Skip to content

On Air: The Official Blog of WSJU Sports

Category Archives: Playoffs 2010

Ray Allen was probably thinking "Please let this one go in" during an 0-13 night

Game two of the NBA Finals was a night for Ray Allen to remember. 27 points in the first half. 7 three pointers to tie and NBA Finals record, in the first half. Allen would get number 8 in the second and the Boston Celtics would capture game 2 of the series to take it back to Boston 1-1.

Game three for Ray Allen though. Something he and Boston fans will remember for a long time. Ray Allen went 0-13, let me say it again 0-13 and only earning two points thanks to free throws. This is the same guy that just a game before seemed unstoppable and was a sign that the Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t be able to grasp a championship this year. Well they raise as quickly as the fall. Not to say though that Boston couldn’t have won last nights game. With one minute left in the game down four, Ray Allen got an open three point look from the corner, his favorite spot, and hit the rim and bounced away. Derek Fisher grabbed the ball and pushed up court against a Celtics team that was mesmerized at how awful Allen was. Rondo went from Mr. Triple Double to 11 points, 8 assist and 3 rebounds. That my friends is what we call average point guard numbers.

And so the Lakers have taken a 2-1 series lead. Paul Pierce said at the end of game 2 “We ain’t coming back to LA”, That still can hold true if the Lakers win out the next two games in Boston. Pierce though now wants to go back to LA.

-Timmy Dimas

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Nothing like a Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers Finals to really wrap up the season before the much anticipated free agency class of all time.

Lakers and Celtics will face each other tonight at the Staples Center at 9pm. Kobe Bryant THE BEST PLAYER in the league and the KING of the RING will go out tonight and play basketball the way he knows best and that’s by taking over the game and scoring at will.

The Celtics Paul Pierce I think will be the biggest factor for tonights game and the rest of the series. Ray Allen can score yes but isn’t the total package. If his three point shot isn’t working then the rest of his game dies. Kevin Garnett isn’t the explosive player he used to be. He still has the passion every night on the court but I’m not trusting him to do much for the team other then be the leader. Rajon Rondo will be another factor but I feel Pierce will be the go to guy. He can shot, drive, rebound and defend. It will be interesting to see if Doc Rivers puts him on Kobe or will Ray Allen take the defensive stand and let Pierce worry about his offensive game.

Andrew Bynum is a question mark for tonights game. After getting his knee drained Monday and then it swelling up again two days later it is unsure how many minutes he will play and that could be a factor for this Laker team as it was in 2008 when Bynum was out with knee problems and Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol couldn’t handle the toughness the Celtics show.

Tonights game I’m giving to the Lakers. Its the opening game at home and I don’t think Kobe want’s to go down 0-1 to start the series.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gasol lead the Lakers with 29 points and helped them to a 2-0 series lead

When I saw the Lakers scored 128 points and shot 58% in game 1 I said that it was a fluke and Phoenix would come to play game 2. Well I was wrong. LA scored 124 points on 58% shooting again. Only difference this time it wasn’t the Kobe show as it was in game one. Pau Gasol took over this game scoring 29 points to lead all scorers and grabbing 9 rebounds. Kobe wasn’t quite though, he had 21 points, 19 less then game one.

For the Suns Jason Richardson lead the Phoenix with 27 points but again it came down to the no defense style of play that is killing the Suns. I said it in the preview for this series that if they can’t play defense they will get beat and if they can’t control the paint with Andrew Bynum, Gasol and Lamar Odom they would have trouble winning games and right now that is showing. Amar’e Stoudemire hasn’t been a factor. He had 18 points but they were quite points. Not enough energy from a player and team that wins on being more active on the ball. Steve Nash had 15 assist but that part doesn’t matter when you aren’t putting up the points like you did against the San Antonio Spurs. Nash needs to get to the basket and get going early or this won’t be a series I or fans imagined.

Game 3 heads to Phoenix as the Suns look to win at home and right the ship on this series.

-Tim Dimas

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

40 points and a Win

So the true question is … when does The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns series actually start. What we witnessed last night, I personally hope, isn’t what we should expect for the rest of what could be a short series. Kobe Bryant on the other hand witnessed what he wanted for the rest of the series.

Kobe Bryant scored 40 points and made sure people remembered he was still the best in the game. The Lakers last night seemed unable to do anything wrong. Shooting a remarkable 58% from the field for the game. Pau Gasol scoring 21 points and Lamar Odom with 19 off the bench, the Lakers were looking like the champs from last year and they showed no sings of slowing down.

Phoenix on the other hand. Well they did score 107 points right? That still wasn’t enough. The Suns, a team who on average this post season allowed 95 points or less to their opponents gave up 62 points in the first half and 128 for the game. I don’t think Phoenix got the fact that they aren’t playing The Portland Trail Blazers or The San Antonio Spurs. They aren’t playing Brandon Roy, Manu Ginobili but playing Kobe Bryant. Grant Hill met the floor a bunch of times including in the final seconds when Kobe crossed him up and Hill slipped. The Suns need to stop Kobe for they stop anyone else. Kobe runs the Lakers win. Kobe nonexistent, the Suns have a better chance.

I don’t think this series is over though. I think the Suns will regroup and next game will be a lot closer at the Staples Center. The Suns can score at will and when they are on their is no stopping them. Hey they shot 49% from the field. They just need to guard a lot better and keep LA on their feet.

Game two is scheduled for Wednesday May 19th. Lakers hold a 1-0 series lead as the Suns look to steal a game away. Maybe they should call up the Celtics for a little bit of advice on how to do that.

-Tim Dimas

Tags: , , , , , , ,

After coming out of the gate hot, going up by as many as 20 points, the Boston Celtics held off the Orlando Magic 92-88 to take a 1-0 lead in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics, led by Ray Allen, who was looking more like his movie alter-ego Jesus Shuttlesworth, stole an important game on the road. Allen’s 25 points came on 8-16 shooting, including four key free throws in the final minute to seal the deal for Boston. Along with Allen, Paul Pierce added 22 points and 9 rebounds.

From the beginning, both sides were playing sloppily, Orlando and Boston alike unable to get much going in the halfcourt. These turnovers allowed Boston to get out to their big early lead, highlighting a key they had been looking to exploit: converting defense into offense. But, it cannot all be attributed to defense, as many Magic turnovers came unforced, lazily throwing the ball out of bounds or losing it entirely.

The brightest spot for Orlando was Vince Carter, who has 23 points on 9-18 shooting. Jameer Nelson, running the point, added 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Though it looked like Orlando was out of it from the beginning, they were able to shake off the rust in the 4th quarter and make it a respectable game. Outscoring Boston 30-18 in the 4th, they had the game within 2 in the final minute.

Surprisingly, Rasheed Wallace turned his game on for the first time this season, playing stellar defense on Dwight Howard and limiting him to just 13 points on an abysmal 3-10 from the field. The Celtics are using the same, smart technique that teams used to employ to beat Shaq on the Lakers. When he gets the ball down low, hack him and send him to the line. Don’t let him throw down on you. Make him earn it from the stripe.

And it seems to be working. The platoon defense of Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, and Kevin Garnett sent Howard to the line 12 times, where he made seven. When you eliminate Howard’s ability to dominate down low, you take an important facet away from Orlando’s offense.

This will probably be the most intriguing series of an otherwise boring playoffs. Boston has reason to be scared because Orlando only really played the final quarter. If things had been clicking for them the whole game, the story would be different. Most times, 15 turnovers don’t translate into a playoff win on the road. Boston will have to clean their act up if they want to take this series from a very skilled, yet a bit rusty, Magic team.

-Dan Martin

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It’s that time of the year. Two teams who worked all season to get to this point and are four games away from their ultimate goal and eight games from achieving their ultimate goal, the NBA Championship. In the Western Conference Finals we have the Phoenix Suns, the run and gun team of the league and the Los Angeles Lakers, the team everyone wants to hate because they win every year but root for them because they want to say they rooted for the champs. Lets back-track for a moment and explain how these two teams got to where they are.

The Phoenix Suns finished with 54 wins and a #3 seed in the Western Conference. In the first round they took on the Brandon Roy-less Portland Trail Blazers winning the series 4-2. Yes, I said the Roy-less Trail Blazers and, yes, he did play but it wasn’t the Brandon Roy who could take over the game. Eight days removed from knee surgery, it was a surprise he even went. Even so, the Suns won the series and would go and face the monkey that has been on their back since the 2004 playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns would shock probably the whole basketball world by defeating the Spurs in sweep fashion. Hey, even I had to check my computer three days later to make sure there wasn’t a virus going on. Never the less, they now face the Lakers.

For the Lakers, they finished the season with 57 wins and the #1 seed in the Western Conference; no surprise there. They would go and play the surprising team of the year, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the first round. While most experts predicted an easy series, Kevin Durant and company gave the Lakers all they could handle, running the series to six games, and almost seven, had Pau Gasol not hit the game winning lay-in. The Lakers would win the series 4-2 and face the Playoff Injured Utah Jazz. The Jazz played without Andre Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur, both out with injuries. The Lakers would match the Suns and sweep the Jazz.

Now on to their match up. Here are some keys for both teams if they want to win this series.

Suns

Don’t try to match the Lakers – The Lakers are the far more superior team, talent-wsie. With Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and of course Kobe Bryant, The Lakers are the favorites to win this series. Not so fast though. If the Suns can keep to their strengths and run the floor how they like to, this could be a long series for LA.

Steve Nash from the beginning – Nash isn’t young anymore but that hasn’t slowed him down. He has been on a complete tear this post season in both series against Portland and San Antonio, why stop now? Nash needs to play his game, get to the lanes like he always does and either get his two points or feed it easily to one of the four players on the court.

Don’t get slowed down – The Suns aren’t known for letting the shot clock run down. They run a drill in practice in which they have to score in 7 seconds or less. The Suns need to run and use their athleticism to over-match the Lakers, who do have some athleticism, but aren’t known for their transition defense–big plus for Phoenix.

Lakers

Get big – The Suns aren’t a huge team. Aside from Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix is a relatively small team. With the twin towers of Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers need to throw the ball down low and use their big men in the paint.

Kobe Bean Bryant –At the end of the day, the Lakers win when Kobe is on his A game or even on is B+ game. Kobe had some difficulties in the first series against the Thunder, but against the Jazz he was on a tear so for LA’s sake, they better hope Kobe goes Black Mamba all series long.

Transition Defense & Pace of the Game – I know that’s two things in one, but those are the two main components of stopping the Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash & Co. do not want to play a half-court game. They aren’t as effective that way as when they run loose. So, if the Lakers can slow them down, then the Suns have a lot to worry about and the Lakers will be smooth sailing.

Key Match Up – Kobe Bryant vs Grant Hill.

Grant Hill has to be ready to bump knees with Kobe, literally. I know fans out there will say Hill doesn’t have knees anymore but he has to go rent a pair if the Suns will have a chance in upsetting the best player in the league and his team. We have seen what happens when Kobe gets disrupted in a game. Grant needs to be a hill and slow Kobe down and keep the ball out of his hands. This will be the match-up that will be a huge factor in the series.

Prediction – As much as I would love an underdog series, I just don’t see the Lakers losing. Sorry Suns fans, but the ageless wonder Grant Hill and the two time MVP Steve Nash will not be advancing out of this round to go to the Finals. Look for the Lakers to take this in 6 games, but these will be some of the toughest 6 games LA has played in a while.

-Tim Dimas

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the beginning of the season, analysts and experts alike were picking the Cavaliers, led by reigning MVP LeBron James, to win the NBA title, and deservedly so. In the off-season, they added Shaq to a solid core of young players, including point guards Mo Williams and Delonte West. Half way through the year, they added swingman Antwan Jamison, a guy who seemed to be a Pippen-esque complement to LeBron and the NBA championship looked all but signed, sealed, and delivered.

Cleveland came into the playoffs as the 1 seed in the East, dominating their first round playoff series against Chicago, winning 4-1. Questions arose about LeBron’s elbow, which he injured in the final game against the Bulls, but, still, everything was looking up for the upcoming Conference Semi-finals against Boston.

Because who were these Boston Celtics? Yes, champions from 2008, but undoubtedly an aged team. The Big Three of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen all seemed a bit slower, often-injured, and overall not as capable of winning a 7 game series as the Cavs. But, what happens? The youngest gun in the Celtics holster, Rajon Rondo, plays up to the All-Pro caliber that many believe he has in him, and the Celtics win the series. On they move to take on Orlando, the new favorite to win the East.

In this corner, opposite the Boston Celtics stand the Orlando Magic. They have flown through the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats and then the Atlanta Hawks to get to this point. The key for them has been their point guard, Jameer Nelson, who was absent for their run to the Finals last year, and seems to be back in full force this year. This is how I look at the series:

FOR BOSTON

KEEP YOUR SWAG TURNED ON
The reason the Celtics won the championship in 2008 was not only because they were the most talented team, but also because they KNEW they were the most talented team. I’m not one to wallow in the intangibles and how this affects that and this affects that, but there was something about the 2008 Boston Celtics that set them apart from the rest. They finally put together a team that was capable of winning a championship and they showed that every time they stepped on the floor. Against the Cavs, they began to show that swagger again, playing stingy defense that suffocated the potent game of MVP LeBron James and turned defense into offense. That brings me to my next point…

TURN DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE
The Celtics, and Rondo in particular, did a fantastic job of forcing turnovers against the Cavaliers and, not only that, but running the floor and turning them into points. With scorers on Orlando like Nelson, Vince Carter, and Rashard Lewis, who can all put points on the board in a hurry, defense is where the Celtics are going to excel. It won them a championship in 2008, and it’s the same script this year.

LET RONDO RUN THE SHOW
Rajon Rondo has shown that he can be “the guy” more than anyone else on this Celtics team. There were question marks even during the ’08 title run as to whether or not he could orchestrate the offense of a team under the pressure of a post-season. There is little more than a 29 point, 18 rebound, and 13 assist game to prove the critics wrong. With no one predicting it, he outplayed LeBron and he is the number one reason the Celtics stand where they are right now.

FOR ORLANDO

KEEP HOWARD OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE
If there was one sore spot that you could find in Orlando’s four game sweep of Charlotte, it was the fact that Dwight Howard, the most talented and most important player on this team, was on the bench in foul trouble. Luckily for them, in the following series against Atlanta, Howard learned his lesson and played a smarter brand of basketball that kept him on the floor. If there is a place that Orlando can dominate Boston, it is down low with Howard, on both the offensive and defensive ends. But, this all doesn’t matter if he can’t stay on the floor.

USE ALL OF YOUR WEAPONS
Orlando is lucky because there are legitimately three to four scoring options on the floor at a time for them. Nelson, Lewis, Carter, and Howard can all carry the offense. Because of this, there’s no need to think that one guy has to do it all. If Carter happens to be off, try Lewis, try Nelson. If Howard isn’t coming up big, spread the offense around and success will come somewhere.

LIMIT TURNOVERS
Just like it was a key for the Celtics to get points off of turnovers, it’s going to be Orlando’s job to be smart with the basketball. An offense that runs off of creating turnovers can be deadly for the opponent because 10-0 or 12-0 runs are not uncommon. When things snowball, it gets bad quickly. Nelson, at the point, needs to distribute the ball but keep it away from the sneaky hands of Rondo, Tony Allen, and Paul Pierce.

KEY MATCHUP
NELSON vs. RONDO
These two guys have been the centers of attention for their respective teams, and now we as fans get the pleasure of seeing them go head-to-head. Rondo, the defensive wizard, will try to limit the offensive explosion that Nelson has put on lately. On the other side, Nelson will also have to limit what Rondo has done offensively (impressively so) of late. My view is, whoever gets the best of this matchup will win the series. That is how important the point guard position has become.

PREDICTION
At almost every position, these two teams match up perfectly. Both have great offensive options, a strong bench, and the ability to score. The difference for me is who will play the best defense and score off of that. For that reason, I’m going to take the underdog Celtics in 7. I think they will find a way to get Howard in foul trouble, moving his presence out of the lane, which will benefit both their offensive and defensive efforts. In an NBA post-season that has been relatively uneventful, this will prove to be one of the best series to watch. Enjoy.

-Dan Martin