Rosen’s Report: Lakers at Boston

With a dismal record of 3-9 away from the friendly hullabaloo at the Staples Center, the Lakers are certainly not road warriors.  And since it’s highly unlikely that they’ll have the home court advantage throughout the playoffs, for their own confidence and world-peace of mind they desperately need to beat the Celtics where the leprechauns dwell.

On the opposite side of the equation, the Celtics are beginning to get their collective mojo working.  And Boston’s corps of senior citizens — Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen — will certainly be rejuvenated with the return to action of Rajon Rondo.

HOW THE LAKERS CAN WIN:  The Andrew Bynum-Jermaine O’Neal matchup is a lopsided one, requiring Boston to routinely two-time LAL’s newest All-Star.  Although Bynum doesn’t move his feet well in a crowd, his passing out of the double-team has shown dramatic improvement — especially in finding Pau Gasol.

  • Operating against Boston’s sub par frontline, Bynum and Gasol should tally a stat sheet full of put-backs and offensive rebounds.
  • While Bynum is an excellent shot-blocker, he must also avoid turning his head when playing weak-side defense.
  • Kobe Bryant has lost a half-step but is still a high-volume scorer.  He’s gotten used to being doubled and is willingly (and mostly accurately) making slick attack-passes.
  • Too infrequently, Kobe will pass when under double-pressure, cut through the middle, then use a weak-side screen to come back to the middle to receive the ball.  This kind of movement confuses the defense, creates disadvantageous defensive switches, and/or fatally delays any possible re-doubles.  More of this tactic is needed.
  • When Kobe isos along the baseline, he can usually find an open shot by spinning away from any attempts to double him from the top — particularly early in the shot clock.  The risk, though, is that if he can’t find a good look, his passing options are seriously compromised.
  • For much of the game, Kobe will be defended by Ray Allen, certainly a worthy opponent, yet too old and too slow to do an adequate job.
  • In the second half of LA’s most recent game — a loss in Philadelphia — Gasol had zero touches in the low-post.  Even though KG is a scrappy defender, Gasol must get more opportunities to exercise his considerable pivotal skills.
  • Although Rondo can run rings around Derek Fisher, the Lakers wizened veteran will take advantage of the youngster’s sometimes wild enthusiasm to be in position to receive judicious passes and knock down clutch treys.
  • Because Rondo seems more reluctant than ever to shoot jumpers, he can be defended from a distance to discourage his penetrations into the paint.
  • Metta World Peace has to play exceptional bump-and-slide defense against Pierce.
  • It’s imperative that the Lakers get substantial contributions from their bench players.  Of these, only Andrew Goudelock has a well-developed offensive game.  Too bad the rookie is another example of a shooting guard in a point guard’s body, making the second-unit effectively headless.
  • With Rondo’s swift ambushing of passing lanes, the Lakers have to take better care of the ball than is their wont.
  • To slow down Rondo’s one-man fastbreaks, hustling defensive transitions are a must.

HOW THE CELTICS CAN WIN:  Since Kobe is nearly the entire focus of LAL’s offense, special measures must be taken to control him.  Doubling him whenever possible is the primary anti-Kobe strategy.  And Allen’s slow but pesky defense can be complimented by the more quick-footed and aggressive efforts of Mickael Pietrus. 

  • Moreover, since Kobe has passed his 33rd birthday, he’s driving less and relying more on pull-ups.  Accordingly, defenders should play him chest-to-chest, thereby forcing him to take his dribble into rush-hour traffic — where his shots have become increasingly blockable.
  • PP must abuse MWP with from-the-top isos.
  • Because Gasol is taller and even longer than KG, scoring in the low-post will be difficult.  That’s why the Big Ticket’s mid- and long-range jumpers must be on-target.
  • Rondo’s warp-speed advantage must blister both Fisher and the inexperienced Goudelock.  By repeatedly zipping into the paint, Rondo will draw the undivided attention of LA’s bigs making kick-out and drop-passes extremely successful.
  • Whereas Allen cannot mount as many serious attacks with his dribble as he used to, and his long-distance dialing is much more erratic, he remains a dangerous if streaky shooter.  His perpetual off-the-ball scampering will undoubtedly create open shots, and he must warm up when the game gets hot.
  • Pietrus and Brandon Bass (if he’s healthy) have to overwhelm the shaky defense of LA’s subs.
  • Since the Celts lack any menacing shot-blockers, their defensive rotations have to be swift and precise.  Unfortunately, both Allen and Garnett tend to be head-turners when playing off the ball.  Plus, their rotations often leave the middle open for dive cuts.
  • Too many miles on too many legs often leave corner shooters unguarded when the Celtics defenders have to collapse on ball-penetration.  Fortunately, with only a .294 success rate, the Lakers are the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA.
  • And with MWP being an honorary member of the bricklayers’ union, he simply does not have to be guarded on the perimeter.
  • Bynum scores most of his point on dunk-backs and drop passes from his teammates—so whoever’s defending him must maintain body contact at all times.
  • Bynum’s effectiveness with the ball in the low-post can be nullified by doubling him in anticipation of his habitual reverse-moves.
  • On offense, Boston’s trademark is terrific ball- and player-movement as well as admirable unselfishness.

FIVIE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Halftime is crucial because that’s when coaching staffs make necessary adjustments.  These adjustments (or lack thereof) will be clearly manifest during the initial five minutes of the third quarter.  Which team, then, will dominate that stretch?
  2.  Part of Boston’s halfcourt offense is the effectiveness of their dive cutters.  Will LA’s defenders be able to clog the weak-side to prevent easy receptions and easy scores?
  3. The Celtics have often struggled when operating against zone defenses.  Will the Lakers take advantage of this shortcoming?
  4. Because Boston is the best beyond-the-pale shooting team in the league (.422), their perimeter players will be routinely tagged.  Can the Celtics take advantage of this stretched defense with in-the-post scoring by PP, KG, Bass, or whomever?
  5. The Lakers score only 93.16 points per game (19th in the ranking), with Boston ranking 25th at 90.65 ppg.  This means that defense-generated runouts and early offense will spell the difference.  Who will win the battle of points-off-turnovers?

29 Comments

  1. c0achdesigns says:

    WECOME BACK STEVE BLAKE. AND OF COURSE MATT BARNES – WHO LARGELY CONTRIBUTED FOR THE BIG 3 TODAY..
    LET’S GO WIN IT ALL THIS SEASON LAKERS!

    JEREMY LIN, YOUR NEXT

  2. Ronald says:

    Lakers won the game.

  3. KOBE/STEPHEN says:

    i like this match…

  4. LakerforLife says:

    what will be the final score. im sure that this will be part of the history of LAKERS-BOSTON rivalry….
    The momentum is in BOSTON, but this is a must win game for L.A……

  5. Dylan says:

    My oh My… I am definitely watching this game.
    It seems like it will be a shootout between The Truth and The Black Mamba.
    Just to let all the Lakers haters who think they don’t even have a chance at the playoffs,
    remember you are talking about a team who has 2 ASG starters, versus a team who has none.
    Kobe leading the league in scoring, and Bynum averaging a triple-double. I’m not saying that the Celtics don’t stand a chance, but it’s just that the Celtics are too old to play this games now. After this season, GM better start clearing out the roster and making a new one (obviously keeping Rondo), because the Big Three are getting too old.

  6. The Truth says:

    The Celtic don’t need to double DH when Jermine is covering him so they definitely don’t need to double AB, Kobe don’t trust his team again that’s he’s averaging this high the C’s will win cause they are better and deeper this season plus they got their legs under them again…

  7. SPARTAN says:

    I usually support west teams(i’m a spurs fun) but when celtics play against lakers i always support celtics because i think bryant is a dirty,arrogant player. And of course i hate pau gasol (as well as all spanish players maybe except for jose calderon)

  8. lakerboy says:

    yo charles you funny boy

  9. Lakers4Life says:

    Boston v.s Lakers i love it man, two REAL Championship teams going at it is what its all about. Bynum needs to dominate the paint cuz O neal aint got nothing but a big body, lakers need these two back to back road games, and regards to that paul pierce being better than kobe statement…..Keep Dreaming

  10. beantown says:

    trade talk going on between these two Heavyweights. Rondo to L.A. For Pau gasol. LOL… dont you dare do it danny. Keep this the way it is with its current roster we will make some noise in the playoffs. OH yeah for the game C’s by 10 pts

    • Lakers4Life says:

      Its gonna be a “bar fight” but in this bar fight; lakers are more sober than celtics, so you know the outcome. lol lets go lakers

  11. dmoney says:

    celtics world calm down on the pau gasol hate hes joining the celtics soon

  12. Kenneth says:

    If Rondo’s aggressive, Boston will win.
    If the Big Three’s shooting well, Boston will win.
    If the Celtics bench scores more than 20 points, Boston will win.

  13. charles says:

    Paul Pierce is a better player than Kobe Bryant.

  14. kupalnaputi says:

    non sense report… what a laker fan

  15. nando33 says:

    let’ts go CELTICS,
    SALUTE from Montevideo, Uruguay!!

  16. C'mon says:

    Who doesnt love a good Lakers vs Celtics game. Can’t wait to watch Leggo Celtics! take us home

  17. Dan says:

    No words about Bradley?
    A bench player can be the one who decides this game…

  18. Of the games being played today, this is clearly the game of the day (http://randomnbafan.com/02/09/2012/nba-game-of-the-day-los-angeles-lakers-at-boston-celtics/).

    The renewal of the rivalry between the two most storied franchises in the NBA along with the recent scoring milestones achieved by Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce makes this a must-see game for NBA fans. Although both teams have had their struggles early this season, neither of them is out of the playoff hunt.

    Led by their experienced veterans, both the Lakers and Celtics are likely to make the playoffs. How far they might go is another question totally. I will just say this, don’t expect this game to be some sort of preview to the 2012 NBA Finals.

  19. prix says:

    Boston and L.A are 2 elite teams turn out to be a disgrace this season..they can hardly make it to the playoffs and if they did they will not out together in the 1st round and continue their rivalry in the beach for early vacation. Kobe will end up cheering for Blake and tweeting Lebron about it. KG and Pierce will think of retiring and make the TNT team with Charles. Pau will end up dancing with the stars with his soft body surely he have a chance. pls. bring back Magic-Bird era, today Lakers-Celtics are too boring to watch.

    • Lakers4Life says:

      im sorry is it mid april yet???

    • Cons says:

      purely non-sense… nice name though. sounds like the plural of prick.

    • Peter says:

      Obviously you are a stat sheet person who only looks are ranks and overall records. Open your eyes and look beyind the pure win record and you will see that Boston have one about 10 of their last 11 games. They have actually actually have had the best win record in the NBA over that stretch, and about 80% of those wins came without Rondo.

      In that time KG has been playing great, Pierce has been a beast (player of the week), Ray Allen is shooting the lights out, and the team has had the best defense in the NBA.

      • Peter says:

        Correction, Boston have actually won 9 out of their last 10 games, with an average margin of victory of 12 PPG.