Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lakers Defense Key to Champsionship

These NBA Finals have been quite unusual through four games. The first game was a complete blowout by the Lakers. The second game the Orlando Magic were winning but the Lakers tied it to go into overtime; in overtime they dominated and won. Game three the Magic set an NBA Finals record with 62.5% shooting but barely won. Game four Orlando led late but the Lakers tied at the buzzer. In overtime, the Lakers dominated again.

We've seen two overtime periods. Two five minute stretches with the teams starting tied and beginning with a center court jump ball. And both times the Lakers have dominated the OT.
The Lakers won OT1 by a score of 13-8 and OT2 by a score of 12-4. The score of OT1 looks close but if not for a meaningless three at the end by the Magic it would have been much worse.

And the thing I remember most is how stifling the Lakers defense has been in the overtime periods. It wasn't pretty getting to OT (the Lakers needed big rallies and some missed free throws) but one certainly has to credit their defense for the championship. Their pressure offense hasn't been to amazing, essentially letting Kobe play 1-5. But their defense in OT has been incredible. They let the Magic get four points in five minutes of play AT HOME. Thats amazing.

Also their fourth quarter rallies wouldn't have been possible without great defense. They simply have the ability to lock down the Magic when they want to. They played tough defense in Game 1 and held the Orlando Magic to 29.9% shooting for the game. That is spirited defense.
Everyone focuses on the margin of victory and 100 points scored by LA. But 100 points isn't that many points at all. They put 119 on Denver in game 6. Thats an offensive outburst. But 100 points?

Its the Defense.

I don't think they will win game 5 simply because the defensive effort won't be there. Game 6, however, should see the Lakers energized and locking down the Magic. The spread for game five is Magic by three.

What will the spread be for game 6?

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