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Thread: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

  1. #1
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    I agree with every word of this


    http://usatoday.printthis.clickabili...partnerID=1662




    Van Gundy: Celtics defense will give Lakers a Finals test

    By Jeff Van Gundy, as told to USA TODAY

    I know a lot of people are happy that the NBA Finals are the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, but I don't really get into that as much. Instead, I see it like these are the two best teams. That's good for the NBA, proving the regular season is worth something. I also like the fact that it's a contrast between what I think is by far the best offensive team, the Lakers, against by far the best defensive team, the Celtics.

    Los Angeles has the most talented roster in the NBA, even without, arguably, their third-best player in center Andrew Bynum (out with a left knee injury). L.A. is on the verge of being a championship-caliber team for the foreseeable future.

    I think the Lakers will win the series. Their offense has a lot of flexibility in taking advantage of their own players' strengths and mismatches that occur, and they have the ultimate closer in Kobe Bryant.

    But to make the case for the Celtics, the biggest thing they have going for them is their defense. When you have a great defense, solid rebounding and you keep your turnovers low, you won't beat yourself and you have a chance to win.

    Very few coaches would give an assistant total autonomy over an entire offense or defense. But Boston's Doc Rivers felt comfortable enough in himself to give first-year assistant coach Tom Thibodeau the responsibility of running the Celtics defense. Between Thibodeau's attention to detail and Kevin Garnett's passion and intensity, they have a defensive scheme that fits their personnel.

    They've played, without question, with the most urgency and the most tenacity of any team in the NBA from the preseason until now.

    Garnett sets that tone with his competitiveness and unselfishness. He's one of the great big-man jump-shooters to play the game. From 18 feet in, he has tremendous efficiency. He has good enough lateral quickness and length to give Lamar Odom trouble. His lateral quickness gives Boston the ability to play different schemes against the pick-and-roll.

    Pierce has improved dramatically from his rookie year. He came in as a great scorer; now he's a great all-around player. He rebounds, he's a much better ballhandler and passer, his defense is very good and he has a tremendous competitive spirit. He's their best offensive option when the play breaks down.

    Ray Allen has a difficult matchup if he's the one assigned to Bryant. He got things going offensively in Games 5 and 6 of the Detroit series, which was a good sign for them. In Game 5, up one, six seconds on the shot clock, his jump shot off the baseline out-of-bounds play was the defining moment of that series.

    When Allen is shooting well, it makes Bryant have to play at both ends. Now, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bryant play Rajon Rondo and Derek Fisher guard Ray Allen to conserve Bryant's energy.

    Boston must limit Bryant's layups and free throws, but play him straight-up until late in the game. The best thing you can do when you're playing a great player is limit everybody else for 3 quarters, then hit him with double-teams late.

    Bryant wants to do it just the opposite; he wants to be a playmaker early, get everyone involved so that if he's double-teamed late, they're ready to shoot-and-make. And then he wants to be the closer.

    The best way to play Pau Gasol is with size. Make him face up to the basket. I'd give him an extra cushion and encourage him to shoot the jumper. Celtics center Kendrick Perkins' length could bother him, but he's a tough cover.

    As far as the 2-3-2 Finals schedule format, I still think the best team wins. But without question, that format benefits the home team. If you split the first two games and win one of three on the road, you come home down 3-2 but with two home games to close it out. That's a great advantage to the Celtics.

    What is the key to the series for Boston? To win a championship, you have to do a lot of things right. To narrow it down to one or two things doesn't make sense to me as a coach. I wish it were that simple. If it were, you could focus all your energy on that.

    The keys to winning basketball games are always the same: Shoot a better true shooting percentage than your opponent (incorporating three-point shooting into the equation), make more free throws, have fewer turnovers and outrebound your opponent on a percentage basis.

    ***

    As told to USA TODAY's Chris Colston

  2. #2
    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    I just don't see Perkins playing the Kobe/Gasol pick'n'roll better than Duncan. Which Duncan was too slow to sink after the hedge.

    Odom is the X factor. Eventually Gasol will go up against Garnett. After that I really see Odom taking advantage of whoever plays him. Is this the series that PJ Brown gets more minutes?

    I think that Rajon and Ray Allen are vital on both ends. Rajon plays well one on one when his player has the ball. But he can't lose Fisher or Farmar. Allen needs to play hands on with whomever he is guarding. I just think that he is a defensive liability more so this series than against the Pistons, because of the strength of the Laker guards.

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    Default Re: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    Boston is the more veteran team, the better defensive team, and has just enough scoring options.

    I predict the Celts in 6

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    Default Re: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    I've become a big JVG fan in the last several years. If he goes back to coaching, fine... but I like having him on the press side of things.

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    Default Re: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    It seems to me that when Rondo plays well the Celtics win and when he doesn't the Celts lose. I'm sure you can say the same thing with some of their other players, but he seems to be the key and most unpredictable.


    Does anyone else think that this series is getting more pre-series hype/buzz of any Finals series in a long, long time. Usually right around now everyone's either complaning about the long layoff or asking the question why are they playing basketball when it is 90 degrees out. Should be interesting to see the ratings of this series. It is always really imnportant that game 1 is a close and exciting game because a lot of people will tune in tonight
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 06-05-2008 at 01:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    Quote Originally Posted by intridcold View Post
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    I just don't see Perkins playing the Kobe/Gasol pick'n'roll better than Duncan. Which Duncan was too slow to sink after the hedge.

    Odom is the X factor. Eventually Gasol will go up against Garnett. After that I really see Odom taking advantage of whoever plays him. Is this the series that PJ Brown gets more minutes?

    I think that Rajon and Ray Allen are vital on both ends. Rajon plays well one on one when his player has the ball. But he can't lose Fisher or Farmar. Allen needs to play hands on with whomever he is guarding. I just think that he is a defensive liability more so this series than against the Pistons, because of the strength of the Laker guards.
    I think I did a decent pre-series assesment by the game one results.

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excellent preview of the NBA Finals by JVG

    Buck, I've felt all along that it was Rondo's key presence that created the wacky home-road issues Boston was having. Young players tend to react more to the home/road status, and if everything you do hinges on that player you're going to feel it.

    Obviously he's not their star, but even a minor bolt can hold your whole system together.

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