Thought you were done with these for the year, huh?
I’ll be the first to admit that ever since the Blazers were eliminated, I’ve been in a bit of a malaise when it comes to writing about the playoffs. I’ve sat and watched every game but I for the life of me haven’t been able to spit out a word about it. Nothing like a pair of Game 7’s to change that. David Stern faces a dream scenario/slight nightmare as the Lakers and Celtics are on the verge of elimination.
I can’t remember a series that has bothered me as much as this one. I can’t stand the Lakers (and never will) yet can’t quite bring myself to “cheer” for the Rockets. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the hell out of this Rocket bunch for perservering without Yao and T-Mac…but I can’t quite cheer for them. Everytime Scola misses a mid-range jumper I think of the 8023 he made against Portland and get mad. Or when Ron Artest gets T’s or starts acting crazy, things he conveniently forgot to do last series. I’m ranting, so I’ll stop because I sound like a baby. To win this game, Houston needs something resembling some offense to show up. The defense and the effort are going to be there, but will the scoring? Everyone is going to have to chip in, Houston doesn’t have that one guy who can carry the team. Brooks, Scola, Landry, Wafer, Battier, Lowry are all going to have to do their part. The Lakers are in more trouble than I think anyone really knows. That being said they are still in the driver’s seat. Their main focus should be presenting something that resembles championship defense, a piece of the pie they’ve lost in translation over the past year. All they have to do is defend Houston and they’ll win easy. Seriously, I’m not trying to be Captain Obvious but if the Lakers focus everything on defending the Rockets they will win. Houston doesn’t have a ton of firepower. You get Brooks, Artest or Scola struggling and the Rockets are toast. You know what Pau, Odom and co. can do offensively, but if they don’t defend and put some doubt in Houston’s minds it won’t matter. Because Chuck Hayes and guard Pau, Artest can guard Odom and Battier can guard Kobe. LA only needs is one break and it’s over. If Battier or Chuck Hayes gets in foul trouble early….whole new ballgame.
Let’s not forget this though people…Kobe Bryant does not have a sterling record in elimination games. I got this idea from JA Adande’s piece on Kobe and Phil’s legacy and it is pretty true. Kobe needs a big game here to shake that label off. Sidenote….Anyone else remember last time the Lakers were “destined” to go to the Finals and faced the Rockets?
I would love to see Sasha Vujacic playing the Michael Cooper role in this video. Make it happen.
For the C’s they are going as far as Rondo, Pierce and Allen take them. If Ray Allen’s knees had made the trip to Orlando for Game 6 this series would have been over. I’d almost guarantee he doesn’t go 0-for-7 from behind the arc. What intrigues me is what Rondo does in this game. In Game 6, Orlando decided to stop guarding Rondo. Seriously SVG basically said ‘Whatever, dog’ and his man just went and doubled Pierce repeatedly. How he handles that in Game 7 is key. Also key for Boston…attacking the basket. Orlando is a jump-shooting team and you’re really doing them favors by settling and shooting jumpers with them. When Boston has attacked the basket, good things have generally gone their way. Orlando has got to hope that Rashard Lewis becomes the $17-milllion dollar man and not the Virgil to Stan Van Gundy’s Ted DiBiase. They also need Hedo Turkoglu to show up early and often. I’m not trying to jump on the bash Dwight Howard express, but it’s not like they can pencil him in for 20-20. He could do anything today. And even with his 20-20 performance, the Magic still should have lost that game. What concerns me about Orlando is how they will handle this situation. I remember watching Game 6 and during a timeout Stan Van Gundy was saying “EVERY SHOT FROM HERE ON OUT HAS TO BE A GOOD SHOT, NO WASTED POSSESSIONS” or something like that and in the back of my head I was like….way to put more pressure on your team. He gets tight and this team could very likely get tight. Or have to depend on Rafer Alston to make good decisions in a Game 7. Ask Houston fans how well that tends to go.
Gotta go with the C’s here.
Tags: Aaron Brooks Boston Celtics Chuck Hayes Doc Rivers Dwight Howard Game 7 Celtics Magic Game 7 Rockets Lakers Hedo Turkoglu Houston Rockets Kobe Bryant Lamar Odom Los Angeles Lakers Nba Playoffs Nba Playoffs Game 7 Orlando Magic Pau Gasol Paul Pierce Phil Jackson Rafer Alston Rajon Rondo Rashard Lewis Ray Allen Ron Artest Sasha Vujacic Shane Battier Stan Van Gundy