YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Fox views

Rick Fox, who played for Boston from 1991 to '97, and won three title rings when he played for the Lakers from 1998 to 2004, analyzes the NBA Finals:

June 13, 2008

I'm shell-shocked.

The Lakers learned a tough lesson Thursday night in blowing a 24-point lead with a disastrous second half to lose 97-91 to the Celtics. Twenty-four great minutes wins you a half, not a game. That's a nice cushion. But the Lakers took their foot off the pedal.

As a former player, though, I know, when you're up by over 20 points, you don't really get concerned until your lead drops into single digits. Even if the lead shrinks to nine, you tell yourself, "Well, a three would put it back to 12. The other team made a couple good shots. Nothing to worry about."

You never think you are going to lose. When you play the way the Lakers did in the first half, you are on such a high, you believe it's your night. You have already bought into the fact everything is going to go your way because you've figured out the other team.

As you build a huge lead, every open shot starts to look like a good shot to take. Doesn't matter whether there are five seconds left on the clock or 20 seconds.

And if you're going to take shots like that, you'd better make them. Because when you start missing, you give the other team hope.

The Celtics already had the lead in the series coming into Thursday's game. They were on the road. They were coming off the worst half they could possibly have had, so what was left for them? All they could do was take the jump shots the Lakers were leaving them.

When those jump shots started going down in the second half, the Celtics became animated after being emotionless in the first half, their defense became energized and, suddenly, they were a completely different team, feeding off the developing frenzy.

Surprises on the scoring sheet: For the Celtics, James Posey hit five for 10 from the field and scored 18 points. Eddie House hit four of nine and scored 11.

With their perimeter shooting, they created the spacing that pulled the Lakers' defense out and opened up the lanes, enabling Kevin Garnett to work in the post and Ray Allen to walk down the lane unimpeded for the final critical layup.

For the Lakers, too many of their shot attempts were jump shots.

Three things the Lakers must do in Game 5:

1. Go back to basics. Go back to proper spacing and ball movement. And do it for more than 24 minutes.

2. Remember that, regardless of the score, there should not be a moment of comfort in playoff basketball.

3. Forget about bouncing back emotionally. If the Lakers feel their emotions are that fragile, then they have already lost this series.

Los Angeles Times Articles