Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your opening match-ups in tonight's game 1 of the NBA championship series

According to the poop-wire, a leak occurred in the Lakers' pipeline and Coach Phil Jackson's initial defensive theory has been revealed. What is that theory? Here is the chart for your viewing pleasure.

Bryant will go against Rondo. Fisher against Allen. Artest against Pierce. Gasol against Perkins. Odum against Garnett. There aren't too many surprises. Something thought Bryant would be put against Pierce and Rondo would be covered by Artest. I thought Gasol would be put against Garnett. That is the most difficult match-up to believe, if it is true.

If there is any truth in this chart, then it is clear Coach Phil Jackson believes stopping Rondo and Pierce is the absolute key to victory in this series. It is not a bad theory; not bad at all.

I think there can be little doubt that Rondo is the Celtic's MVP. He has been the force driving them on this playoff run. Rondo is the consummate point guard who dribbles, collapses the zone and dishes off the ball to the open man. Smothering him is the key to the series.

Bryant is a hell of defender when he wants to be. I have seen him get pissed and shut guys down. I forget the name of the New York Knick who said he was expecting a big game because Kobe couldn't play defense. Kobe responded with a defensive eruption and said Knick scored 5 total points. One of those came on a free throw. Bryant fucked him over entirely.

With that said, I doubt he can thwart Rondo to this extent, but suppose for the sake of argument Kobe did transform into Deion Sanders tonight and utterly shut down Rondo. Imagine how that would turn out for the Celtics? Things would not go well for the Celtics. The Celtics need Rondo to perform. If you kill Rondo, the point guard distributing the ball, Pierce, Allen and Garnett will die on their own.

I would say the second most critical matchup is Pierce v. Artest. This is what we got Artest for. This is why we retained his services. We brought him into the fold because we needed a crushing defensive performer for guys like Pierce. This is it. Make no mistake where you are. This is the moment to play that defensive.

I don't like the match-up of Fisher v. Allen. That favors the Celtics. Fisher is better than anyone gives him credit for, but Allen is a real trouble-make. When he pops 5x3s, you are a in a lot of trouble. This is a trouble spot. Prepare to bring Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton off the bench quick. Sasha should be ready also.

Odum v Garnett is another surprise. I would have put Gasol against him. If this is the initial defensive strategy, this is the first stratagem I expect to see change. Odum is a tremendous player. He is the James Worthy of this team. He is incredibly talented. Garnett has a considerable size, weight, strength, speed advantage. It could work out, but I would prefer to see Gasol handle him.

Putting Gasol against Perkins may be a move designed to get Perkins suspended. One more technical foul and he faces a mandatory suspension. I believe Perkins is quite over-matched here. He just might foul out of the series. This would force Rasheed Wallace into the starting lineup, and hurt their depth.

If this chart is accurate I infer three things:
  • Jamming Rondo is the absolute key to the series
  • Hammering Pierce is the second, but but very high priority
  • Phil Jackson wants Perkins suspended as of tonight.
So who am I picking in this series? Of course the Lakers! I am an old-school Los Angeles fan: Lakers, Dodgers and Rams. No fucking Raiders, no fucking Clippers, no fucking Angels (although the Angels are cool).

That aside, I believe there are good, cold logical and factual reasons to believe it also. The Lakers are a much better team than they were in 2008, when we were embarrassed by the Celtics. Several of our dudes seem to be peaking right now. Lamar, Kobe and Pao, to specific. With the exception Rajon Rondo, the Celtics are definitely not peaking right now. Their peak is in the rear view mirror.

Mind you, I do believe this going to be a street fight, but I believe we have good reason to be confident in this series.