Tag Archives: Derek Fisher

Rondo the key as the NBA Finals finally get underway Thursday

Rondo presents a host of matchup problems for the favored Lakers. (Pic via Zimbio.com)

The 2010 NBA Finals are finally here.  Let’s hope the Celtics and Lakers engage in a hard-fought, well-played series that produces compelling subplots.  Anything to overshadow the increasingly annoying NBA free agent speculation.

The Lakers are the prohibitive favorites thanks to a spry Kobe Bryant, an assertive Pau Gasol, and a cast of capable role players.  But the Celtics are peaking at the right time, thanks to a surprising bench and balanced scoring.

Make no mistake, the Celtics have a chance to win the NBA championship if Rajon Rondo is able to his thing.

Rondo’s unique game presents a host of problems for the Lakers.  Unlike Steve Nash, who is much more comfortable shooting jumpers off the pick and roll, Rondo seeks the paint and doesn’t stop until he gets near the basket.

Rondo struggles against bigger guards, but has his way against players his size.  Derek Fisher has physicality, but lacks the quickness to stay with Rondo.  Fisher’s efforts on the defensive end are admirable, but not overly effective, regardless of what the analysts say.

Ron Artest matches up perfectly with Paul Pierce, who isn’t quick enough or big enough to be able to work comfortably against the Lakers.  Ray Allen will most likely be shadowed by Kobe Bryant.  Kevin Garnett looked done by the end of the Orlando series and will face a huge challenge against Pau Gasol.

The pressure is on Rondo to control the game from start to finish.

Rondo tends to play at his best when the stakes are high.  He is capable of baffling opponents and quietly producing triple-double.  His big fingerprints needs to be all over the game for the Celtics to have a chance.

Much more NBA finals coverage coming throughout the night here on ToTheTin.

Defenseless: Adjustments the Suns need to make in Game 3

Amar'e has been at the center of the Suns' defensive shortcomings against the Lakers. (Cal Sports Media/Pic via everyjoe.com)

Throughout the broadcast of Game 2 between the Lakers and Suns Thursday night, TNT analysts Charles Barkley kept hammering home a simple point: the Suns are simply too small to beat the Lakers. Citing Steve Nash’s comments, Barkley astutely pointed out that the Suns probably aren’t going to get taller during the series.

We hear you, Chuck.

Even though the Suns aren’t going to get any bigger, it’s very obvious that they could (and should) do a few things differently in Game 3 Sunday.

The Suns need to play with more effort and more intelligence on the defensive end.

Pau Gasol is absolutely abusing Amar’e Stoudemire, who hasn’t gotten in a defensive stance during his entire NBA career. Gasol is a tough cover for anyone; he has incredible footwork and a wide-array of post moves. But he had at least six layups/dunks during Game 2 thanks to bad rotations by the Suns and horrible pick and roll defense by Amar’e.

At some point, it has to become a matter of pride. Amar’e believes in himself and his ability to dominate on the offensive end. The Suns need to make a better effort to get him the ball and see what he can do. Even if Amar’e doesn’t hit shots, he needs to at least make Gasol and Lamar Odom work on the defensive end.

If Amar’e isn’t aggressive offensively, he might as well be on the bench. He brings no value to the Suns.

A little more effort from Amar’e could limit Gasol to around 20 points. That would be enough to give the Suns a pretty decent chance, especially at home.

Aside from Stoudemire’s struggles, Alvin Gentry’s strategy to double-team Kobe in Game 2 clearly backfired. Kobe looked comfortable from the opening tip, finishing with 21 points and a playoff career-high 13 assists.

When the Suns doubled, they left the wrong people open. Ron Artest is capable of hitting standstill corner 3’s. Derek Fisher has made a career out of it.

The Lakers are simply too good to double team Kobe. Just play him straight up with Grant Hill or Jared Dudley, make him work, and hope that he slowly starts to lose his burst as the series drags on.

How long with series last? The prevailing sentiment after Game 2 is that the Suns have no chance. But the Suns aren’t going to stop scoring–the Lakers probably won’t get 120 again in Game 3. Role players tend to play better at home–meaning Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar are unlikely to replicate their strong numbers in the first two games.

How often does a road team score 107 and 112 points on the road and lose? Frankly, it shouldn’t happen.

Time to man up, Phoenix.

Lakers overwhelm sluggish Magic in Game 5 to capture 15th title

Strong performances from Gasol and Ariza in Game 5 helped Kobe win his first title as the main man.

Strong performances from Gasol and Ariza in Game 5 helped Kobe win his first title as the main man.

Kobe Bryant got plenty of help from his teammates throughout the finals as he continued his quest to win a title sans Shaq. Another balanced effort by the supporting cast Sunday night helped Kobe and the Lakers win the NBA Championship with a 99-86 win over Orlando in Game 5.

Kobe was named MVP after averaging 32.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 7.4 apg in the finals. His control and leadership in the series boosted his already-impressive resume.

Meanwhile, the Magic wilted after a strong start. Trevor Ariza keyed a 16-0 run midway through the second quarter that catapulted the Lakers into the lead. Lamar Odom’s back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter pushed the Laker lead to 11 and put the game out of reach.

Dwight Howard showed no signs of the ferocious play he displayed in Game 4. Ariza dominated Hedo Turkgolu, who scored a quiet 12 points in what could end up being his last game with the Magic. Rafer Alston, also perhaps playing his final game with the team, responded to increased playing time by launching shots at every opportunity. Jameer Nelson was even more aggressive; the duo shot a combined 7-22.

Stan Van Gundy had to be disappointed in his team, which played with almost no energy or intelligence in the second half.

Kobe led the way in Game 5 with a workmanlike 30 points, but Odom’s 17 points and Ariza’s 15 keyed the victory.

Phil Jackson claimed his 10 NBA title and could choose to finally walk away from the game at age 62. Or maybe he will hook up with LeBron in a couple years to go for No. 11.

Next year is right around the corner.

Stay tuned for highlights and the postgame press conference.

This is Derek Fisher’s 3-pointer, postgame comments

Fisher’s gutsy shot following two Dwight Howard missed free throws tied Game 4 with 4.6 seconds left in regulation.

Jeff Van Gundy is PISSED!  He should direct some of his frustration at his brother for not fouling and leaving Jameer Nelson in the game.  The Magic is a good defense team, but Nelson is an awful defensive player.

Here are Fisher’s postgame comments:

Stay tuned.

Fisher’s big shots lift Lakers to Game 4 win

Old man Fish added another big shot to his resume to help the Lakers win Game 4.

Old man Fish added another big shot to his resume to help the Lakers win Game 4.

Phil Jackson stuck with Derek Fisher even when it looked like he was just about out of gas early in the playoffs. It looks like that decision has paid off.

Fisher’s 3-pointer with 4.6 left in regulation forced overtime, and he added another with 30 seconds remaining in overtime to help the Lakers to a 99-91 win.

The Magic controlled the first half behind ferocious play from Dwight Howard, who finished the game with an NBA record nine blocks.

Game 4 was back and forth all night. Trevor Ariza exploded for 13 points in the third quarter to help the Lakers overcome a 12 point deficit. The Magic then rallied back in front late in the game, but Dwight Howard’s missed free throws with 11 seconds left set up Fisher’s game-tying shot.

The series had been very peaceful, but things got heated tonight.

Kobe tied up Dwight in the third quarter then appeared to yell “shut the f— up and play” at Howard. The two continued jawing for a bit and no technicals were called.

Mickael Pietrus pushed Pau Gasol from behind as Gasol dunked to seal the win in overtime. The two went at each other briefly and double technicals were called. Pietrus was also assessed a flagrant-1 before the game ended without incident.

I’ve never seen Howard played as hard as he did tonight. His hustle and effort sparked the Magic early, and he dominated the game despite having only two baskets in the first half. He got frustrated when he didn’t get many touches in the second half despite being very, very, very open.

Howard committed seven turnovers and shot just 6-14 from the line, tainting his 16 point-21 rebound night.

Kobe forced shots all night. He scored 32 points on 31 shots against tough defense by Mickael Pietrus.

Tonight’s game was fun to watch. I found myself pulling for the Magic just to make this series more interesting. Tonight’s loss is a setback the Magic will be unable to overcome.

Stay tuned for highlights and postgame reaction.

This is Courtney Lee’s Game 3 dunk

Lee showed off his explosive first step in the third quarter of Game 3.  This dunk was impressive, but it’s really not hard to hammer on Derek Fisher.

More highlights and postgame interviews coming up.

Lakers-Magic Game 1 first half recap

Kobe already has 18 points and six assists in the first half of Game 1.

Kobe already has 18 points and six assists in the first half of Game 1.

The Lakers lead 53-43 at the half and look to be in control. Orlando has shown the ability to rally from big deficits, so this one isn’t over. Here is what I noticed in the first half:

– The biggest difference between Kobe and LeBron was very evident in the first half. Kobe’s mid-range jumper makes it tough for Mickael Pietrus to sag off him like he did against Bron. The result: 18 points and six assists.

– Jameer Nelson looked good early in the second quarter in his return to action, but I thought the Magic looked out of sync late in the quarter. He got a lot of praise for playing well from Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. What you can’t ignore is Orlando was +2 when Alston was in the game and -12 with Nelson in the lineup. His return could throw the Magic out of whack.

– Derek Fisher and Andrew Bynum played well in the first half. Fisher quietly scored nine points, most of which came against Nelson.

– Rashard Lewis is struggling to get open looks against Lamar Odom, who has the quickness to stay with Lewis on the perimeter.

– In the always exciting world of NBA shoes, Dwight Howard is boycotting black shoes and sticking with his blue and white kicks.

– The NBA Finals logo looks even bigger than last year. Courtney Lee’s NBA Finals logo on his headband is absurd.

– Speaking of absurd, the sound on ABC’s broadcast has been messed up for at least a half an hour. I wonder if the problem will be corrected in the second half.

– Still waiting for an MVP puppets commercial – the LeBron puppet must be on vacation.

Stay tuned for postgame reaction and highlights.