Well that certainly could have ended better. The biggest problem I had with that game was how very many chances to win we flitted, fumbled and bumbled away. The Lakers still have the edge but it feels like Miami got some mean to ’em and are gaining momentum. No box score stuff tonight, just vibes and notions.
- Jimmy “fucking” Butler. No need to mince words. The dude is a superstar and Spo’s quote about him slumping over near the end and ‘that’s what a champion looks like before they’re a champion’ or something to that effect, rings true. Butler was superb and when he’s playing one of his nova games, white hot and impossible to contain. The Lakers have to keep him off the foul line and force him to be a jump shooter and not a LeBron/Pippen hybrid like he was tonight. Just have to do a better job containing one aspect of his game and forcing him into shots he doesn’t like. Easier said than done. My hope is that the coaching staff that figured out the riddles of Lillard, Harden and Murray have one more solution in ’em to figure out Butler. But I must say, I have mad respect for Jimmy’s game.
- Hoping Davis is as healthy as possible for Sunday evening. That foot injury may not have kept him from playing but it certainly hindered his aggression. We need him to do more, especially on defense where he sagged off, stopped guarding Butler as much, and didn’t demand the ball down the stretch. We need him to be the next great Laker on Sunday.
- LeBron’s most excellent effort. James was a joy to watch tonight, in fact I wish he had taken that last shot and let everyone crash the boards. I don’t want to say James has to do more, too…but…he does. Especially if Davis is hobbled and less aggressive like he was tonight. I just don’t know how much there can be left to /eave out on that court. James and Butler had an epic Jedi Knight light-saber duel in the bowels of Cloud City. He needs Han, Leia, Chewie and the droids to show up and lend some aid.
- The Laker bench can’t be outplayed by Kendrick Nunn. 14 to 14 was the bench points scoring (I know, I know, I said no box score stuff) the problem was only two Miami players came off the bench and only one of them scored. Both benches had 10 rebounds, again 2 against 4 and Miami played us even. Assists? Lakers won that one, and should considering Rondo comes off the bench but the difference was only +3 (8-5). Our bench had 2 more steals (3-1) and they tied us in blocked shots ( 1 apiece). The Laker bench turned the ball over 7 times, the Heat 1. While we don’t need the bench to save us the 4 of them need to outplay the 2 Heat bench players, and they need to take care of the ball. The bench defense is clutch, the effort is solid, I’m a huge Caruso guy, a longtime Rondo fan and been pulling for Kuzma as the last of the old Laker future in the pre-King era. But here, in the NBA Finals, they need to do more, play harder and play better.
- Wipe the slate clean. It’s one game, it does not a season make. It only extends the series, gives Miami another shot and provides 36 hours of news fodder about “what the Lakers can blah blah blah”. It’s not rocket science what they need to do: the riddle is how they can accomplish those tasks. Keep Butler off the line by sagging off more, let him shoot 18-20 foot jumpers, that’s a win for the defense. When Nunn comes in, stick Caruso on him and shut him down. AC seemed able to keep Nunn under wraps, especially in the second half. Be aggressive to start not LeBron James teammates. We need to start with some fire, make the Heat fight up a hill for a few quarters, wear them down and finish them on Sunday. No need to hold back, don’t save anything else, lay it out there and play unchained.
Might finally get a prediction right and be able to shave and get a hair cut, got quite the playoff look going. Rock in paradise, Edward, you were as LA as it gets and we could use some of that rocking on Sunday.