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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 5: Lakers problems all stem from their defense, or whatever you call that

Jun 14, 2010, 12:31 AM EDT

Pierce_leaning.jpgPhil Jackson was wrong after the game. He was doing what he had to do — he needed to build up his team’s confidence, not tear them down — but that doesn’t mean he was accurate. When questioned about the Lakers defense he did not seem all that disappointed.

“They scored 92 points,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after the game. “We’ll live with that and we’ll come back and play that game again, regardless of what they shot.”

But Boston scored those points on just 84 possessions. The Celtics had an offensive rating of 109.5 (points per 100 possessions), which is three points a game higher than what they did in the regular season, and six points higher than the Lakers gave up during the season. The Lakers did not play good defense just because the score was low. The Celtics were efficient on offense, which is why they won.

Boston shot 65 percent in the first half. They came out in the third quarter and scored on 12 of their first 13 possessions.

The Celtics were hot, but the Lakers defense let them get that way.

“They were shooting a high percentage but it gets that way when you are shooting layups,” Jackson said.

“Tonight we were not very good on defense at all,” Kobe Bryant said.

Los Angeles let Boston get the shots it wanted from the places on the floor it wanted. Like losing Ray Allen so he is wide open under the basket to catch the pass and lay it in. Boston made those shots, then things snowballed and pretty soon the Celtics could not seem to miss.

The hottest Celtic was Paul Pierce, who had 27 points shooting 57 percent from the floor. But the Celtics got him free by bringing him off pick-and-rolls, which the Lakers switch, then he is able to drive by the other guy and get to the elbow jumper he likes. He hit a couple of those (he had 8 first quarter points), then he got confident, he got isolated on Ron Artest and hit step back shots. Once he gets comfortable, Pierce hits just about everything.

The Lakers help defense was spotty all night. There was the play where Nate Robinson drove off a pick, only to have Lamar Odom take a stab at the ball as the help rather than ride him all the way to the basket and take away the smaller man’s shot. All night long the Lakers did not help the helper.

Los Angeles also was not doing a consistent job getting back in transition —  Boston had 14 points to the Lakers 3.

Los Angeles needs transition points themselves — it is hard to score against the Boston half-court offense, the Lakers need some easy buckets. But you can’t run when you are taking the ball out of the basket.

If the Lakers want to play a Game 7, they will need to get stops in Game 6. They will need to contest shots, push the Celtics off the spots on the floor they like, generally make then uncomfortable. There are other things, too — Boston won seemingly every 50/50 loose ball — but if it doesn’t start with better defense not much else matters.

  1. avomonster - Jun 14, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    I have to admit, after being a lifelong Laker fan I can see a team that has just decided it’s too good to want to play anymore. Ever since they won the first game in TD Garden (game 3) they appear to have lost all interest in this series or the championship. Why else would their defense go on vacation for the last two games? I mean seriously, the Phoenix Suns are a helluva lot better than the Celtis bench and they just took the Lakers apart in Game 4.
    The Celtics just aren’t that good. Sorry to the little green fans out there but seriously, if it were not for the brutal physical knock-down drag-out method of the Boston thugs this would be all over by now. Fortunately, for the Celtics, the official could care less. They got tired after game three too and decided the best way to end this was to just let the home team win from now on. We’ll see what happens in LA but unless the Lakers decide to come back from vacation this one is over.
    I think Phil Jackson deserves better than than and if I were him I’d be ripping some new a-holes in the locker room tonight. But, this is one fan who sorely missed Trevor Ariza and his spirit. Sorry Ron Ron but you are not cutting it and I think it’s time to hit the road.

  2. nresq - Jun 14, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    Agree with most of what you said, but your last thought: It ain’t Ron Ron that’s got to go, its Odum. Hasn’t shown up once this post-season. Might be able to get a serviceable point guard for him if we move him this off season. Agree that this team is just gutless; this series should have been over after Game 4. Its the ’80’s all over again: better teams, no guts = another lost series to Boston.

  3. Color Me Green - Jun 14, 2010 at 3:45 AM

    Nice to see some whiney Laker fans commiserating over the usual excuses “we’re the better team but we’re losing anyway”….part of the definition of a good team IS the guts factor! You’ve got the biggest frontline in the NBA but they want to be ballet dancers, not serious NBA champs…contact it part of the game, always has been. You are right about Artest though, still hard to watch him out there, he is a bit of a nut case…

  4. Boston Blackie - Jun 14, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    LA didn’t come by the name “FAKERS” for no good reason. I have a suggestion: allow them to wear Ballerina shoes in game 6 and then maybe the pansies will have a shot !

  5. Kevin C - Jun 14, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    avomonster, “not that good”? Since when did you become the decider of what represents good basketball and what doesn’t?
    Physical play and good defense counts as much as a show-off offense…and clearly more so far.

  6. Rich - Jun 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    It’s more like the Lakers are being demoralized by a much better team, top to bottom. Boston has it all, veteran champions and hungry young guys. LA has nobody to cover Rajon Rondo, the most exciting player in the league.

  7. obvious - Jun 14, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    You’re right, the Celtics aren’t good. They are just trashing your team. Even the Boston bench is playing better than your starters. I think its time you swallow some of that Lakers pride and give just a little bit of credit.

  8. Eric of Melbourne - Jun 14, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    I think the Lakers are being outcoached something fierce.
    Doc Rivers has his guys pumped up and ready to play – team, team, team! He has a superb bench because he USES his bench – they’re part of the team. He doesn’t have guys sitting there with vacant looks in their eyes.
    Phil Jackson likes to pride himself on never getting too high or too low, but when the other team is snapping broom handles with their teeth waiting to get at you – “cool and calm” is going to get you swept in the last 3 games.
    I hope the home court advantage will give the Lakers a boost, but the truth is, the Celtics are the better team, largely because they have the better coach.

  9. Anonymous - Jun 14, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    The Celtics are a mix of veteran champions and hungry youth, a more complete team than any other in the NBA. Also, LA has nobody who can guard Rajon Rondo, the source of all the chaos the Celtics can create.

  10. Puristcfan - Jun 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    “little green fans” and “seriously” in the same sentence? You’re as big a joke as Phil Jackson. Bring it on, Hollywood. All front and no substance, you have a team that reflects your city, for sure.

  11. Mr8bit - Jun 14, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Sh how exactly are the Lakers the “better team?” They had ONE guy show up last night. ONE. The Celtics got something out of every player that stepped on to the court. No superstar performance from any single player but consistant play from multiple players. THAT is what defines a better team. Well… that and WINNING!
    Also, I LOVED Artest’s flop when Rhondo shoved him. It was so transparantly silly. And I know, I know… Pierce is the king flopper and the C’s as a whole do their fair share of flopping (as do the Lakers… I’m looking at YOU Pau) but the visual of Big Bad Thug “I Wanna Be a Rapper” Ron Artest flopping around like that? Priceless.

  12. Juan - Jun 14, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    You’re a grade A moron. Boston thugs? Idiot.

  13. Hoops McCann - Jun 14, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    It sounds like everyone here has forgotten that all Boston has done so far is hold serve on their home court. The Lakers still have home court advantage and they are the ones that are going to be chewing broomsticks in game 6 and 7. Lakers in 7 in another epic unforgettable series.

  14. Mister Big - Jun 14, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Odum had a lot of put-backs and some excellent jump-shots for the Lakers last night. I don’t know what series you’ve been watching. I’m a Jazz fan, and I’d take Odum in a heartbeat. He only played 26 minutes but got 8 points on 4/6 shooting, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. The Lakers were +7 with him on the court. Ron Artest, on the other hand, is an idiot. If I were a Laker fan, I would cringe every time he touched the ball.

  15. Mister Big - Jun 14, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Actually, the RESULTS may be as if they had held serve, but remember, they won game 2 in LA (and obviously LA won game 3 in Boston). Both teams have shown an ability to win on the other’s court; Boston now has 2 chances to win in LA. Remember also, last night was the first time one of these teams has won 2 straight in this series. Can LA win the next 2 games? Regardless, it has been a great series to watch.

  16. Omnius - Jun 14, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Considering how well Boston shot and how poorly LA shot I’m not bothered that the Lakers lost by only 6 points in game 5. Unlike 2008 there was no 39 point blowout in Boston. Despite having good defense good offense can overcome it with hot shooting. Boston had it’s fun at home, now the series switches back to LA where the rims will be more favorable to the Lakers and unfavorable to the Celtics. While the Lakers can improve defensively, allowing 92 points isn’t really that bad either considering Boston’s shooting percentage. Don’t tweet the series is over yet Boston fans, the Fat Lady will be singing the blues for you after the Lakers win game 7!

  17. ernesto - Jun 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    I still say Lakers in 6.

  18. KobesGay - Jun 14, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Lakers are being out-coached, out-hustled and out-played. The Zen master is coaching like a Den mother, and his team plays like a bunch of girl scouts. The Celtics have even adjusted to the ridiculous fouls calls and the fact that the refs have tried to change the game at every turn with thier whistles. Even they cant help the Lakers anymore and the lakers know it now. Jacksons genius coaching moment has been to tell his team that the Celtics have lost games in the fourth quarter???? The Lakers have the team to beat the Celtics on paper, they just dont have the coach, the heart, the teamwork or the clue necessary to do it. This series is over boys, gonna be nice to watch the Celtics celebrate on LA’s floor. And Avonmonster is a gi-normous ass clown

  19. KobeGay - Jun 14, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    ernesto, thats priceless, Lakers in 6…who wants to break it to ernesto? Poor guy, probably still wet from his trip across the rio grande…ok ernesto, my mexican is not good, but I’ll try. Cinco games have been played. El Celtics in lead, tres to dos.. El Butt Pirate Lakers need to win dos games to…oh screw it, can someone just call INS and have ernesto and the other 50% of Laker fans 18-wheeled back to where they cam from please?

  20. Steven Tyler - Jun 14, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    i think he was joking. just like i think you are an idiot.

  21. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 14, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Fakers, doofus? Tough talk. Where WERE you guys IN THE PAST 24 YEARS? Your team just became RELEVANT SINCE 2008 and you talk as if you’ve been CONSISTENT CONTENDERS since ’86. Idiot. Celtics played great and props to them. But this isn’t a best of 5 series. I expect LA to rise above the adversity.

  22. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 15, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    That condescending insult of yours reflects your utter ignorance, doofus. Unless you’re pure Native American, you and your family are also immigrants — you just happen to be here much earlier than ernesto’s. Your Yankee arrogance stinks. It’s people like you who make Americans look so bad outside U.S. territory. A disgrace, really, scumbag. You ACTUALLY think you’re a better person just because you’re an American and you think he isn’t? Double idiot.

  23. Boston sports fan - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    I’m sorry, but to “Make it in L.A. you have to FAKE it in L.A.” Yes Kobe is a good basketball player and Phil Jackson has a lot of wins, but that does not mean they are winners. I am never unsure of my kids listening to Doc Rivers talk. He is the most respectable coach. I was disappointed with Phil Jackson. His distasteful and inaccurate representations of the Celtics was disheartening.I had expected more of a winning coach.
    I had to spend hours last night trying to explain to my son how the NBA allows officiating to go as it did. My 12 year old is not oblivious to the unfair officiating anymore. He sees the calls. He sees the flopping. He sees the hammering. The trickle down affect of Hollywood sports can be seen across the country on little league fields, basketball courts and more. MONEY is what wins. The NBA, the media, big business, etc., had more to gain from an L.A. win then a Boston win. MONEY needed Kobe and Phil Jackson to win.
    It is disgraceful.

  24. the truth - Jun 27, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I flat out think that the celtics had a much more tougher road in the playoffs, i mean seriously, cleveland and orlando were the top two teams in the east. I dislike phil jackson either because he should of inspired his team better, not by mocking the celtics. The celtics were considered the lowest seed to get in and people said we were run down and couldnt do it. I do not think the referee gives the home team the calls they want, you just have to play right without being a baby. Long story short, celtis were the tougher team, even though they may have looked run down and couldn’t hold it in the 4th quarter, perkins was a big loss.

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