Thursday, June 4, 2009

Game One Lessons: Mid-Range Game & Focus

I'm not a coach, I'm not a player, but with years of watching basketball has taught me a couple things, such as team defense, what constitutes a foul (however, flagrants you'll have to get back to me), and in general what makes a team or players successful. This is why I love basketball, because its the one sport that you can watch and completely understand what's going on, until you watch "Kobe Doin Work."

That being said, I've read a lot of Couch Potato Point Guard reports, and all though many credit the Lakers defense and Kobe for going bananas as the reason for the Lakers superb game, these guys are missing a couple of things that gave the Lakers the edge.

Starting with, the Magic or how they call them in L.A. the Tricks, inability to make the mid-range jumper. Yes, we all can agree that the Lakers took away Dwight, and the three, because they would constantly stand perfectly inbetween Dwight and the shooter, but there are many ways to skin a cat in basketball. The best being, the mid range jumper, from either the side (like Udonlis Haslem via Karl Malone) and maybe trying a little Pick-and-Roll like Kobe did, to hit the elbow jumper.

The problem is that the Magic have shot so many threes, that they have compelty forgetten the arc, the angle, and the mentality necessary to get those inside shots. Too many times last night I noticed the Lakers denying the 3 and a Magic player dipping right inside the 3 point line only to brick. The inability to hit this shot is due to the Magic three pointer centric offense, that requires players to spot up and hit a long distance dagger. That being said, it only creates a false sense of shooting ability for some, while making others nervous because they simply haven't practiced the shot. Just check out the shot chart of Hedo Turkalou and Rashad Lewis and notice where the misses are represented by 'X's:

The great scorers don't restrict themselves to either the paint or the 3 point line. Scoring is fluid, where you become a perpetual scoring machine as you go to the basic, able to hit a shot from everywhere in between the three point line and painted area as you make your way to the basket. That was Kobe.

For Dwight and the rest of the Magic, they were too star struck by the big stage. In my last post I talked about the difference between Lebron and Kobe, being simply seriousness. Well the same thing can be said about last night. You simply can not win a championship when you are not completly focused in your mission. Check out this video of Dwight and Kobe before the game (only watching the first minute will get my point across:

Kobe really says nothing to Dwight, while the referees try to throw in a random comment/joke just to make sense of it all. Now check out Dwight probably a couple days earlier shooting a Vitamin Water Ad all because he got his feelings hurt by the Kobe vs Lebron fiasco:

And in case you were wondering if Dwight had this same comedic act after the game, just check out his press:

Remind you of anyone:

One of the worst post game blow out speeches I have ever heard. But he learned his lesson, and now he's back in the Finals showing the focus necessary to win a championship (with the everyday working man attire)...(Wait check out how Kobe handled the guy in the big yellow and purple hat talking about helmets around the 4:40 mark):

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