Posted by hiphopmama on January 12, 2009
Miami 105, LA Lakers 108
This is completely trite and overused, but I’m gonna go there anyway. Apparently living in or around Hollywood gives you a flair for the dramatic, because the Lakers have certainly mastered the art of turning mundane wins into thrilling affairs. Does that mean I should count myself as lucky? I’m not sure, but I think I’d prefer to be bored while they demolish teams than feel my heart race as they give up open looks late in games they should have already closed out.
If you didn’t already know, that is enough of an indication of what happened in this one. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t all that great, either. We just couldn’t seem to put together more than a few minutes of solid play at a time, and Miami consistently punished us for our laxness. We went cold on offense a few times, which was enough to doom us for stretches since we weren’t doing a whole lot defensively. It wasn’t the weakest display I’ve seen from them, but it was definitely in the bottom half. Wade was great again, if not quite up to the magnificent standards he set for himself in the last game. I was pleased to see Kobe guard him, and rather well, but it didn’t do much to slow him down. Michael Beasley was eye-opening as well, scoring 23 off the bench and torching us from 15-20 foot range. For the Lakers, only Andrew Bynum had a really good game. Actually, I take that back, since Gasol somehow grabbed 18 boards in a valiant effort to make up for his horrendous shooting. No hard feelings, Pau – it’s a rare occurrence, so I’m guessing it was some bad paella (notice how I stole that one from a previous post??). Oh yeah, and Radmanovic scored 18, hardly his usual invisible outing, so there was that. But he was woefully absent on defense down the stretch, giving up an open three to make things much too tight.
To be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault. He shouldn’t have been in the game in the first place. Why the hell would Phil bring him in for a defensive possession, knowing he can’t play lick of defense, when Trevor Ariza (or just about anyone else) could have filled that role? It didn’t make sense to me then, and it still doesn’t. I am also clueless as to how we can continue to give up open looks at three-pointers late in games when that is the one thing that can hurt us. There is only one message in that situation: stay with everyone! Don’t leave shooters, switch every screen, face guard your man if you have to, just don’t let me see a dead-eye staring one down from the corner as the clock winds down. Yeah, Quinn missed it in the end, but Pierce won’t. Allen won’t. Wade wouldn’t, if it had been him. Maybe, I know, but it’s still frustrating.
Were there any positives in this game? Let’s see… We got to the foul line a lot, and we out-rebounded them by a big margin (53-38), which is something I guess. But we also turned it over 17 times to their 10 and had the same number of blocks as a team whose biggest man on the floor was usually no more than 6-9. Yikes.
Whatever, game over, win secured, still the best record in basketball. There will be ugly games, and as long as they’re wins, I can’t complain too much. I’m just worried as I see their level of play slipping slowly but surely every game that we get further away from the Christmas day Celtics bash. Then again, if we can do this well coasting, there isn’t too much to worry about come playoff time. If they can indeed flip that proverbial switch.