Orlando Game 1 thoughts
That one was all about their poor shooting. Some of it can be attributed to our defense, which was superb, but a lot of it was just random chance. And we did some things on offense that are not likely sustainable. A great win, yes, but there is a good deal of fool's gold here.
* Both teams are just rolling on offense early. So much for the defenses being ahead after a layoff.
* 4 minutes in and Bynum has 6 and 3 in a 10-9 game, just the kind of start we were looking for from him.
* Pau picked up a bad 1st foul, on a rebound well away from the ball. Can't afford to waste those.
* Bynum picks up his 2nd at 3:14, but they were both decent fouls and he stuck around almost 9 minutes, nice work.
* Playing with one foul, they have put Howard on Odom. We can't let them get away with that, Lamar has to drive.
* Howard picks up his 2nd, an offensive foul for displacing Pau, at the 2:23 mark.
* Orlando leads 24-22 at the quarter. They shot 8 free throws to our 2, leading to a +5 at the line. But we held them to one made 3, not making any ourselves to give them a +3 there. Kobe too too many shots, finishing the quarter 3/9 for 6 points.
* Nelson starts the quarter, so the last version of the ever-changing version of the "will he play?" story from Thursday turns out to be the correct one. Starting him against Farmar and the bench unit seems to be a good way to ease him back in. (They would not ease him back in, he would ultimately play the whole quarter and put up 4 and 4, disappearing after a big start).
* Pau looks really shaky with the ball tonight, always a threat to mishandle or get stripped.
* Nelson is having an effect; he seems hesitant to shoot the ball from very far out but is abusing Farmar with penetration and assists. 33-28 Orlando.
* The Lakers were posting Lee with Kobe earlier, and now they did it with Luke on back to back possessions and then Kobe when he checked back in to get three scores and retake the lead at 34-33. We're going to force them to give him help, significant because he is the only guy they have who can guard Kobe a bit.
* Kobe hit's two midrange jumpers to extend the run to 10-0 and give the Lakers a 38-33 lead. They are running pick and roll and Howard is laying back, giving Kobe the J. While he is taking a lot of shots this is not Kobeball; these are not long twos and are not very (if at all) contested, much less double teamed.
* Bynum is hit with his 3rd at 4:21, a shame since he had just gotten hammered with no call on the other end.
* Fish is 3/4 for 7 points; 41-34.
* Pau picks up his 2nd, on Howard at 3:48.
The Lakers have a 32-16 edge in the paint and lead 47-39, more evidence that this is not Kobeball.
* Is Ariza in the arena? Joking, he is actually doing a nice job on Hedo now after getting whipped early, but it seems like he hasn't even touched the ball on offense. Orlando is cognizant of his 3's, that's for sure.
* Fish hits his second inbounds layup off the game to make it 51-41, nice work by the coaches who obviously saw something on film. He's also playing nice defense, slowing Nelson after the good start although Jameer may be tired as well. Not sure why Stan still has him out there after 4 months off.
* 53-43 at the half. Orlando has a 14-2 free throw advantage (+10 points), I'm sure the internet is buzzing about how the officials are keeping them in the game. Orlando is 3-1 (+6 points) in made 3's. Kobe has 18 on 18 shots but 6 assists and not many of the shots are really bad ones, as I've noted. The Lakers have outshot them 52%-36%, lead the rebounding battle 24-17, and are outscoring them 38-18 in the paint. Everything is flowing from us shooting inside and them shooting outside; I often say that NBA games are own in the paint, and so far that's definitely true in this one.
* Bynum picks up his 4th foul at 9:48, an early appearance for Lamar this quarter.
* Now Odom gets his 3rd at 9:32, we need to be careful with the front line fouls. We can steal a minute or two here or there with Mbenga or Powell, but playing them (especially DJ) very long is a recipe for disaster.
* The Earvins have hit two 3's this quarter, are now 5/14, and have cut it to 59-50 after the Lakers got off to a good start.
* Tit for tat, as Lewis picks up his third at 7:55. Battie is a solid defensive option, but we can double Howard off him so Lewis is a key player for them in this matchup.
* Kobe's and-1 gives him 27 and puts the Lakers up 64-50.
* Pau draws Howard's 3rd foul at 6:31, the second offensive foul he's taken on Dwight, but has to endure a solid elbow to the ribs for his trouble. Easy for me to say it was worth it!
* Lamar with an and-1, he misses the freebie but stretches the lead to 66-50.
* Pau slips a screen for a layup, 68-50, timeout Magic! Kobe is just screen rolling Pietrus to death, and making good decisions with the ball in doing so. Hard to imagine any of this even two years ago, maybe even last year, he's growing before our eyes at age 30.
* Anothe Kobe and-1 gives him 34 (16 in the quarter) and makes the lead 75-52. It's a 47-19 run since the early 2nd, and that will get it done.
* Ariza hits a 3, 80-55.
* Brown comes in for Fish instead of Farmar, probably a reaction to Farmar's poor play in the 2nd. Phil continues the "hot hand" method of PG rotation.
* 82-58 at the end of 3. We somehow shot more FT than them in the quarter, 9-6 but they still have a 20-11 advantage for the game. They have a 6-2 advantage in made 3's, but 2's...not so much.
* Nevermind the hot hand theory for tonight after all, Farmar is starting the 4th paired with Brown.
* The Lakers have a dominating 50-20 edge in points in the paint, given that it's no surprise that they lead 85-60.
* Lamar with an and-1, biggest lead at 88-60.
* The Earvins are shooting 30% to the Lakers 47% with 5:13 to go, 89-65. Make that 29% with another miss.
* Do we really need the "We want tacos" chant in a Finals game? LA, you're better than that.
* Powell tops off the game with a 3 he had to shoot to avoid a shot clock violation, and he drains it. That's his first three point attempt this year, and he was 0/3 for his career. 100-75 final.
Orlando ended with a 29-18 free throw edge, and +6 points.
And a 8 (of 25) to 3 (of 9) edge from distance, +15 points.
LA outrebounds them 55-41, and outscores them 56-22 in the paint, but Orlando wins the battle of the benches 29-23 (some of that garbage time).
LA outscores them 4-0 in fast break points. That 0 is huge, getting out in transition for spotup 3's and deep Howard position for dunks is a big part of their game that we just completely shut down.
Kobe ended up with 40 but used 37 shots and 38 total possessions (only 1 turnover!) to get them, 1.05 points per possession. Notably, the rest of the team put up 1.25 points per possession, much of it off Kobe passing. The lesson being that the shooting can be fool's gold, but if he's making good decisions the offense will roll anyway.
Bynum's 9 on 10 shots with 9 boards in 22 minutes doesn't jump out at you, but he was a factor making Howard work for everything he got (or didn't get, mostly, he had only 12 points and 1 made FG in 6 tries).
Odom's 14 boards were vital.
Fish was 4/6, and one of his misses was when Alston grabbed his arm to try to take an intentional foul. And good defense, as evidenced by his +22 in 32 minutes, Alston's 2/9 and Nelson's 3/9 overall. Maybe he's coming out of his slump, and the rest had to help.
Luke was solid with 4/5 for 9 points and a pair of assists.
Sasha only got 5 minutes, he's on the fringe of the rotation at this point.
Looking ahead to Game 2, you expect Orlando to start blitzing the pick and roll and generally start doubling Kobe more to make others beat them. We need to be ready to make quick passes to find open shooters and to run the triangle more as a counter to their counter. More running the offense through Pau fits with this theme.
You also expect them to pound the ball in to Howard more, trying to get us in scramble mode off his passes and their swinging the ball. And make more shots, opening things up for him some. We need to continue to mix up our looks on him, and use care in deciding who to leave for any doubles. Pressuring them into getting into their offense slower is also helpful here.
This is the key game. Win it and they are in trouble, needing to win 4 of 5 to win a title. Lose it and they are in a position to come back to LA up 3-2. Both teams can win on the road in this matchup, but that doesn't mean that splitting your home games is a good way to proceed. Keep up the intensity and execution and let's put them on their heels.