Okay, a few short posts to make up for several days of light (by which I mean no) posting.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals has proven itself to be highly unworthy of liveblogging. In particular, the Lakers have disappointed, although I wouldn’t necessarily say that they have particularly underperformed expectations. After Game 5, many of the announcers, especially Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Mike Wilbon, absolutely killed the Lakers for their defensive effort, or lack thereof, saying things like (paraphrasing) “if your defensive plan comes down to hoping they miss free throws, you don’t win on the road like that.”
And, while I thought that they had a point, I felt they were being unnecessarily harsh. After all, the Lakers did win an elimination game, and if they didn’t look good doing it, winning ugly can be the sign of a team with big heart.
But, no. The Lakers just, kind of, well, suck. I am forced to agree with something I think Van Gundy said during one of the recent games. There’s no way this Lakers team would have beaten the Hornets. The way Pierce, an above-average driver, has been carving up this D? Holy crap, Chris Paul would have absolutely demolished them. He would have had to start paying rent on the paint, he would have been spending so much time in the lane.
This is a baaad defensive team. I like their offense – when it’s running well, it is absolutely a thing of beauty. But the Celtics have found too many ways to slow them down, in large part by keeping them from running by making almost every shot. Maybe the Lakers will be much improved with the addition of Andrew Bynum’s interior defense next year, but he’d better be the second coming of Bill Russell the way the Lakers D has played this series.
One thing I’ve never seen pointed out – I’d love to know how many of Gasol’s and Odom’s assists go to each other. Those are some sweet-passing bigs. Too bad they’re both incapable of guarding Garnett on the perimeter, and unable to consistently get their shot inside.