To me, it’s very simple. If you shoot only 22-37 FTs (59.5%), inspite of being able to shoot 76% FTs in the regular season, then you deserve to lose. Especially if a. those FTs are important down the stretch (such as Howard’s 2 of 2 misses with 11.1 seconds to go in the 4th with the score 84-87, that could’ve brought them within a point), and b. players who regularly do better, such as Hedo Turkoglu who shoots 84% FTs in the regular season, suddenly shooting only 8 of 13 (61%) today.
I mean, think about it. Everything else LA did or Orl couldn’t do could’ve been neutralized if Orl could only sink their charities.
- 2 Fisher Big Threes? – Moot if only Orl could’ve sunk their FTs.
- Big game from Ariza? – Moot if only Orl could’ve sunk their FTs.
- Redick not yet finding his game? – Moot if only Orl could’ve sunk their FTs.
- Alston suddenly benched? – Moot if only Orl could’ve sunk their FTs.
I could go on but I think you get the point.
And what is it about Van Gundy going with Jameer instead of Alston in the 4Q? I cannot fathom the idea of not going with a tried and tested line – up, the line – up that brought you there, even as Alston brought the house down early with daredevil drives and great moves to the basket early on.
There are two reasons why it doesn’t make sense to me:
First, the obvious: Changing a lineup introduces inconsistency in the team. Alston knows how to play with the rest of the guys to execute the plays they’ve learned by heart by now. He learned to play with them in the heat of the battle of the Playoffs, which is a hundred times better than executing them in practice.
Second: Changing a lineup affects player’s confidence. All 5 starters already know what to do everytime they execute. Starters prepare themselves previous to the game, knowing they are going to get minutes. How can Alston prepare himself if he can see that inspite of a great performance in the Playoffs and even a great 1st half in this game, that’s still not good enough to see him play in the fourth quarter? There’s a limit to how much you’ll take for your team. If you give you expect somewhat to be rewarded, and Alston getting benched for the fourth quarter onwards isn’t the proper way to reward a player.
It is my opinion that Orl lost this instead of LAL playing well enough to win it. I can’t really name any other player on LAL who played well, other than Ariza, to call this a good game for them. On the other hand, Orlando blew this one away. FTs are a ‘gimme’ – a rare opportunity to score while the defense cannot do a thing, and they did not capitalize. And frankly, I’m tired of not understanding why Van Gundy is benching Alston in the 4Q. It’s frustrating enough for me to assume he’s doing it to help Nelson’s contract or something.
Anyway here’s some pics: