Sunday, June 07, 2009

Making Adjustments For Game 2

After another break, it's finally time for game two of the NBA finals! I'm ready, but I want to know what's going to be different in this game, don't you?

Magic Offense
The Magic need just a couple things to improve their offense. They need to run more high pick and rolls with their point guards, space the floor a little better and try to establish Rashard Lewis earlier.

I re-watched most of the first half of game one today. One thing I saw early was how great the high pick and roll with Rafer Alston worked. Especially early in the first quarter. I only remember one time where that play was well defended and Alston's penetration was rendered ineffective. Other than that, Alston got an open lane for a layup, or he could set up an open shot for one of their shooters.

Until that play is defended differently, the Magic need to take advantage of Derek Fisher guarding Rafer Alston. Fisher went under the picks, and then Alston burned him with his speed. That must be run more, especially when Fisher is in.

The Magic also have to be more aware of how they should space the floor. Stan Van Gundy said they had to space the floor better. Some of the passes they made to shooters were too high. That may be because of the passer, but it could also be because of the shooter not being in the right spot. Both the passer and the shooter need to be on the same page. That way they can put up more open three point shots.

One of their shooters who has to be more involved is Rashard Lewis. Looking at the shot chart from game one, you can see that Rashard's two made shots are three's. That won't get it done for Orlando. He needs to get some easy shots early in the paint. I would get him those shots through post ups. Problem is he is matched up with either Pau Gasol, or Lamar Odom. What they have to do is get a switch off of a pick and roll. I remember one possession in game one where he was matched up with Sasha Vujacic. He was fronted successfully by Vujacic, but the idea was right.

I would also consider stealing this play from the Lakers: Rashard comes down the floor, comes in from the left. A pick is set for him, let's say Dwight sets it. Then Rashard comes around in an attempt to get him an opportunity to catch a lob pass and finish. That could get him going. Anything easy will be the key to getting a big game from Rashard.

The Lakers don't really need any big time adjustments. They really need just a similar game plan and intensity level. They didn't play a perfect game one by any means. No team has every played a perfect game, ever. So, it's about bringing 100% effort.

That means getting the loose balls and making all the hustle plays. They know that Orlando is going to bring a much better overall effort into this game. It's as simple as matching that effort and executing to the best of their abilities on both ends. I can't make it any harder than that.

Points in the Last Two Minutes of Quarters
This is an important stat for both teams. It really didn't matter much battle in game one though (because it ended up being a blowout). They canceled each other out in the last two minutes of quarters. I feel like this game will be a lot closer throughout. That makes scoring at the end of quarters very important for momentum and attitude of each team. I will continue to track this throughout the series, too.

All of the adjustments will certainly make for an entertaining game two. Make sure you watch the game; 8 pm Eastern time, on ABC.

I want to know what my readers think Orlando should do on defense. Should they double Kobe? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments!

I will be tweeting during tonight's game, also!

Photos by: Mark J. Terrill (Kobe Photo), Chris Carlson (Dwight Photo)