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Boxscore Breakdown: Finals Rematch, Vol. II

Posted by Neil Paine on February 6, 2009

We were hyping it earlier this week, and Thursday night we finally got to see Boston take on Los Angeles and try to avenge their Christmas Day defeat at the Lakers' hands. Could the Celtics pull it off at home, against an L.A. team that sorely missed Andrew Bynum but also boasted the game's most dangerous pure scoring machine?

Well, not quite, though it was close:

4 Factors  Pts Poss eFG% TOr  OR%  FTr  ORtg
----------+---+----+----+----+----+----+-----
LA Lakers  110  100 52.8 11.0 25.5 19.3 110.3
Boston     109  100 49.5 16.0 28.6 18.3 109.3
----------+---+----+----+----+----+----+-----
Player           Tm   Pos  Min Poss PProd ORtg  %Pos DRtg Floor% Stops Stop%
----------------+----+---+----+----+----+------+----+----+------+-----+------
Luke Walton      LAL  SF   33   6.5  5.7  87.0  10.5 110.2 0.361   6.0 0.479
Lamar Odom       LAL  PF   35  14.0 19.5 139.1  21.3 108.5 0.680   6.8 0.518
Pau Gasol        LAL  PF   46  19.1 25.4 132.7  22.1 110.1 0.664   8.4 0.482
Kobe Bryant      LAL  SG   45  28.7 26.3  91.5  33.9 107.8 0.401   9.1 0.535
Derek Fisher     LAL  PG   41  12.4 13.9 111.9  16.1 110.1 0.520   7.5 0.483
Josh Powell      LAL  PF   22   4.1  5.3 129.6   9.8 114.3 0.642   3.2 0.385
Trevor Ariza     LAL  SF   11   4.2  1.7  41.6  20.2 101.9 0.208   2.8 0.670
Jordan Farmar    LAL  PG   12   2.5  4.8 194.5  11.0 103.4 0.839   2.9 0.636
Sasha Vujacic    LAL  SG   17   5.2  4.8  91.7  16.4 110.4 0.342   3.0 0.476
Chris Mihm       LAL  C     2   0.5  0.9 200.0  12.3 119.6 1.000   0.2 0.265
----------------+----+---+----+----+----+------+----+----+------+-----+------
Paul Pierce      BOS  SF   45  20.7 21.0 101.2  24.5 110.1 0.477   8.2 0.487
Kevin Garnett    BOS  PF   33  14.2 13.9  98.3  22.8 106.0 0.473   7.2 0.584
Kendrick Perkins BOS  C    35   3.5  4.7 134.6   5.3 103.8 0.605   8.4 0.634
Ray Allen        BOS  SG   47  19.5 18.9  97.2  22.0 116.9 0.418   5.8 0.327
Rajon Rondo      BOS  PG   37  18.4 21.5 116.6  26.5 112.1 0.552   6.1 0.441
Glen Davis       BOS  PF   22   7.3  2.9  40.4  17.6 117.1 0.195   2.7 0.323
Tony Allen       BOS  SG   11   2.7  2.7 101.0  13.1 104.5 0.488   2.6 0.618
Eddie House      BOS  SG   20   7.0 11.1 158.0  18.7 111.0 0.606   3.5 0.465
Leon Powe        BOS  PF   16   6.9  9.3 134.5  22.9 113.7 0.654   2.4 0.403
----------------+----+---+----+----+----+------+----+----+------+-----+------

Before a game, I like to perform a rough calculation to determine what kind of efficiency level we can expect out of each team: tonight, using each team's ORtg/DRtg and the league average, going into the game we would have expected the Lakers to score (115.2 / 108.3) * 100.9 = 107.3 pts/100 possessions, and the Celtics (111.7 / 108.3) * 105.9 = 109.2 pts/100. So while each team was held under their seasonal offensive averages, this was actually a relatively good offensive showing by both Boston and (especially) L.A. In fact, by going for an eFG% of 52.8, the Lakers enjoyed one of the better shooting nights any opponent has had against the C's this season.

How did they do it? Well, it wasn't for the reason you might think, given the events that transpired earlier this week. As you can see above, Kobe Bryant was largely stifled by the Celtics -- he scored 26, but he had to play 45 minutes and take 31 true shooting attempts to do it (he also shot a putrid .286 on 2-pointers). But while Boston was holding Kobe to a 91.5 ORtg, they allowed Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom (who had been mired in a slump recently) to go wild for an offensive rating of 135.4 on a full 1/3 of the Lakers' total possessions, combining to create 45 of L.A.'s 110 points. Plus, Derek Fisher, Josh Powell, & Jordan Farmar were also able to make meaningful contributions in supporting roles. This was a game where the Lakers' superior depth really shined -- when they're at their best, L.A. has a deeper stable of weapons than any other team in the NBA.

Meanwhile, Bryant was very active on defense for Los Angeles (22.4 DR%, 3.1 Blk%, 1.2 Stl%), and Boston's Big Three were held to a super-low 99.0 combined ORtg (on 54.5% of the Celtics' total possessions, no less). To be honest, if Rajon Rondo (116.6 ORtg on 26.5 %Poss), Eddie House (158.0/18.7), and Leon Powe (134.5/22.9) don't come up some nice offensive performances, there's no way Boston even forces OT in this game.

Boston did in fact receive said big contributions from Rondo, House, & Powe, but Pierce & Garnett were hounded into 9 turnovers, and with Garnett fouling out in overtime, the likes of Glen Davis had to resort to jacking up ill-fated midrange J's. In the end, all the Celtics could muster on the game's final possession was a contested 3-pointer from Ray Allen that never even drew rim. Needless to say, L.A. definitely tightened up their defensive effort down the stretch.

And so it was that the Lakers swept the season series against the defending World Champs -- a pair of wins that were decided in the game's final minutes, sparked each time by some critical defensive stops. And they didn't even need a very good offensive game from Kobe, either. The Lakers will immediately face another staunch test on Sunday in Cleveland, but for now they should enjoy their performance Thursday night. And since we're all busy reliving last year's Finals, let's dig up a quote from last spring: "Imagine how good they'll be with a healthy Bynum!" I wonder if this is the year that phrase actually pans out.

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2 Responses to “Boxscore Breakdown: Finals Rematch, Vol. II”

  1. steve norris Says:

    the lakers are the best team, only if bynum is there. if he comes back aand plays the way he did for all of next year, he will be an all star and the lakers will win 70 games

  2. leblowjob Says:

    So is it a fair assessment to say that the Celtics focused on defending Kobe Bryant too much and that their lack of attention to the other Lakers players may have cost them the game?