This Is What It's All About

I’m referring to this:

That’s Lakers Center Pao Gasol, one of the world’s best at his position in any team in any league and imho, deserving of the honor accorded those who filled that same position on the team in the past, celebrating after a perfect give and go play.

The Lakers now go on 2-0 vs. the (surprisingly) struggling Orlando Magic in this year’s Finals Series, 101-96 (OT).

Other notable incidents:

Hedo’s excellent block – from – behind on Kobe, who was looking for a go ahead basket before the overtime. I don’t really like defenders who like to let their man go forward in order to swipe / block them from behind because I think it’s way too dangerous. This was a big impact play in any case, and even Bryant looked like he had to admit that was a good clean block.

Courtney Lee’s alley-oop miss on the inbounds play which would’ve put his team on top during the 88-88 deadlock. He was given a great pick from way on top of the key after which he had a clear lane. It’d have finished the Lakers off with one stroke but his miss instead brought on the OT.

Rashard Lewis’ go – ahead three pointer making the score 96-99 in OT, LAL ahead with 26.2 seconds to go. LAL had been on a tear previous to this play, and my regret is that there is no way I could’ve taken a screenshot at the absolutely great half court defense LAL produced on the play(s) previous to this, where Orlando was forced to take bad shots. LAL’s defensive stretch in the dying seconds of OT was truly inspiring stuff though I doubt we’d ever see it on YouTube or NBA Live with its’ focus on highlight reels, so you’d just have to trust me on that one.

Other stuff I noticed:

  • Jeff van Gundy was completely right when he referred to how horrible Orl’s fastbreak was in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. There was even a 4 on 1 instance when Orl inexplicably decided to pass the ball around the three point line, instead of going straight for the hoop. Fortunately Dwight got to the paint and started waving his arms around like crazy and a teammate gave it to him for the uncontested dunk, but they certainly took their time.

    Fastbreaks are terrific ways to pump up your team and get things going. People might have forgotten now that big guards Turkoglu, Pietrus and Lewis can produce not only 3 point shots but highlight reel dunks as well (especially Lewis). So when you see you’ve only got Fisher or some guard defending you on the open court, I think you should go ahead and go for the spectacular play. It’ll shut the Forum crowd as well as make your team believe in themselves. Instead they played tentative, and I’m less enthused about their overall efforts as a result.

  • At some point in the 1st / 2nd quarter, guys like JJ Reddick, Tony Battie and Jameer Nelson were on the floor, along with Marcin Gortat. Why? This is a purely coach – call of course, and I can’t (no one can) 2nd guess why coaches do what they do, but I can’t imagine these guys have played together for a reasonable number of minutes during the regular season. As a result, you had a bunch of guys unfamiliar with each other’s play and they quickly piled on the turnovers, equalized only by LAL’s thankfully sputtering offense at the time, resulting in a record low scoring 1st quarter for the NBA Finals.

    So I wasn’t surprised when Lewis, who was the only ‘vet’ on that lineup at the time, started to wax hot with 3 after 3. He probably realized he was the only guy who can score on that lineup, so he started shooting it and rightfully so.

  • And finally, I do not agree with the idea of adding Jameer Nelson or JJ Reddick at this point in the Finals. Right now, I’d think it’s ideal that you go with what you know works, and the lineup of Howard, Turkoglu, Lewis, Pietrus and Alston has worked best for them. Messing it up now with Reddick, no matter how good a shooter he is, doesn’t make sense to me. Removing Alston, no matter how badly he was shooting, also doesn’t make sense to me. I believe you stick with the players that got you there. His confidence, (and as a result his shooting) will take care of itself.