Jun 7, 2010

2010 NBA Finals: Is Derek Fisher The Key To Boston's Success?

Does anyone think it was a coincidence that Ray Allen finished with 32 points last night or that Rondo got another triple-double? I think not and here is why: Derek Fisher.

We all witnessed history last night as Ray Allen broke the record for most three-pointers in an NBA Finals game, and as much as it was an achievement for Allen, it was also an unveiling of the ineffectiveness of Derek Fisher.

Coming into the series we all knew that the point guard match-up was one of the most lopsided. Rajon Rondo is the most improved player for either team and Derek Fisher is two years older and slower then he was when these teams faced off in 2008.

There was much speculation between games one and two about how the Lakers were adjusting their defensive lineups. The idea that Kobe Bryant would concentrate more on the quick and explosive Rondo meant that Fisher would now have to defend Ray Allen.

The 34-year old Allen seemed like a better fit for Fisher but as anyone that watches the Celtics knows, Ray Allen can have some of the most impressive hot streaks of any guard in the league. Last night was one of those nights.

Now I do not want to put all of the blame on Fisher. A big part of Boston's ability in the back court was Kobe Bryant's early foul trouble. With the quick fouls, Kobe was not able to be as aggressive and had to use his on-court time more efficiently.

Ray Allen had his success during the long stretches that Bryant was on the bench. Allen looked strong off the dribble and capitalized of the mismatches with Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar, who combined for just over 28 minutes at the point guard position.

Last night's game was key for the Celtics, allowing them to even the series before they head home for three games. The question in Boston will be how the Lakers adjust on the defensive sets.

We now know that Allen is going to get his shots and we have always known that Rondo is going to demand man-to-man coverage. But with Bryant only being one man, the Lakers are going to need to rely on Fisher to step up his game.

Fisher looked confused in some of the Celtics offensive strategies and failed to add adequate pressure against the Celtics guards.

Boston head coach Doc Rivers is the NBA's best when it comes to setting back screens that lead to Allen's success. Rivers has numerous set plays for Allen confusing his defender, creating vast amounts of space, and leaving himself open for the deep shot.

We knew this was going to happen, but the Lakers failed to adjust. With their thin bench, the Celtics are going to continue to capitalize.

I think we all know why the Lakers fell last night and if Derek Fisher can't be more affective the three games in Boston may be a quick out for the Celtics.


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