Sunday, June 8, 2008

Celtics-Lakers -- Game 2 analysis

Throw away the big comeback. The bottom line is this: the Lakers are in an 0-2 hole because they've been beat up for two games and have shown very little ability, poise or desire to reverse some disturbing trends.

First off, the Celtics have proved quicker off the dribble, quicker to loose balls, quicker to get into their offense. As a result, LA is a step behind on everything and too often fouls trying to catch up.

The Celtics' defense, meanwhile, has completely blown up the triangle. The Lakers have been forced into post-ups and isolations. The ball isn't moving, Kobe is taking difficult shots, and role players are not well-positioned in order to contribute.

Things, of course, can change in California, but LA has to be more forceful in everything that it does.

Even so, is it too late?

Since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 Finals format in 1985, the team with homecourt advantage has won 17 of 23 series. When that team wins the first two at home, it has won 10 of 11.

Here's more bad news for the Lakers. In 23 series, the middle three games have been swept just four times and only once by the home team (2004 Pistons vs. the Lakers).

* Teams leading 3-2 and going home are 8-0 (seven close-outs in Game 6; one loss in Game 6, followed by a win in Game 7).

* Teams leading 3-2 and going on the road are 4-2 (close-outs in Game 6 by the 85 Lakers, 93 Bulls, 98 Bulls and 06 Heat; Game 6 and Game 7 losses by the 88 Pistons and 94 Knicks).