June 10, 2010

Four Keys to a Lakers Win in Game 4


The Los Angeles Lakers are up 2-1 against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals and at this point, nobody is sure how that lead will hold up after Game 4. Both teams have had their hot and cold moments, plus the officiating has been spotty.

If the Lakers are to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, here are four keys that I think are important factors to help them claim Game 4:
  • Lamar Odom - Derek Fisher was big in Game 3, but it was the steady play of Lamar Odom that silently buoyed the team in key moments. Prior to that game, Odom was plagued by foul trouble and had limited minutes. If he can stay in the game, Odom will be able to crash the boards and
  • Interior defense - Kevin Garnett scoring 25 in Game 3? That was unthinkable at the start of the series, but Pau Gasol struggled to limit Garnett offensively. Rajon Rondo also made a handful of slashes in the lane without much trouble. This puts the onus on the Lakers bigs to put up a tough "D" like the Game 2 loss.
  • Bench play - With the exception of the third game, the Lakers bench play resulted in a negative +/- stat. Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic need to produce better whenever they are on the floor, especially with how the fouls are being called in the series. In the second game, Kobe Bryant was hampered with three fouls early and that meant extended minutes for the bench.
  • Shot selection - Here's one trend you'll rarely see mentioned: The team that shot better from the field in the first three games won the game. This means that offensive execution and shot selection is vital in the series. Both the Lakers and the Celtics are capable of playing lockdown defense and each must solve the defensive problems presented by their opponent.
No one is sure what type of Game 4 will be, but the Lakers can win it if they will address the factors I've mentioned.

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