Tag Archives: NBA Finals

Warriors Use Pistons Game-plan Against Shaq in 2004 NBA Finals

It’s a page straight from the 2004 NBA Finals. Larry Brown chose to play Shaquille O’Neal with single-coverage on the way to a 4-1 series win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Detroit Pistons chose to double Kobe Bryant instead and stayed at home with the rest of the shooters. Ben Wallace couldn’t stop O’Neal, who had his way with him, but it wasn’t enough to dominate the series. A younger O’Neal would have went for sixty each night if left alone. But the Pistons knew they were better off letting Shaq get his while shutting down everyone else.

LeBron James scored 44 points in Game 1 of 2015 NBA Finals, but only two in overtime. He continued to struggle with his outside shot, missing a fade-away three-pointer that would have won the game at the end of regulation. Steve Kerr decided not to double-team LeBron James, and as a result, the role players didn’t get open looks.The Golden State Warriors can’t stop LeBron from scoring, but they can stop him from getting his teammates involved.

J.R. Smith who has been huge in the playoffs thus far for Cleveland went 3-13, and starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert went 2-6. The Cavs had only one player with a field-goal off the bench. Kyrie Irving was productive on both ends of the floor, scoring 23 points and blocking Stephen Curry’s game winning shot attempt. But just like Karl Malone on the 2004 Lakers, Irving entered with a knee injury and will not finish the series after fracturing his kneecap.

At this point there is no need for Kerr to make any adjustments. James went 2-8 from the three-point line, and though still in his prime, no longer posses the athletic ability to dominate an entire series by himself. It was Shane Battier, Ray Allen, and Mike Miller who made multiple timely three-point shots during championship runs in 2012 & 2013. LeBron will need that same type of support to win his third ring. The Warriors look to cutoff the support and make LeBron carry the ailing Cavaliers.

Versus: Kobe v LeBron – Who Had More Help?

As LeBron James enters his sixth NBA Finals competition, the comparisons and contrasts with his superstar peers are made. Kobe Bryant has 5 rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, but many analysts do not credit his first three (2000-2002) as being a part of his individual accomplishments. Still, LeBron clearly joined Dwyane Wade and Chirs Bosh in Miami because he grew weary of trying to win it on his own, and collected back-to-back titles with the Heat.

Here is a statistical breakdown of Kobe’s three trips to the NBA Finals (without Shaq) and LeBron’s first three trips to the Finals along with their supporting casts numbers.

 

Celtics 2008 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (CELTICS 4-2)

Kobe 25.7 4.7reb 5.0asst

Gasol 14.7 10.2reb 3.3asst

Odom 13.5 9.0reb 3.0asst

(Bynum Didn’t participate in series)

 

Lakers 2009 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-1)

Kobe 32.4 5.6reb 7.4asst

Gasol avg 18.6 9.2reb 2.2ast

Odom 13.4, 7.4 reb 0.8ast

Bynum  6pts 4reb 0.6 asst

 

LAKERS 2010 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-3)

Kobe 28.6 8.0reb 3.9asst

Gasol 18.6 11.6reb 3.7asst

Metta World Peace 10.6 4.3reb 1.3 asst

Bynum 7.4 5.1reb


SPURS 2007 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-0)

Bron 22.0 7.0reb 6.8asst
MAVERICKS 2011 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-2)

WADE 26.5 7.0reb 5.2 asst

Bron 17.8 7.2reb 6.8asst

BOSH 18.5 7.3 reb 1.0asst

Chalmers avg 11.8 2.7reb 3.5 asst

HEAT 2012 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-2)

Bron 28.6 10.2reb 7.4asst

Wade 22.6 6.0reb 5.2asst

Bosh 14.6 9.4reb

Battier 11.4

Chalmers 10.4 2.6reb 4.0asst

 

Former Lakers Tyronn Lue and Luke Walton battle as coaches in the NBA Finals

Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw, and Kurt Rambis played meaningful roles with the Los Angles Lakers, combining for 12 NBA championships as players, and six as coaches. Shaw and Rambis were assistants on Phil Jackson’s staff, and Fisher is  currently head coach of the New York Knicks. But it’s two unlikely bit players in the Lakers Dynasties, Tyronn Lue and Luke Walton, who are now on the cusp of adding another ring.

Lue twice won titles in L.A. (2000 & 2001), and is most remembered for being stepped over by Allen Iverson in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. He is now an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers after spending the past five seasons in Boston and Los Angeles on the bench with Doc Rivers.

Walton won a title with the Lakers in 2010, and had a stint as an assistant coach with the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA lockout before joining Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors this season.

Both work closely in player development, each possessing a wealth of experience from having played on championship teams with MVP’s. Walton has an NBA father like Steph Curry and was tootled by Phil Jackson like Steve Kerr. Lue was teammates with Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan over a span of four seasons, and was a part of the Lakers team that won a title with a 16-1 playoff record.

Kerr spurned Phil and the Knicks to put the finishing touches on what former coach Mark Jackson built. But although his tenure as president has gotten off to a rocky start with the Knicks, there should be a degree off satisfaction for Phil Jackson seeing his former players compete in the roles of coaches for an NBA championship.

Interview With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, gives a rare interview, and talks about the Harlem Renaissance, meeting John Wooden the year Malcolm X was assassinated, and whether or not Magic Johnson should have passed him the ball instead of shooting the baby sky-hook against the Boston Celtics.