need to step up. They did so in big games all year and they did so during the Texas Triangle trip. In Round 1, they knew they had a tough road ahead starting with a weak opponent and they played at that level. I don’t know that it would be possible to play at 110% in early rounds and still have something left in the tank for later rounds. Like runners, they paced themselves and it’s working today.

    And notice when the Celtics got up big earlier in this series, they too started playing the clock and stopped doing what got them the lead. The difference is the Celtics have the resolve to put it away for good.

  6. [...] comeback, top Lakers Post game final thoughts Where 24 point comebacks happen Red’s Army The vaunted Lakers defense part 2 SI.com Celtics fully grasp the urgency of the finals Pierce one win away from NBA title Celtics [...]

  7. [...] – The Sports Hernia – First Michelle Tafoya’s head takes over the Finals, then the world. – Red’s Army – Checking back in with that vaunted Los Angeles Lakers defense. – Wizards Insider – Nothing like [...]

  8. The defense is shaky, but not nonexistant. I wonder why Pierce was in single digits the other game, and why garnett looks indistinguishable from any other PF in the NBA. It’s your random’s that have come through for you, and Allen.

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