The Celtics are a great defensive team, there’s no doubt about that. But the problem is their team is built to challenge the Eastern Conference and not deal with Kobe. They have players that can check Dwyane Wade (Ray Allen and Tony Allen), and they have players that can beat up Dwight Howard (Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett). Hell, they even have someone that can contain LeBron James (i.e. Paul Pierce). But unlike 2008, where Boston had a primary defensive stopper in James Posey, they are now scrambling to try and find any kind of answer for the Black Mamba.
The difficult thing is that if Kobe is playing at a high level, and getting to the foul line like he was in Game 1, there’s nobody that can stop him from at least getting 30. And when you add weapons like Pau Gasol (23 points), Andrew Bynum (10 points) and Ron Artest (15 points), problems begin to arise. Here are the three major ones for Boston…
1. No answer for Kobe
No Posey equals no containing Kobe; it’s really that simple. If Ray Allen has to take the bulk of the Kobe guarding duties, he is going to get in foul trouble. Taking the C’s best shooter out of his rhythm – and ultimately out of his game – trickles down and affects so many other things that the Celtics do offensively and defensively.
2. No lane for Rondo
The Lakers were able to clog up the lane and make it difficult for Rondo to do what he does best – get in there and create havoc. Also, if Allen is in foul trouble, the Celtics are limited with who can replace him. We all know Doc would love to play Michael Finley more to give them someone who can stretch the floor, but as we saw last night, Finley just doesn’t have the foot speed to stay in front of the Lakers’ second unit players. If Boston doesn’t have shooters out there that can stretch the floor, like Posey and Eddie House in 2008, then the Lakers can help more and with their size and length – making it difficult for Rondo to penetrate.
Because Boston has seemingly no answers for Kobe, they are forced to help, sometimes doubling him in the post or off penetration. Once a big like Perkins or Garnett has to step up and help, it makes it easier for the Lakers’ bigs to get to rebounds because there’s nobody there to box them out. Case in point: Gasol had 14 rebounds in Game 1, which totaled the same as Perkins, Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis combined.
What do you think the Celtics need to address before Game 2?
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