Heroes and Goats from Game 5 of the NBA Finals
The Lakers kept the 2007-08 season going, as I suspected they might. The absence of Kendrick Perkins, and Kevin Garnett's foul trouble, allowed Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol to totally dominate the game, while my premature MVP Ray Allen stunk up the joint. The Win Contribution Box Score tells the story of the Lakers survival.
Heroes of Game 6
1. Pau Gasol
Gasol got loose. He and Lamar Odom thoroughly dominated the action up front. It helped that Doc Rivers once again gave too many minutes to PJ Brown, but nevertheless, Gasol got it done in a huge way in Game 5.
2 Lamar Odom
I'm detecting a pattern here. After 3 poor games, Lamar Odom has now turned in two huge games. His newfound love for attacking the basket kept Kevin Garnett in foul trouble all night. Its alot easier to play the game at the rim than it is from the perimeter, eh Lamar? If he plays that way every night, he will be a load and a half for the Celtics to deal with.
3. Paul Pierce
Even though he played all 48 minutes, and had a big scoring total, his Win Contribution wasn't quite as large as you probably expected it to be. It was big, don't get me wrong, but not huge. That's because he used up 36.5 possessions (22 shots, 19 free throws, and 5 turnovers), and his 6 rebounds in 48 minutes (.012 per minute) was slightly below average for a small forward (7.2; 0.15). But all in all he had an excellent game, no doubt.
Goats of Game Six
1. Doc Rivers
Color commentator Mark Jackson said Doc Rivers has not made a single wrong move yet in the Finals. I beg to differ! He's keeping LA in it by continuing to give huge minutes to PJ Brown and Sam Cassell. Those two are the reason this series is still alive. And why did he sit Leon Powe after just five minutes of action when he was already short handed up front? Baffling. And why wouldn't he go back to Tony Allen in the second half? Allen helped fuel the Celtics comeback in the second period, but then Rivers refused to give him any more minutes. Its a mystery.
2. PJ Brown
With Phil Jackson's prudent decision to not play Ronnie Turiaf more than one minute in Game 5, PJ Brown easily took over the lead in the race for the 2008 NBA Finals "Least Valuable Player". His Win Contribution per game is now easily the lowest of any player in the series.
3 Bucks Diary
We obviously put the Bucks Diary Jinx on Ray Allen. After spending the days between Games 4 and 5 singing his praises and calling him the runaway leader for Finals MVP, Allen went out and played a horrible game, his first really bad effort of the series.
4 Chris Mihm
The thing I love about "Win Contribution" is that it makes every minute count. In 3 short minutes of action, Mihm made a negative Win Contribution of -0.758 by doing absolutely nothing except commit two personal fouls, turn the ball over, and miss a shot. That's a Win Score per minute of -1 per minute, for a Win Score per 48 of -48 and a position adjusted Win Score of -60.3. Win Contribution holds every player accountable for every minute he's on the court.
5 Sasha Vujacic
Playing Vujacic in these Finals is like playing Russian roulette in reverse. You get one huge game out of him and the rest of the games he absolutely kills you.
6 Phil Jackson
I hesitated about putting him on this list for yet another game. He did after all sit Ronnie Turiaf. But then he went and played Chris Mihm! And he still insists on giving too many minutes to Sasha Vujacic, and too few to Vladimir Radmonovic and Jordan Farmar. Plus, he insists on playing Kobe Bryant at the small forward, where he is much less effective, and where Paul Pierce, statistically the best defender in the NBA this season, is there to greet him. Its baffling.