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Lakers' three consecutive road losses to Detroit in 2004 Finals featured similar trend they need to avoid against Boston

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The timing of this topic could leave Lakers fans feeling uncomfortable, what with some of them already having legitimate concerns about the team entering Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. The legitimacy of this topic could puzzle some fans considering that this time period has proved vastly different from the present. And it could prove to be a vast overreaction considering the Lakers are tied with the Celtics, 1-1.

But reflecting on the Lakers' 2004 NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons serves a valuable purpose simply because it shows what the Lakers can't afford to do for the rest of the series against the Celtics. That's because the Lakers tied the series with the Pistons, 1-1, before traveling to Detroit for three consecutive games. History has shown it's infrequent for NBA teams to win all of those games in the Finals, with only two teams accomplishing that feat since the 2-3-2 format was instituted in 1985. And unfortunately for the Lakers, they're part of that history, losing three consecutive games to Detroit, followed by a busy off-season that included Phil Jackon's departure and Shaquille O'Neal's trade.

I'm not incredibly troubled by the Lakers' situation beyond their horrible performance in Game 2. So let this serve as a cautionary tale so that Lakers can take the preventive measures so that their 2004 Finals performance remains an isolated incident. Besides, Lakers fans surely don't want strong Paul Pierce's proclamation that "We ain't coming back to L.A.!" to ring true (unless, of course, it's because the Lakers win the series in five games).

Limit the backcourt

Different personnel, same results.

Against the series against Detroit, Pistons guard Chauncey Billups won the Finals' most-valuable player award after burning the Lakers for 21 points a game. After Kobe Bryant limited Richard Hamilton in the first two games, Hamilton unloaded in the next three games and finished with an average of 21.4 points a game.

It's too early to say whether Boston's backcourt will experience similar success, but it could. The Lakers effectively limited Rajon Rondo in Game 1, but he responded with a triple-double. Ray Allen's foul trouble in Game 1 limited his effectiveness, but he responded by making the most three-pointers in a game in NBA Finals history (eight).

"You try to take the ball out of his hands as much as possible," Bryant said of Allen. "He's catching it. You've got to try to deny him and force him off his sweet spots. He was hot."

30817682

Avoid foul trouble

Say what you will about the officiating, and plenty of you have, but there's only so many times Jackson can draw out fines from the league. In the end, griping about it does very little beyond enriching NBA Cares' resources. Instead, follow Bryant's advice: "You've got to play your game as the whistles sort themselves out."

The Lakers had trouble doing that in the 2004 Finals, with O'Neal and Devean George picking up two early fouls in a Game 4 loss. The Lakers also experienced that unfortunate reality in Games 1 and 2 against Boston. And they've shown a mixed ability to absorb foul trouble. In the Lakers' 102-89 Game 1 victory, the Lakers dealt with Bryant, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher getting two first-quarter fouls, thanks to the bench absorbing the Lakers' lead. They managed to tolerate a disappearing night from Lamar Odom, whose five fouls partly contributed to his five points in 21 minutes, because they had four players who scored in double figures. And the combined 54 fouls from Boston and the Lakers didn't disrupt the Lakers' offense, even if it disrupted the Lakers' flow.

That proved to be a different story in the Lakers' 103-94 loss in Game 2. Odom scored three points on one-for-three shooting in 14 minutes 38 seconds after picking up three fouls in the first quarter. Bryant collected his fourth foul with 6:19 left in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the period. He was given his fifth foul at the 11:15 mark of the fourth quarter, leading Bryant to acknowledge that Boston tried to bait him into getting fouls. Artest's two consecutive fouls late in the game rattled him enough to turn the ball over on the next play. And Bynum picked up three of his five fouls in the final quarter.

"You've got to play through that," Gasol said. "There's nothing you can really do about it; you've just got to, again, play hard and do the things that you would normally do."

Use inside game

Bryant is a much different player now than he was in 2004, but the issue remains relevant. That issue involves the Lakers needing to improve their shot selection and take complete advantage of their size.

In the Lakers' 88-68 Game 3 loss to Detroit in 2004, Bryant shot four for 13, dribbled into double teams and committed four turnovers, an effort that significantly contributed to the Lakers' finishing with a playoff-low 68 points. The offensive imbalance affected many, including O'Neal (14 points) and Gary Payton (six), as well as the Lakers' rebounding (45-38) and second-chance points (three).

In the Lakers' Game 2 loss to the Celtics, shot selection and balance remained an issue. Artest went one for 10 from the field. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 46 points on an efficient 13-for-20 clip, showing that their effectiveness could have been maximized had they gotten more looks. And the Lakers went one for nine from the field for the remaining 5:21 of the game and committed four turnovers in the final quarter.

"Their execution was better," Jackson said of Boston after Game 2. "They had second‑chance opportunities in that sequence, and that was really the difference in the ballgame."

-- Mark Medina in Boston
twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Bill Davidson holds the Larry O'Brien trophy after the Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA championship against the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Credit: Paul Sancya/Associated Press.

Photo: Kobe Bryant wipes sweat from his face during Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Detroit Pistons won the game, 100-87, and the series, 4-1, to deny the Lakers another championship. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

 
Comments () | Archives (72)

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Sure, if the Lakers lose their starting PF again it might happen again. No, wait, Pau's healthy. There goes that idea.

in the history of the NBA finals, when teams are tied 1-1, the winner of game 3 goes on to win the championship 100% of the time.....it is not an understatement to say that this is the most important game of the season.....

Let me remind everyone: whoever wins tonight's game will win the Finals. So, your Lakers better win this one. The Celtics is the one team that can beat the Lakers 3 in a row or come and win game 6 or 7 in LA. Good luck!

Two and a half hours remaining.

First game I was totally amped. Second game I was confident but disappointed. This game I'm totally stone faced and focused. This is battle, and the Lakers will have to go all Samurai.

GO LAKERS!

FQM strikes again ;-)

M2,

If you're going to insist on moderating comments, you can't let an hour pass without clearing them on the day of a Finals game.

Putting up a new thread when the old thread has only five comments defeats the true purpose of the Times' Lakers blog: A home for those of us who comment to express ourselves.

I can go to ESPNLosAngeles.com and have my post clear immediately. We have choices.

Sure, there were a lot of trolls this morning, but I saw nothing offensive. They're much more annoying on the live chat because of how the software works.

I strongly object to your decision today.

MM
~~~~~~~~~
The article is moot. This is a different year, different teams, and different results.
~~~~~~~~~
TOM

there's no way in hell we're losing 3 in a row in beantown! we're going to TAKE 2 OUT OF 3 IN BOSTON! now, if lamar, artest and the bench just show up tonight, we'll be ok! REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME YOU WERE IN BOSTON, GAME 6.....it's time for payback.....and it starts TONIGHT!

See this is what I don't like about MM having to approve comments, it's been over an hour since I've seen a new comment appear

That 2004 Finals Series was a tough one to watch for Lakers fans. However, this team is very different from that one. The biggest difference is that Kobe has learned a thing or two since then.

there's no way we're getting swept in boston, paul "wheelchair" pierce! in fact, L.A. will take 2 OUT OF 3 in beantown. the Lakers remember game 6 from 2 years ago and it wasn't pretty. after sunday's lacklustre performance, (with the exception of pau, kobe and 'drew) the Laker's OTHER STARTERS AND THE BENCH will need to come through with a great performance. i believe they're up to the task. let's quiet this crowd down with A LAKESHOW-WORTHY PERFORMANCE!

I've also been thinking back to the Detroit series. I think there's a couple of key differences however. In that series, Malone had reinjured the knee he'd messed up earlier in the year. He wasn't able to give much of an effort and Horace Grant wasn't able to play at all. That left Slava and Cook to match up against Rasheed. This time around, we've got a healthy Gasol at the 4 with backup available from Odom and Powell. Yes, we're dealing with Bynum's knee but he's showed an ability to gut it out. It's too bad that his great play in game 2 was essentially wasted. It's like having to pour out precious water when you're stranded in the desert. The other big difference from the 2004 finals is attitude. That was a really odd year for team chemistry for a host of reasons. Things feel different this time around, in no small part to Kobe's maturation in the years since. Plus, they're 13 & 5 so far in the off-season, including a .500 record on the road. A win tonight would go a lonnnnnng way toward settling my nerves.

Rick - I was getting something to eat. Sorry. I feel like I'm getting conflicting messages here, some saying there needs to be more moderation and some saying the trolls haven't been that bothersome. So what's the deal everyone? It's hard to have it both ways.

MM

Time for LO to play BIG.
Time for Artest to get a clue (watch the video Ron)
Time for Kobe to not force bad shots.
Time for Pau & Drew to continue to protect the paint and score inside.
Time for Fish to defend w/o getting into foul trouble.
Time for Farmar and Brown to play well on the road.
Time for the refs to call a fair game.

If any 4 of the above happens it will be...
Time to silence the chowds.

This is going to be a blowout. I can feel it. I can sense it. From the reaction of Dfish to Phil to Kobe it's like they have a little secret that is about to be unveiled. Don't forget where you heard it. This is going to be a number 1 @zz whipping of the Celtics by the Lakers!

You better bury me in that Gladiator cemetary they just found in northern England, cause I'm ready to hack, mame, bite, chew and defeat.


Wes

MM

If I may...

The trolls are mostly irritating, but we can scroll by.


HOWEVER - when they are offensive in name, nature of comment, or are using one of our handles, then we request they be banned. (We also request those that were banned to STAY banned).


Thanks!!

justa

You better bury me in that Gladiator cemetary they just found in northern England, cause I'm ready to hack, mame, bite, chew and defeat.
Wes Posted by: wesjoenixon | June 08, 2010 at 04:24 PM
*
Aww Hell Yes! Wes has his Game Face ON!!!

You better bury me in that Gladiator cemetary they just found in northern England, cause I'm ready to hack, mame, bite, chew and defeat.
Wes Posted by: wesjoenixon | June 08, 2010 at 04:24 PM
*
Aww Hell Yes! Wes has his Game Face ON!!!

Kobe must play in Beast Mode the entire time. That is all.

20FL

RE RE RE RE RE REEEEEEEEPOST!!!!!!
------------------------------------------------------------
Looks like the Celtics get to wrangle with a PO'ed Mamba and Lakers Squad tonight.

As a basketball I say this, the Celtics are a good team. I respect them. There is a reason they made it this far.

Now as I Lakers fan I say this...
There is a big ol' Purple and Gold Train barreling down the tracks and the Celtics are standing right on them. Phil is wearing his Engineers hat and Kobe is punching ticktets to Larry O'brien-ville and there aint nothing thats going to keep that train from ariving on time. AAAALL ABOARD!!!!!!!!

ACTIVATION OF BLACK MAMBA IS NOW BEGINNING!!!

FCM- Should you moderate or not moderate? You are asking for a blog consensus? We'll get back to you in forty or fifty years once we are done discussing whether trading Norm Nixon was a good idea or not.

M2,

Eating? Before the game? Unthinkable! Your stomach is supposed to be unsettled. Oooops. Forgot your not a fan. :)

Seriously, as many of us as there are, mixed messages are to be expected. The only message you can always count on is that we're not easy to please. :)

[Scratches head in confusion.]

Don't know what to tell you. See you on the chat. Go Lakers!

MM

If I may...

The trolls are mostly irritating, but we can scroll by.


HOWEVER - when they are offensive in name, nature of comment, or are using one of our handles, then we request they be banned. (We also request those that were banned to STAY banned).

Put me on that list too. Justa said it best.

Fair enough point justa. But as far as banning readers, I can ban them but keep in mind that those users can change their IP addresses. So if you see a banned user reappear that's the reason.

MM

MM,

you do what you think is best, I'm good either way.

Geezy'z Keezies,

We need to win the boards back, and specifically put a body on Rondo.

Minimize bad shots/possessions, they just feed Boston's breaks. Feed the bigs I think Pau and Drew are both shooting over 60% this series.

Execute down the stretch. I got love for Ron, but I don't want to see another Benny Hill possession until next year.

MM

This is a Lakers Blog, so messages coming from leprechauns are posted just to flame. Almost 99% of messages have that purpose.

But you are the mod, so it's up to you to ban or delte messages.

I'd like to know if this s*** happens in leprechauns blog.

Pau Gasol will be dominated by Perkins and Andrew Bynums knee blowin up tonight.Its over folks Celts in 5.
QUESTIONABLE CALLS????

Such as what??

so WHAT ARE LAKERS FANS COMPLAINING ABOUT.

Rondo going for lose ball but was nudge by Bryant.. Its a LEGIT call. It may just be a slight nudge. but it was enough for rondo to lose balance. cause of his momentum going to retrieve the ball.

What other questionable calls are lakers fans referring to??????

You should be blaming Kobe and laker players. they couldnt deliver in the end game.. Is it the refs fault that Rondo showed desire to win. And giving his all to help his team win..

Celtics in 5 like i said.

I'd like to know if this s*** happens in leprechauns blog.
Posted by: BreakfastSausage | June 08, 2010 at 04:35 PM
*
THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

"Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

True enough, Still Game 3 is HUGE

LOL
But seriously MM

I read all the posts since last nights and it wasn't bad enough to moderate. There are some lifelong bloggers here who have thin skin. You'd think otherwise.

LETS THE FINALS POSTS' BE UNINHINDERED BY THE REFS

Do I smell Mike T?

Geezy Keezies?
Then Shakespeare?
This is the best and only blog...

Mark Geezy - you drinkin' already??? LOL!


MM - I understand. I guess regarding the reappearing trolls we're hoping you'll see those posts & delete them cuz they are always stupid enough to use the same name.

Mark Geezy - nawwwww - that ain't Mike T - that's the smell of the Troll-B-Gone that MM is sprayin'...

MM... If I may, this issue is very simple.
~
1. please keep the automatic posting.
2. When we advise you of an offensive post, review and if you agree, delete it.
3. When we advise you of an imposter post, review and if you agree, delete it.
4. If the poster repeats offensive or imposter posts, then ban the IP address.
~
I think this would be a policy that all of us could easily support.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

MM... If I may, this issue is very simple.
~
1. please keep the automatic posting.
2. When we advise you of an offensive post, review and if you agree, delete it.
3. When we advise you of an imposter post, review and if you agree, delete it.
4. If the poster repeats offensive or imposter posts, then ban the IP address.
~
I think this would be a policy that all of us could easily support.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM Posted by: LakerTom | June 08, 2010 at 04:51 PM

SO SAY WE ALL

I don't know --Geezy is highly trained in espionage, so if he smells Mike T...

See Justa

Noah Knows!

See Justa

Noah Knows!

and NO, I have not been drinking, yet. lol

Mike X,

Are you seriously debating that the out-of-bounds ball off Garnett was not off of Garnett late in the game? That call was obviously wrong. How about the foul that was called on Artest for poking the ball from Rondon's hand? That wasn't even a touch foul. The crazy thing is that Rondo gets to do the exact same thing to Kobe later in the game. We can go on an on, but I'll stop there.

LakerTom & MM,

LakerTom wrote:

1. please keep the automatic posting.
2. When we advise you of an offensive post, review and if you agree, delete it.
3. When we advise you of an imposter post, review and if you agree, delete it.
4. If the poster repeats offensive or imposter posts, then ban the IP address.

my response: every IP that does an imposter post should be immediately
banned.

In the history of the 2-3-2 format, no team HAS EVER won all three games in a row at home people.

I got a feeling....
~~~
that Paula might be right...
~~~
WE'LL WIN ALL 3 GAMES IN BEANTOWN!!!!!!!!!
~~~
GO LAKERS!

ECJ, they have.

That's part of MMs post above, you've probably blocked it out with some form of hysterical amnesia ( I know I did), Pistons in 2004.

EastCoast

I seem to recall the Pistons winning 3 at home against the Lakers or was that a nightmare I had a few years back and am still recovering from?

I hear you Magic Phil! Lol!

2004 was pretty traumatic. Anytime I can say 'man, if only Karl Malone was playing' and mean it, it's a bad patch.

I'm healed

The Pistons didn't win in 04

2004 was pretty traumatic. Anytime I can say 'man, if only Karl Malone was playing' and mean it, it's a bad patch. Posted by: phred | June 08, 2010 at 05:22 PM
ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAH!!!

I am expecting to see the Black Mamba in full affect

lets not go there.
how many teams have been bittenby the injury bug

the lakers 2 years ago
the celtics last year

no excuses

especially since Boston is whining that they are really playing for 3 in a row

I'll see you guys on the other side.

GO LAKERS!

My bad folks...just heard a preview by Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe who said that and I believed him. So much for Boston sports writers...I should've known that.

I have faith in my team though.

MM

Some blog sites make you set up user IDs and log in. You can also allow users to 'ignore' certain bloggers if they wish. The Denver Post does this.

I ignore the trolls right now, but I have to wade through a lot of garbage to read the posts I'm interested in.

my 2 cents

But then again if Lakers win tonight series goes back to LA and i have no idea who wins best of 5.

oh yeah...

I HATE BOSTON!!!!!


I mean best of 4.

...perhaps all the dragons in our lives
are princesses --waiting to see us once, beautiful and brave..

take it to em Lakers

...perhaps all the dragons in our lives
are princesses --waiting to see us once, beautiful and brave..

take it to em Lakers

Lamar Odom I believe in you!!! Now go out there and earn your money!!!

If pierce and KG show up then yeah.... this could be 3 and done for the lakers. Plus, Bynum and Pau are due for bad games.

STAND BACK! ACTIVATION OF THE BLACK MAMBA IS NEAR!!!

I the Celtics
I Hate KG
I hate Ray Ray
I hate Pierce

but especially, I hate Doc Rivers

Mr. rah rah, run on the floor, big mouth. I can't believe i go lucky enuf to coach theses guys

Phil don't let this also-ran beat you

If KG shows up? They can drag KG'S busted CARCASS out there all they want but until he stops dragging that leg he is DONE. Pierce plays a better CHEERLEADER than a ball player this series.

MM,

Hey ! How you doing man ? Good article. One thing didn't make sense though ==> "I'm not incredibly troubled by the Lakers' situation beyond their horrible performance in Game 2"..how could you possibly be troubled ?? You are not a fan ! So it doesn't matter whether or not their performance in Game 2 bode well for the Lakers. You wouldn't be perturbed either way..what with your objectivity and everything...right ? Just playing :)

Amit

Laker fan-

No need to watch the game ....

Boston 98
Lakers 92

KG 20/10

Basically to beat Boston it comes down to only TWO Celtics:

1) Ray Allen: On Offense, if Ray guards Kobe as usual Kobe should start going at him from the beginning. Post Ray down low and punish him with low-post moves. Make him work hard on D and hopefully draw fouls on him. On Defense, Fish needs to stay inside Ray's short 110% of the time: absolutely no double-team nor helping out on other Laker, just stay with Ray no matter where he goes. Give Fish an ultimatum, if he is UNABLE or UNWILLING to shadow Ray or die trying, put Sasha/Brown/Farmar in to do so. At the same time the whole team should pay attention to Allen whenever he runs by on his route and punish him with elbows and knees. The guy should NOT be able to run free and unmolested from one side of the court to another. Cheap shots at him whenever possible!

It is UNEXCUSABLE that the Lakers have four guards to take turn sticking like glue to Allen should they all fail. Guarding Ray Allen is NOT like guarding Kobe or LeBron or Wade, you don't need much talent nor athleticism. All you need is the willingness and determination to stick to his behind and run after him. Hard work is the only thing needed to guard Ray Allen.

2) Rajon Rondo: if the other four Laker guards do not become lazy and stupid to guard Allen, the Lakers can sic Kobe full-time on Rondo. If Kobe is afforded the luxury to concentrate 100% laser-like on Rondo, he WILL stop him cold.

Once those two Celts are stopped, the rest of the matchup, meaning between the two front lines, all favors Lakers.

So how was it like the Pistons again? Lakers 2-1. #2 to go.

There's your statement.

If Phil Jackson wins the first game of the series, he never loses. The winner of game three in a ties series -- never loses. And yet -- wasn't Brett Favre 17-0 at one point at Lambeau field? The bigger the numbers get, the bigger they fall when it does happen. I'm just saying -- we can't turn into the bored Lakers, but have to remain the board Lakers, grabbing bounds and hustling.

Second: How is it that in those Detroit finals Tayshun Prince guarded Kobe so spectacularly, and no one has ever been able to do so again? Including Tayshun!

Third -- let's retire the old "more looks" bromide, when our post players don't score (or in this case -- apparently didn't score enuff despite getting 46 points). I watch the post position very closely -- they're not always open. It's that simple. Boston does a great job at post entry position. The average player looks in, and sees someone covers and keeps the ball outside. Only a Luke Walton can find a slim avenue to get the ball into the post, where others fail ...

The Lakers (Fakers is more like it) had the referees playing on their side the whole series and still with 6 against 5 they are on the short end of the stick. REASON is the big SELFISH KID wearing number 24. Yes Kobe is why the Fakers are behind 3-2. It is no secret, 24 think he is god’s gift to Basketball; he plays like no one else on the Fakers Roster needs to play. He was upset when Fisher stepped up in the 4th Q of game 3 and you can see it in his eyes. He was able to defeat the week playoff teams produced by the Western Conference this season, but he is no match for the men in green coming down from the EAST!!!


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