NBA Roundtable

Cavs vs Lakers Thoughts

In 2010 NBA Playoffs, Game Log / Recap, General NBA on January 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

Thoughts on the game last night

Lakers Offensive Matchup Issues

The Lakers offense does a pitiful job of exploiting the Cavs defensive weaknesses.

Cleveland has poor quickness amongst their big men. That flaw makes the Cavs vulnerable in transition, against pick and roll plays, against opposing big men who have jump shots and can take them out to the perimeter, against opposing bigs who have quick face up games and beat them off the bounce, and are vulnerable in team defense scenarios against quick ball + player movement.

Unfortunately for LA, they do a poor job of exploiting any and all of those weaknesses. They also do a poor job of exploiting the mismatch Pau Gasol had against JJ Hickson which is nothing new for the Triangle offense and Phil Jackson.

The Lakers instead try to play through the post. Both with their big men and with their wings. This allows Shaquille O’Neal and the rest of the Cavs big men not only to stay within their comfort zone but to maximize their defensive strengths. It allows Cleveland to shrink the floor all while defending their post players straight up effectively.

The result is a misfiring Lakers offense.

Last Night

So, here is where we are now

  • Lakers have a good-to-very good offense but don’t utilize their options fully and match up very poorly with the Cavs defense. That puts their offense in the toilet.
  • Cleveland have a good offense but the Lakers likewise matchup very well with them defensively. They have the length inside to defend Shaq and to trouble dribble penetration from LeBron and Co. The Lakers also have Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant to throw at LeBron James. The result is a poor Cavs offense.
  • Overall, the two teams are evenly matched up at this point.

Which brings us to Mo Williams who sat out with an injury last night. Mo Williams has a massive quickness advantage against Derek Fisher and, as all Lakers fans know, quick high scoring jump shooting point guards cause their defense all worlds of trouble. That added weapon firmly gives Cleveland the advantage in this matchup.

If these two teams were to meet in the NBA Finals, Cleveland should be considered the favourite.

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  1. Dave,

    If these two teams were to meet in the NBA Finals this season, with their full teams healthy, IMO, the Lakers should [and will] be considered “the favourite” to win the title.

    On the other hand … if you simply switched the respective head coaches for these two teams, it would be a different story altogether [with the Cavaliers being considered “the favourite”].

    Until Mike Brown demonstrates that he has the ability to coax 4 consecutive best-of-7 playoff series victories from this group of Cavaliers … something which Dr. Phil has already demonstrated 10 times in his illustrious career to-date with the Bulls and Lakers … there is little reason [relatively speaking] for LeBron & Co. to believe that they are really capable of earning Ring No. 1 later on this spring, in a match-up vs “Showtime.v3”.

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