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Friday, December 19, 2008

Lakers lost to the Heat was a coaching mistake

How can the Lakers with two 7-footers and a 6'8" forward in its starting frontcourt lose to a Miami Heat team featuring a 6'9" center and forwards barely reaching 6'8" in height in its starting lineup? The Lakers bigs should have dominated their undersized counterparts and scored 100 points, right? Wrong! Here's what happened:

  • 7' Andrew Bynum had 4 points and 4 fouls with only 6 rebounds in 27 minutes

  • 7' Pau Gasol only took 10 shots and made 5 with 3-6 free throws for 13 points (although he had 11 rebounds)

  • 6'8" Luke Walton was a non-factor with 2 points on 1-4 shooting

  • 6'10" Lamar Odom took 6 shots and made 1 and 1-4 free throws for 3 points with 4 rebounds

  • 6'8" Trevor Ariza had 7 points on 3-5 shooting

Their total score? Twenty-nine! Just 1 more than Kobe Bryant's 28 points but less than the 30 points their 'undersized' counterparts in the Miami heat roster scored.
  • 6'7" Marion had 12 points and matched the 7' Gasol's total boards at 11

  • 6'9" Anthony had 8 rebounds 3 steals and 2 blocked shots

  • 6'8" Haslem also had 3 steals and 2 blocks

  • 6'10" Beasly and 6'11" Magloire had limited minutes but still scored 6 and 2 points respectively

The result: Miami 89, LA Lakers 87. And everybody blames Kobe for not hitting the game-tying shot and their team's lack of defense. It's not their defense folks! It's their offense! They were able to limit their opponent to 89 points but at the same time, they we're held to 87 points--season lowest for the team that just 2 weeks ago, was being regarded as the offensive juggernaut in the NBA.

How can Phil Jackson let this happen? They lost on a night Kobe Bryant is having a fairly solid game and wasn't struggling on his shots. He made 12-24 shots and scored his usual 28 points (although he had 5 turnovers). I really believe it's about time that Phil revamp his starting lineup. He should put Odom back to their starting unit and have Bynum come off the bench.

Here are some additional arguments for my recommended starting unit of Fisher-Bryant-Ariza-Odom-Gasol:
  • Bynum takes away scoring opportunities for Gasol early in the game. He only took 10 shots in a game where his defender is much smaller. He should have been the leading scorer in this game if he was given more opportunities

  • Bynum is slower than Odom in providing help defense. Notice how Dwyane Wade keeps on attacking the basket and Bynum can't cover him when he get past his primary defender

  • Odom plays well when he starts the game as evident in the Lakers game against the Knicks just 2 days ago. And he plays a lot better with Gasol as his frontcourt partner (see his performance last year)

I really hope that Jackson considers this line up.

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Christopher Blake said...

Good analysis...maybe Phil will...nahhhh...I don't think Phil really listens to anyone...big part of the problem...

The IT Manager said...

You're right Christopher. Coach Phil is part of their problem. He's too strategic! I don't understand why he refuses to make some tactical moves like adjusting to smaller lineup of Miami and go small also instead of insisting on putting two 7-footers on the floor that makes them slower and, as a result, made your team's second best player (Gasol) look like an average player.

Maybe he's too focused on preparing the team for their game this Christmas. I hope he wouldn't lose his mind if, or should I say when, Boston beats them next week!