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How Deep is the Lake?

 

While combing through through the minutiae leading up to tomorrow night’s showdown, one seemingly innocuous element is the Laker’s depth.  Especially, on the front-line.

The word out of Lakers camp this morning is that the knee drainage procedure Andrew Bynum under-went produced neutral results. For argument’s sake, let’s assume this to be true and not- you know- a Phil Jackson mind-game.  This leaves the Lakers with Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom as the team’s only usable big men.  Is foul trouble a viable topic of discussion?  After comparing the numbers from both the Celtics and Lakers’ playoff runs, I would say a definitive YES.

The Celtics Bigs just played a six game series where they used their fouls liberally- executing the “Hack-A-Howard” strategy to a T.  The previous series against the Cavaliers also saw it’s fair share of fouls as the Celtics Bigs proved to be the last line of defense against the run-away freight train that is LeBron James.  Still, after those two very physical series Kendrick Perkins led the team with 63 personal fouls, Rasheed Wallace followed him up with 56, Kevin Garnett committed 46, and Glen Davis has committed a surprisingly low 37 fouls.

Comparatively, Pau Gasol (42), Andrew Bynum (44), and Lamar Odom (61) all collected enough fouls to give Lakers’ fans pause.  It’s hard enough to be down a big man in your rotation naturally, but if Bynum is not 100%, the Lakers are going to have to give Josh Powell some court time.  This, is yet another factor that should give Lakers’ fans pause given the fact that Powell has played less minutes in the playoffs than Shelden Williams (32 to Williams’ 39).

Obviously, depth has not been an issue for the Lakers yet.  If it were, would they really be in the Finals right now?  Probably not.  Still, the Lakers have not faced a team in the playoffs with the kind of front-line depth the Celtics possess.

I am not saying foul trouble and the disparity in front-line players will play a role in this series, I just believe it is something we should all keep in mind as the series unfolds.

What do you think?

  • urbeltic

    I think its big. It happens ALL the time that a big randomly picks up his second foul in the 1st quarter or a third early in the second….and if Bynum is dressed in a suit or just limping around (ruining his entire career with permanent knee damage), then the advantage swings to the Cs big time.

  • NHBluesMan

    the C’s should attack the rim early and often. If Bynum gets in foul trouble or has fewer minutes due to his knee and the Lakers bring in Odom, then we can switch to the match-ups from ’08 (Perk on Gasol, KG on Odom) which i feel is a better match-up.

    the only downside to this is that the Lakers big-men are better free-throw shooters than Lois Lane…errrr… Dwight Howard. But if we can get THEM into foul trouble by attacking the rim (where Rondo really shines) it could seriously work to our advantage.

  • Danno

    I don’t know if I’m going to get too happy about it tho – Bynum’s still playing, and let’s assume he’ll play as much and as well as he did in the other series. These are his numbers from the playoffs, via NBA.com. Maybe the Celts’ D will affect him, but I don’t think the knee is that bad, at least not with adrenaline and pain killers.

    2010 Playoffs Statistics
    PPG 9.1
    RPG 7.70
    APG 0.8
    EFF + 15.00

  • Jay P

    I hope Rondo isn’t limited by the back, this article just illustrates how important it will be for the Celtics to get into the lane and draw fouls on the big men. This primarily falls to Rondo, but if he’s hurt, we’re going to need Paul, and TA and Ray-Ray doing the same.

    First half they need to be attacking the rim, get Gasol, Bynum, and Odom in foul trouble early and often.

    The Lakers don’t have the front-court depth the Celtics do, if their able to get 1 or 2 of those 3 on the bench with foul trouble in the first half it could be a key to this series.

  • RickD

    If Bynum cannot contribute, why should we not expect a replay of the 2008 finals? In 2008, it was clear that the Celtics had more depth in the front court. And while Posey and Powe are gone, Rasheed is on the team now (albeit with back spasms) and Davis is much better than he was then.

    It’s hard to think that Gasol and Odom would be enough. Perk is stronger than either of them. This is an area where the Cs have a huge advantage.

  • RickD

    At least, until Perk picks up his next technical and has to miss a game…

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    bynum is the key to the series. if he contributes significantly, the lake-show has too much frontcourt, if he is not effective, Cs will roll.

  • Jason

    I think (am hoping) Perk will avoid a technical. He knows has no margin for error and will behave as such. Sure, a Faker could and probably will try to instigate a double T. If Perk does nothing while a Faker grabs Perk’s arm and pretends to be wrapped up or fouled or whatever and then flails and makes a scene, it’ll probably work. The refs are lame and will fall for it. However, I still don’t think that’ll be a concern because the league would review it. If the league sees Perk was basically set up, they’ll rescind it and Perk will remain eligible. So, again, to my original point, if Perk behaves (and I think he can), he’ll be just fine.

  • Perry

    But I don’t see the Celts employing hackogoly on the Lakers’ front line…obviously

    Perk should brush off the drop step moves and test Bynum’s knee early and often. If Bynum isn’t moving well don’t be suprised to see Gasol at the 5 spot. That’s pure finesse verus the brut force of Perk and Sheed. So what effect will Jackson’s comments have on the officiating? Perk has a huge target on his back, and there’s no doubt LA will try to induce him into spouting off. I can think of nobody better than Artest to bait him into that lone tech.

  • DK

    If they want to get the LA bigs in foul trouble, I’d expect lots of Big Baby. He leads the team in foul drawing (19.4%) as opposed to Rondo (11.3%)

  • Jay P

    @DK

    Good point, I think Davis’s ability to get some fouls on Odom while the second units see some time may be a key point in this series.

    But, Davis has struggled at times this year drawing the contact underneath, and tends to do this pump fakes 16 million times when no one bites, and then get blocked.

    I think the key is to get Davis the ball off the pick and roll, his ability (and mobility) is highly underrated IMO, and that’s where you see him able to get to the line the most.

  • Jason

    What percentage of BBD’s drawn fouls are charges?

  • DK

    @ Jason

    The 19.4% stat for Davis doesn’t include his fouls drawn from charges, just those drawn while in the act of shooting, hence the fact that its a percentage (19.4% of the times he takes a shot, he is fouled.)

    No surprise here but he’s also the #1 Celtic at drawing charges (0.84 per 40 minutes)

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