Lakers on the edge
Well, my Lakers lost 2 out of 3 in Beantown. Now they're comin' back to LA and have to win Game 6 to force a Game 7. They are going to have to establish their inside game because right now the Celtics' excellent defensive strategy is to smother The Best Player in the Game and force the other players to beat them. It's worked to a T. Andrew got off early, Fish did also, but Pau only had 12 shots, but Ron only went 2 for 9 and the Lakers never looked able to out-wait and out-strategize the Celts in the second half. They have have to get more touches to their bigs. They need to get it in deep to Pau and Andrew early and allow them to establish their positions down low. If they do that, it will open up shooters and of course those shooters can be cutters also because obv. Pau and 'drew are both very good passers.
Of course Kobe can score, as he did, in an amazing 3rd quarter, but the Celtics are savvy and could care less if Black Mamba goes off. They're giving him the ridiculous shots that Kobe made in that third quarter, but no one else is scoring. No one else had more than 12 points. That is unacceptable. The shots Kobe was making in the third quarter of Game 5 very few others could make. DWade might get in a zone and make a series of shots like that. LeBron might, but even his consistency from that range I doubt. I don't think I've seen Paul Pierce make a series of shots that ridiculous. However, again, that is playing into the Celtics strategy. If Kobe is making spinning 27 footers and off balance 28 footers, well, the Celtics will tip their green felt hats to him and jig off to another championship. I'm not mad at Kobe for taking those shots. He's a competitor. That's what he does.
However, as Laker coach, Phil Jackson has to ensure that Pau and 'drew are established. He has to take his initiative as the coach in order to ensure that the Lakers stick to their offensive sets. When the Lakers get in "Watch Kobe" mode, their energy and focus dips and they can't afford any dips against this disciplined, veteran team. If they do that in Game 6, another banner will be hanging in the hated Gahden very soon. If the Lakers get Pau and Andrew going, it opens up lanes for cutters, it opens up shooters in the corners, and the Lakers can unleash their multi-faceted offensive options on the C's. A low-post focused offense also limits long defensive rebounds to Rondo and Pierce which lead to fast-break hoops which makes the C's almost unbeatable. Kevin Garnett has really stepped up the last couple of games. Paul Pierce was hitting his shots and Ron Ron was strangely ineffectual in Game 5. Rondo is a pest but he is only able to be a pest when the Celtics are breaking.
The Celtics D on Kobe should be a model for any scout or coach prepping to face Black Mamba. Kobe can get his, but deny everyone else. Obviously as a Laker fan, this is not a strategy I endorse, but I respect the hell out of the Celts. Lakers need to get their bigs involved very quickly or we will have to suffer through another grating Green celebration and Black Mamba may just internally combust at a season-end presser.