Some quick thoughts on Game 3, which I watched last night.

  • MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL MORE SHOTS FOR GASOL
  • Seriously, Pau Gasol should be getting more shots. Like I’ve said a bazillion times before, you get the ball into Pau and he makes shit happen. I know it. You all know it. ESPN knows it. Apparently Kobe Bryant is the only one who doesnt. Kobe had an amazing first quarter, granted, but shot a horrible 4-15 from then on. That’s 26% over three quarters of basketball. You wanna know what Pau Gasol shot for the entire game? 82%. For the game. If he had taken as many shots as Kobe he would have over 40 points. But he’ll never take as many shots as Kobe Bryant, right? I like what Henry Abbot of TrueHoop said: “I’m watching for the ratio of Bryant field-goal attempts to Gasol field-goal attempts. If that ratio is greater than 3:1, Orlando wins. If it’s below, then Game 4 is a dogfight”. Except it shouldn’t even be 2:1. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be 1:1.
  • The Magic shot the freaken lights out in this game. It was THE BEST shooting performance in NBA history (fact, 62.5% better than the ’91 Bulls 61.7%). And they only won by four points. I see a problem with this. Statistics and the realms of possibility dictate that you cannot have THE BEST shooting performance in NBA history on back-to-back games. I don’t have time to figure out the exact math, but the odds of that happening are one in 49 billion or thereabouts. The Magic will probably shoot well in Game 3, but not that well. As they appear to be incapable of stopping the Lakers (who have topped 100 points in all three games), Orlando will have to rely on LA shooting a lot worse in Game 3 to have a chance of winning.
  • That is not to say the Lakers have been any more successful in stopping Orlando. Clearly they haven’t, they let them shoot 62% in Game 3. Since when does a title-winning team (assuming the Lakers win) allow its opponent to shoot that well in a Finals game? Doesn’t seem like the hallmark of a champion does it? But that is just one of the enigmas of this Lakers team, a team which doesn’t fit the typical mold of NBA champion we’ve come to expect. “Defense wins championships” yet the Lakers are notorious for mental lapses, blown assignments and failing to protect big leads. You’re not supposed to win a title unless you have those things down pat. Kobe Bryant is not supposed to win a title until he sorts out that hero-complex and is able to trust his teammates in pressure situations instead of bundling through double-teams and ignoring open shooters. But because of sheer talent and depth and incredible versatility and Kobe’s insane will to win, they’ll probably still win it all. Just not by the book. It’s like competing for Miss Universe when you are drop-dead gorgeous and the hottest looking female specimen on the planet, yet you don’t play the flute or write poetry and can’t debate world poverty to save your life. You just look really really really hot.  Is that enough to win it all? In Miss Universe, no. In the NBA? We’ll find out in a week.
  • Everybody needs to cut Dwight Howard some slack, including you Kareem. Barely one month ago I was questioning the mettle of Dwight Howard, questioning his ability to truly lead and inspire a Magic team that had lacked fire and leadership presence in their past two playoff exits. Then Dwight catapulted his game to another level, put down the reigning champs, served up an playoff classic with that Game 6 against Cleveland and Lebron. Dwight Howard arrived during these playoffs, let’s not forget that. Yes he has struggled against the Lakers, but I attribute that far more to the Lakers complete team defense buy-in. They are forcing Dwight to make big plays and big decisions, and he’s probably not handling it the best. But the guy is only 23 years old and playing in his first Finals. Let’s wait until the series is over and he’s served up five or six mediocre games before we start bashing him. Becuase that thing I said about the Magic not being able to top their shooting in Game 3? Well, they won’t. But there is one guy that will be able to top his Game 3 effort. Dwight Howard. So what you gonna do Dwight?

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