2009 Finals Game 4: Open Thread

Talk about game 4 of the Finals here. Can Orlando tie things up? Do they need to shoot the lights out to do so (66.4% eFG in game 3)? If the Lakers win is the series over? Any adjustments you think either team should make?

How about some silly bets:

  • Alston or Kobe: Who will have a higher eFG%?
  • Over/Under: Dwight Howard 2.5 blocked shots.
  • Over/Under: Gasol 20.5 points.
  • Over/Under: JJ Redick 4:59.5 minutes played.
  • Over/Under: 99.5 points combined at halftime
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    Mike Kurylo

    Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

    33 thoughts to “2009 Finals Game 4: Open Thread”

    1. I am taking the over on Dwight Howard getting 25 rebounds I think…

      The Magic have made a lot of dumb mistakes so far, turnovers, fouls etc, they shoudl be up by more….

      Also, Mark Jackson, as always, drives me insane. I love his questions. “Who comes in when Dwight Howard is out, that is the question.” Hmm, isn’t that your job Mark?

    2. I think Redick actually blocked Kobe’s shot back there, which of course couldn’t have made me happier, although the Mamba is playing great tonight…..

      His reputation seems to be turning upwards slightly, amazing what being on a good team can do to you….

      Good game, pretty intense, and I love watching Gortat, the white Dwight….

    3. It’s not quite watching the ECF and imagining LeBron in blue and orange, but I get excited every time Gortat doesn something good and cringe when he makes a mistake.

    4. Yeah, well Los Angeles got plenty of foul calls their way at home.

      Just a good game so far, save for Mark Jackson’s commentary. It’s funny you’d think being an announcers for the Finals on national television, he’d have someone to coach him. But he’s still using that marbles comment over and over again. Can someone buy him a sports thesaurus? Do kids these days even know what marbles are?

    5. Although right after writing that comment, Jackson apologizes for criticizing Van Gundy for keeping in Nelson. I have to say I agreed with Jackson at the time. Nelson seemed content to stay on the perimeter, but right now he’s breaking down the defense, which is exactly what you’d want him to do.

    6. Ariza has been amazing…

      The Magic are a really dumb team. Crazy long and athletic, but very low basketball IQ….

    7. “Have to say, I would be pretty pissed about all these fouls if I were a laker fan…”

      Really? I don’t think the Lakers have much to complain about. The refereeing is just really frustrating to me overall. If anything, though, I would say the Lakers are benefiting more than the Magic.

      Part of it is the b-ball IQ you mention. You can tell the Lakers play near Hollywood the way they sell fouls and make slick moves on D without getting calls (except Bynum, who can’t get away with anything…), while the Magic can’t sell anything.

      One thing I’ve been wanting to mention and have the opportunity with this topic is that Ariza and Fisher are soooooooo physical on the perimeter. I don’t have a problem with physical play generally, but the rules are such that Fisher and Ariza could be called for a foul almost every defensive possession: hand-checks, body bumps, reach-ins, and shoving all over the place (Ariza wasn’t so bad in game 4 compared to previous games, but I thought Fisher was more physical than usual). I guess they just have the IQ to get away with it, but few other players would be able to.

      Another thing that really bugs me is that flinching and flopping distort the refs calls so much. Flinch or flop with contact and you usually get the call. Exact same contact and you stand your ground… no call. Kobe getting pushed from behind by Dahntey Jones comes to mind as the most obvious example.
      When was the last time you saw them call an intentional flop?

    8. If I were Jameer Nelson I’d be sick to my stomach this morning for probably costing my team the game and a chance at the championship. Sorry for the yelling but HOW CAN YOU GIVE DEREK FISHER A WIDE OPEN 3 IN THAT SITUATION?!!?!?!? It’s not like it was a kick-out — he played him for a good 2 seconds like it was the 1st quarter!

      And I still can’t figure out why coaches don’t foul EVERY time when they’re up by 3 in that situation. Just terrible clock/game management by Van Gundy (after a very good series for him I think) and the rest of the Magic.

    9. “If I were Jameer Nelson I’d be sick to my stomach this morning for probably costing my team the game and a chance at the championship”

      Sorry, I can’t put all the blame on Nelson. Hedo missed 3 out of 4 foul shots late in the 4th (and I turned to my son and made the usual Breen comment “those will come back to haunt the Magic”) and of course if Howard makes only 1 of 2 FT’s, the game is over. They were up 5 points with 30+seconds left and couldn’t seal the deal, just an unbelievable choke job that ended the series. Really a shame, we could have had a really interesting game 5 and maybe a game 7 for “all the marbles” (right Mark Jackson?)

    10. FT really did kill them, which is probably why they didn’t want to turn it into a FT shooting contest by prolonging the game and fouling. Still unless I missed some super screen or pick or something, Fisher was so wide open its almost the plan was “leave Fisher so open he’ll be compelled to shoot, he sucks and will miss, we get rebound and make the FT and win.”

    11. David Lee invited to Team USA mini camp. In the running to be on the next olympic squad.

    12. The Magic have made what seems like an amazing number of clutch shots during the playoffs, but at the end of these games with LA I feel like I am watching a Knicks game. I sort of know who is going to win even if my team is ahead . Maybe it’s LA’s finals and overall playoff experience that is contributing. I felt the same way in the Denver series.

      Do we have a statistic for how many times Knicks fans have cursed Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas during these playoffs whenever Trevor Ariza made another open 3 pointer, great defensive play, or outhustled the other team for a loose ball?

    13. Just one more thing on the Nelson issue — as a fan I can forgive physical failures (ie. missed free throws) FAR more than I can forgive obviously stupid play. And as much as the whole free-throw missing Orlando team is responsible for the loss, you just cannot give someone a wide-open 3 when it’s the ONLY shot that can hurt you.

      So I guess in essence it was a truly well-rounded choke job – both physical and mental mistakes.

      Meanwhile, why WAS Nelson in the game so much at the end? I thought Alston played great for the most part.

    14. “just an unbelievable choke job that ended the series.”

      Very true, well put. Another question I have is why Alston wasn’t in there for the Fisher 3? He’s longer than Nelson and I would just say generally a better defender. Or maybe go with a bigger line-up so that Fisher’s got a 6-5 hand in his face from Lee or Redick or someone.

    15. The failure to foul is a head-scratcher. Blatantly wrong move. Likewise the failure to challenge the shot- looked like he was he worried Fisher was going to drive past him, like he didn’t know the score.

      Failure to hit FTs was frustrating but more forgiveable.. .

      Orlando has squandered enough opportunities… they’re done for the year.

    16. more draft thoughts:

      The new draft order puts us in a precarious position:

      1. Griffin
      2. Harden
      3. Thabeet
      4. Rubio
      5. Curry
      6. Evans
      7. Flynn

      A lot of people have Holliday at our spot, but I’m not feeling it. All of his potential is based on measurement and not what he’s done on the floor. We would also have Jennings, Hill, and DeRozan to choose from at that spot – all of which I would prefer based on their on-court success (Jennings is a huge question mark though.)
      I think an interesting strategy in this case would be to trade down to the 12-16 spot and take Lawson. His stats are unbelievable and he’s proven he can run a team and win a championship. AND we could pick up anther asset in the process. Maybe we draft DeRozan and then, if Lawson is still around, swap with Chicago at 16 to get Lawson and their #26 pick (or a 1st rounder next year.) Or to the Sixers for their pick and Speights. If Walsh really likes Lawson, it could be the way to go.

    17. If the draft plays out like this I would be totally open to trading down – God forbid we take Flynn at #8. The only thing that makes me feel better is Ford suggesting that the Knicks consider Mullens in that spot – in other words, maybe the latest mock is just completely divorced from reality.

      Jennings would be a reasonable pick at #8 – I have a hunch that Jennings will end up one of the five best players in the draft. You could even defend a Holliday pick — he was disappointing but still solid at the point for a freshman, good assist and rebound #s, plus UCLA players seem to consistently outperform their college numbers. It’s certainly true of Westbrook, Mbah a Moute and Aron Afflalo, and Love was just as good as advertised.

      But there are a lot of guys who would be terrific value in the mid-first, 12-20 range. Lawson is probably top of my list. Jeff Teague, also good. Blair, although his health issues are pretty big. Or a more conservative pick, like Clark or Terrence Williams, or even Chase Budinger… To make that trade and nab a second draft pick, even if it’s next year – that could be a solid move.

      I have to dissent on DeMar DeRozan – I don’t think anyone can make a case that he is one of the ten best small forwards in the draft, much less one of the ten best players. I know he was super-hyped coming out of high school but he did nothing at USC.

    18. I was glad to read this in the “Trade Buzz” column…

      “A number of agents have approached the Knicks with a proposition of sorts: You promise to draft my guy and I won’t work him out for teams drafting above the Knicks. Why? Not only are the marketing opportunities off the charts for players in New York, but many players really want to play for Mike D’Antoni.”


    19. While searching for info on draft prospects for the 2nd round pick we don’t have this year (D-Nice trade?), I came across this gem…


      “Semen Shashkov 6’9” SF Russia — A talented kid with nice speed and skills. Still leaves you wanting more…” I didn’t write it. http://www.nbadraft.net/node/6910

      I found this name funny enough to end my KB hiatus. Ess-Dog says: “You were gone?”

      BTW Mike K, love what you’ve done with the place. Forums gone?

      Funny thing about the draft is that every year we seem just 1-2 picks lower than we want to get the players we like. Last year it was, “If only we were in the top 4.” This year is much the same. Drafts work out that way sometime but honestly isnt every player after BG something of a project in some way or another? Rubio needs time and muscle. Thabeet needs foot work drills. Harden has question marks. Evans has all the physical tools but can they come together? Can Curry play point? Is Flynn big enough? Is Jennings ready? Can Derozan shoot from deep? Is Clark worth the gamble?

      I love the draft.

    20. Trading down could be a good call, but I guess you have to have a pretty good feel for where Lawson’s going to go–if they trade down I’d prefer they do it to get the guy they want. From what I’ve read it might come down to Walsh vs. D’Antoni if Curry’s off the board: Walsh likes Lawson, the “coaching staff” likes Holiday…

      Jennings calls out Rubio: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/draft2009/news/story?id=4255421
      On the one hand, maybe he’s right and just a competitor whose mouth put him in a bad spot. However, the quotes really turn me off and get me thinking about another much hyped high school PG: Stephon Marbury. Basically, to paraphrase, Jennings says “all Rubio does is pass the ball. I shoot better than him. He’s not that good. I am the best.” A PG who passes the ball, thinks through the game, and makes his teammates better??? God forbid.
      Given that he couldn’t qualify for college, there have to be serious questions about his intellect and ability to learn the game at the PG position. (It seems to have slipped BJ’s mind that Rubio was injured a good part of the season and his numbers indicate that he wasn’t 100% upon returning, kind of like saying you’re better than Jameer Nelson based on his performance in the Finals…) Definitely doesn’t sound like someone you want running your team, but maybe it was just youthful indiscretion or competitive fire. I guess NBA teams that get to actually speak to him have a better feel.

    21. Right Ted,
      I also saw where BJ called out Holliday as ‘not a true point guard.’ I don’t ever remember a prospect calling out other prospects like this right before the draft. To me it says immature mental makeup (if he’s so much better, why can’t he participate in any drills with other prospects?) I think he’s also had a bad agent who has had him in all the wrong places (wrong euro team, not at the euro combine.) I think that’s why he’s dropping after being top ten for a long time. I agree he could be a steal at 12, 13 though.

      I still think we will go with Curry at 8. But if he’s gone for some reason, I think you need to let the GM do his job and let the coaches do their jobs. Larry Brown got in trouble when he decided he had to have final say on personnel. I would be more willing to go with Walsh’s choice, even though I like D’Antoni as a coach. But if Jennings is falling to 15, 16 you should make a play there. It’s good to go where you can recognize value, like Lopez at 10 last year.
      Speaking of which, Blair would be a great fit in NJ next to Lopez (what a great frontcourt!)
      Not sure about Teague. He seems like a JR Smith type. I would love to get a bonafide starter out of this pick and not another bench specialist (it could be argued that we had one of the strongest benches last year.)
      Also this from Gortat:

      Marcin Gortat has let it be known that he would like playing in New York.

      When Donnie Walsh was asked about Gortat, he did not express interest but did not deny it either.

      “That’s his agent saying it, not me, alright? I haven’t said anything about anybody,” Walsh said. “I’m not going to talk about somebody else’s property, particularly now. They’re still playing.”

    22. Here’s a look at Lawson’s NCAA stats against some undersized guards: Raymond Felton, Jameer Nelson, TJ Ford, Nate Robinson, Terrell Brandon, Khalid El-Amin, Acie Law (not undersized, but was looking for someone who got drafted based on polish and didn’t pan out), and Kyle Lowry.

      NCAA Career:


      Final NCAA season
      Lawson–29.9—-67.0%—20.0—7.9—3.6—-2.6 —-2.3
      Law——33.9—-59.8%—-19.2—5.3—3.5—1.2 —-2.7

      I think it’s fair to say that Lawson offers the best combination of efficient scoring and playmaking ability in the group. His possession stats (steals, TOs) are good. One negative is that he’s a below average rebounder for his size.

      Threw Ben Gordon’s Junior in there to compare Lawson to a dead-eye shooter at the NBA level, and his volume is comparable and efficiency significantly higher. Different positions obviously, but thought it could be interesting.

      NBA Career—TS%—PTS/36—AST%—REB%—STL%—TO%

      I think Lawson projects as a solid NBA player, without doing any calculations I’d guess TS% above 55… maybe even high 50s/ low 60s, 16 pts/36, AST rate in the mid 30s (top 10 in NBA), rebound rate 5 or under (aka bad), and one of the best possession PGs in the NBA in terms of STLs vs. TOs. A good quality starter who might make a couple All-Star appearances (like Brandon and Nelson… maybe Brandon’s PG skills and D with Nelson’s scoring).

    23. That’s a good comparison — I’d say Lawson is a proven, good player. I’d knock him down a couple of pegs on durability – he’s been injured 2 out of 3 years – but he’s still a solid pick at #8, and an excellent pick in the mid-teens.

      The league is pretty much tailor-made for guys like him… quick, smaller PGs. You could throw Aaron Brooks in the mix… maybe Mo Williams… maybe Tony Parker, although you don’t have college stats.

    24. Wow– Terrell Brandon averaged 39.6 minutes his Sophomore year at Oregon! Maybe that’s how he fucked his knee up so bad. (Is minutes/game a college stat that traditionally translated to the NBA?) At least with Lawson you know durability’s an issue.

    25. Here’s Holiday’s freshman season against the freshman seasons of some guys he’s been compared to, ex-UCLA PGs, and some other athletic guards around his size: Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Jordan Farmar, Baron Davis, Flip Murray, Delonte West, Gilbert Arenas, Fred Jones, Keyon Dooling, and Ramon Sessions. Threw in Joe Johnson as someone who took a couple seasons to get his feet in the NBA and Derrick Rose as a successful freshman who came in with tons of hype.


      All those guys except Flip Murray and Ramon Sessions were at least recruited by a bigtime program, but I’m not sure any besides Rose had the hype that Holiday brought to UCLA (maybe Rondo). You could interpret that as he was the most physically ready of the group and still fell on his face, or you could say expectations were just unfair.
      After the recent success of the Rondo steal and Westbrook reach, this is the perfect moment in draft history to enter from Holiday’s perspective: some team will take him Top 10 or at least Top 15. Before Rondo and Westbrook (and maybe to some extent Ariza, another raw UCLA frosh), I don’t see Holiday getting picked in the 1st round after that terrible season.

      I’m tempted to look at the numbers and say he can become a legitimate PG, but that’s based mostly on Rondo. If he does become a legit starting PG, I wouldn’t expect him among the league leaders in assists. (Could be possible that playing with Darren Collison and at UCLA negatively distorted his assist numbers…)
      Scoring isn’t THAT worrying based on the above list, but it’s still a big red flag. Between the low volume and mediocre-to-low efficiency I don’t think it will ever be his calling card.
      His basketball athleticism seems to be there based on Reb, STL, and BLK numbers.
      I think his best hope is as an elite defender and solid/unspectacular PG in a dynamic offense. Might fit in great on Portland, but I don’t know if they trade up for a raw project.
      Developing a consistent outside shot would (obviously) be huge.

    26. Off hand I would say the small PGs have a high instance of injury, but I don’t really know what’s average. Nelson missed a long stretch this season, Ford and Brandon have had serious injury issues, Lowry missed almost a season…


      There’s Williams (2 year) career at Alabama and Brooks senior season at Oregon. Neither was the play-maker Lawson is, and Williams just wasn’t that great overall. Both better rebounders and worse “stealers” than Lawson.

      One other note: Felton’s scoring efficiency dropping so drastically from college to the pros might be a slight red flag for Lawson. Lawson was a significantly higher-volume/higher-efficiency scorer than Felton at UNC, but playing PG under Roy Williams on a national championship caliber team probably inflates your scoring efficiency to some extent (otherwise Lawson should become the most efficient scoring PG in the NBA). Felton has failed to develop range out to the NBA 3 after canning 44% of his 3s his junior season, though, and maybe Lawson doesn’t have that problem.

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