Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  72 responses

Laker ‘D’ Against Howard: Single Coverage

by Marcel Mutoni

It’s the biggest question heading into the NBA Finals, and one that involves Orlando’s opponent more or less picking its poison: Get abused down low by Dwight Howard, or see how many threes the Magic shooters can make.

According to Phil Jackson, the Lakers are going to take their chances with a single-covered Dwight Howard. And may God have mercy on Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and company.

The Press-Enterprise reports:

Howard averaged 21.5 points and 16 rebounds against the Lakers in the regular season because they chose not to double him, yet Coach Phil Jackson said he plans to maintain the same approach.

“It’s to your advantage not to double on this team,” he said. “They have four three-point shooters arrayed around the court, they really stretch you out and their spacing is good. It puts a priority on being able to defend the post.”

Conversely, Phil and the Lakers are counting on their bigs – plus the penetrating wing players – to get Dwight in foul trouble.

Bynum, in particular, was hoping for this matchup. We’ll see if he can make it past halftime before fouling out in any of the games. Let’s just say that I’m not holding my breath.

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  • Ken

    We’ll see how long that lasts…I’m guessing one game.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Bynum can’t handle Howard. Gasol can’t handle Howard. This series should be interesting.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    It’s the most sound strategy. If Bynum can play well (’cause Pau has no chance)it may just work.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    And is there REALLY a possibiltiy that Jameer is going to play minutes off the bench? Wtf?

  • riggs

    will the winner of the first game be the winner of the series?

  • PArsons

    Bynum/Gasol/Odom vs Howard not looking too good for the Lakers depending which Dwight Howard they play on any given night.

  • http://web.mac.com/roaringred bbaby

    It’s a sound strategy till Howard starts scoring. And scoring. And scoring. Post points are much easier to come by than perimeter points. They’ll switch to 2-3 eventually

  • Marsha

    You’re being a little dramatic, Marcel, dontcha think? This sort of arrogance is what got Cleveland in trouble with Orlando.

    If Howard & Orlando make the same mistake with L.A., and it seems as if they will, then the mercy God needs to show is toward the Magic.

  • PoppaGrizzly

    Bynum better grab a pair of them ugly green kicks from Nate!!!

  • JoeMaMa

    Orlando just unveiled their strategy for Kobe! Jeff Gillooly. And white women.

  • knock knock

    everyone just needs to remember the centers dwight has went against in the playoffs so far. Dalembert, Perkins, and Z,Andy. No matter how bad bynum plays he still is an upgrade defense-wise over those losers.

  • Hello? Wilt Chamberlain is that you?

    A fit a firing Bynum would do ok. But he is neither fit nor firing. As soon the finals match up was set I had a mental image of Pau getting viciously dunked on, head going back, Mike Miller facial expression and hair flailing about. He’s gonna cop it! Just hopefully not at Dikembe/Shaq circa 2001 levels!

    I do wonder how LA will match up with the Magic. Who’s Pau gonna guard? It will be interesting to see who takes advantage of the miss-matches more, LA inside, with two bigs, or Orlando with their 2334789079689892 perimeter players.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    Get ready for Mbenga-time!@#!@#!@#

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    I admit I don’t follow the lakers, what injury did Bynum have, out for how long and right now he’s at what % of “being back” ?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I’m hoping for a long, competitive series because I want to see how SVG stands up to a coach like Jackson. I have a feeling this will be a very interesting series in terms of strategy. Can’t wait ’til Thursday!

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com/ Mo Charlo

    Pau, say good-bye to your lunch money.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    Here’s a fun question – given the beast the Howard is and the possible match ups with LA – do you think Kobe has dreams/nightmares of being lucky enough to have Shaq come back and help him win a ring? Seriously, does KB wake up from a great dream where Shaq saves his ass (on D mind you) and then say to himself “oh snap that was just a dream…” ??

  • tavoris

    the bigger question is: Is Pau Gasol really gonna guard Rashad Lewis? Really? Because Bynum has no chance with him. It’d b prudent to go small against the Magic. Gasol doesn’t have a chance in heck to guard Howard, but at least he’d b a challenge to him on the other end. With playing Gasol at Center, that’ll allow Odom more minutes at the 4 (on Lewis), and Ariza to shackle Turk (as long as Ariza can handle getting screened EVERY single trip down the court).

  • Mitch

    Or the lakers could sit bynum, and have pau at the 5 (?) who could hit jumpers all game. Atleast until dwight steps out which would open up for cutters like odom, kobe, and brown

    defense is a question though

  • riggs

    @freedomfries: LOL.

  • http://Nicekicks.com MeloMan22

    this WOULD be the obvious choice. im suprised no one did this earlier.
    No disrespect to howard but i still dont think he can consistently destroy big men in the post like Shaq. ANDDD giving up 2 instead of 3 wouldn’t hurt

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    It will be indeed interesting to see how the Lakers’ bigs can match-up with Dwight Howard in the paint. That’s just one of the problems the Zen Master has to deal with. There are four Magic players (Hedo, Raw Lew, Pietrus, Skip) that can score from the perimeter–that will pose another problem for the Lake Show. I’m pretty sure Dwight will be going to foul line more often in the finals. Unless, Phil goes for a Hack-a-Dwight strategy. :)

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    orlando is a PROBLEM. you have to start with single coverage and at least give a chance to your bigs to d him up a little. we saw against cleveland that dwight doesn’t fight double teams (which is a great thing), that ball was rotating to the corner faster than a mofo. they have too many shooters and their spacing is superb. pau and bynum are going to need to step up, end of. no gimmicks.

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    hack a dwight won’t work. when he gets in a rythmn, he’s pretty adequate from the line. i expect dwight to be a mid 70 shooter from the line in the upcoming years. his form is actually pretty decent, nothing like shaq or some other bigs.

  • kwame

    the magic could actually win these finals

  • http://www.lebronsucks.com nate the great

    i want the magic to win these finals.

  • riggs

    what if the magic sweep that lakers? will slamonline be temporarily shutdown due to all the comments?

  • minikidd

    @Meloman22: When the guy shooting the 2′s is 62,2 % from the field in the playoffs, I’d say it’ll still hurt..

  • AlbertBarr

    @riggs: SLAMonline would shutdown do to the volume of coments from ENDS.

  • CHE

    Lakers in Six games.

    The big men for the Lakers are more agressive and skilled on defense. They will also cause Howard to have early foul trouble which would limit his time. There will be no double teaming which would take away the perimeter game of Orlando and Kobe has support unlike Lebron did in the scoring of Pau Gasol. Odom would guard Rashard Lewis which is a great matchup and I think the Lakers guards are stronger than Orlando.
    Good luck to both teams.

  • ab_40

    30 plus fouls on howard per game. Even Mbenga will give him 6.

    For a strange reason I just don’t see the lakers beating the magic in 7 games. The Magic deserve a lot of credit. the men who are problems for both teams are gasol, odom and bryant for la and turk lewis and howard for orlando. and the fact that LA has no idea how to defend scoring guards. I don’t think letting nelson play in the first two games. In game 3 to 7 maybe to give them a huge boost those three games in Orlando the crowd will go crazy.

    in LA the crowd can’t go crazy they’re too down from paying that much money for those tickets haha

  • Tenorca

    I can’t totally deny the reasoning, but Howard’s going to eat Bynum’s lunch. When he’s done with that, he’s going to eat Gasol’s lunch.
    In related news, the new cover of SLAM is now as hilarious as the “Ironmen” one from Lang. Whoops.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    wasn’t Andrew looking forward to a Yao matchup as well…..and dwight needs to be fouled A LOT, period. LA needs Mbenga to give him a few good fouls and if the game is close at the end fouling should always be an option. There’s absolutely no excuse for him only shooting only 2 or 3 FTs like he did at time during the playoffs.

  • http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/.a/6a00d83451c3cb69e201156fbef83c970c-pi ENDS

    Hell Yeah It will shut down! After I stop crying like an Uncontrollable Baby I’ll Jump on And start Screaming ala KG AAAAANNNNNNYYY THIIIIIINGGG’s POSSSSIBLEEEEE. This morning I got an eror message that said Im Posting to fast to slow down. I think as soon as Slam saw the “Shaq Is Screwed either way” Finals set, they changed the rules for me .

  • http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/.a/6a00d83451c3cb69e201156fbef83c970c-pi ENDS

    IF! We’ll cross that bridge when we get there

  • Great Balls O’Fire

    Andrew will go poo-poo in his training shorts against Howard. He already got his ass handed to him during the regular season. Andrew….duck, here comes the elbows sucka.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    bad idea. Kobe doesnt drive and attack big men like Lebron did, so Howard will not have the same foul problem as he did against Cleveland. If you think Pau can hold Howard, look at how he pu$$ied out against KG last year, how he was man handle by Nene this year, and how Yao was killing him before he got injured which was also this year. Bynum can NOT do it, their are just so many problems with that matchup.

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    Everything BET said, I agree. :)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Bynum is a HOF center. Should be easy for him.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    tad makes zee good jokez. Tad be zee funny mahn

  • what

    so nene manhandled pau? must have missed that…

  • truthteller

    Lakers vs Magic will be very interesting…

  • truthteller

    Freedom fries,
    I would reply to you but reading your comments, you wouldn’t get it. So…never mind

  • Peter

    If anybody should know what works against a dominant big man it should be Phil. What wih having coached the most dominant big ever.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    I think I’d take my chances making Dwight consistently dominate down low than have the other 4 players on the court kill them with thier shooting. I love Dwight, but like MeloMan said, I don’t think he can consistently destroy oposing big men. He’ll have his games, but I wouldn’t count on 30-40 pts a night even with single coverage. If you find a way to take away some of Orlando’s 3 point shooting they’re WAY more beatable. Dwight can have a good game, but if they’re not getting good shots, they’re toast.

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    wayno, taking away their 3s is easier said and one. tall shooters + excellent spacing + crisp ball rotations + an inside threat that has to be taken care of. If the Lakers can’t play Howard straight up, they’re effed. I didn’t watch both reg season games so I’ll have to wait for game 1 to see how Pau can handle him. Bynum doesn’t play more than 10-15 mins, he’s irrelevant. Pau is gonna guard Dwight and LO will stick on Shard for most of the game, anyways.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    What: yes, he did. Which is the exact reason Pau said ‘give me the ball, please’. Phil Jackson saw the problem their and chose not to listen.

  • scorp99cam

    I think everyone is forgetting how Kendrick Pekins held Dwight relatively in check. Kendrick worked harder than Cleveland big men because he beat Dwight down the court and didn’t let him get deep position. When he did get deep position he moved his feet and played great post defense. Unfortunately, the Lakers don’t have Kendrick Perkins, but I am still not ready to say Dwight is dominant like Shaq was because he did it in one series.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    ^u r wrong. Kendrick was getting eaten. The thing was, the Boston series was pre-SVG calling plays for Dwight. Then Dwight asked for them publicly. Then Dwight went to work. Then Dwight beat Boston. Then Dwight beat Cleveland. Now Dwight will beat the Lakers.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    That phone booth from the dunk contest that was up for auction will sure take on a whole bunch of value if the Magic win’s the title.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    I love the Lakers! I’ve been a Lakers fan for 96 years, anyone who says otherwise doesn’t have skills, just athletic gifts.
    Kobe Finals MVP!!!!

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    good point betcats, even though svg, the media and dwight himself denied that dwight’s statement had any effect whatso ever on their gameplan… he DID start to get the ball more after b!tching about it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Agreed Z, all I am saying is that that is thier best chance at winning. Thier superb shooting wins games for them. Dight is a force, but IF they can take away some of thier 3 point shooting they’ll win. However, like you said, easier said than done. I really think Orlando has the advantage in this series. Incredibly tough matchup for LA.

  • Stan

    The Lakers should have Dwight on foul trouble every game with the kind of inside presence they have, plus kobe. I don’t care who wins the finals as long as I don’t see Vujacic on the floor.

  • Tenorca

    Also, pretending Perkins defended Da-white (I thought he did a decent job, honestly), Perkins is large, strong, and mean. Pau? Tall, feeble, and vaguely perturbed. Bynum? Large, sad-looking, lost.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    riggs Posted: Jun.1 at 9:20 am
    will the winner of the first game be the winner of the series?
    It’s generally a ‘first to four’ scenario, unless there’s been a rule change somewhere…

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    It’s been a ‘back-and-forth’ decision for me, but I’ve decided to become a Lakers fan (once more) for the finals series.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    If Andrew Bynum can contribute through the series, that should force Dwight to defend a man, not the hoop this should open up things for Gasol and Lamar to get around the basket – IF Kobe can attack the hoop and draw Dwight over, force fouls and get him sitting down, things could definitely move to their favour.
    The draw card for me in this series is watching each team get into ‘mental lapses’ and see how they come back from double digit leads throughout the games….both teams will suffer this and that for me is the biggest issue – who can sustain the mentality longer.

  • andre anglais

    Everyone is focused on what LA does to stop Orlando, but how do the Magic stop the Lakeshow?
    LA is a much better offensive team than either Cleveland or Boston. I think the key for LA will be to outscore the Magic.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin


    Do You Live Here in Orlando?

  • chintao

    How dare anyone question Fphil.

  • josh

    Everyone goes on about the Magic having 4 guys who can shoot it on the floor all at the same time, but so do the Lakers… Whoever’s playing point- DFish, Farmar and Brown can all shoot the lights out if they’re in form, which i think they all are after that Denver series, Kobe… of course, but also the Machine, he found it in those last two games, look for him to keep jacking at every opportunity, Trev was hot against Denver, and Walton can occasionally warm up too, then you have Lamar Odom at the 4 as a threat, when Bynum sits after a minute, because he’s on 3 fouls. Pau spaces the floor too cause he can knock down the j. So the Lakers too have outside threats… And they’re deep too. Just a thought…

  • C2

    DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell have the best chances at guarding Dho

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Dj Mbenga will continue to sit I feel.

  • Cahyo

    Dj Mbenga will eat Vujacic & Farmar’s lunch while sitting..

  • catalan

    Howard is not the problem. 8:34, 1st quarter: 2 fouls.

    Who stops Pau?

  • chintao

    Actually, catalan makes a good point. Much as with every series involving the Lakers so far this playoffs, this series will be determined by the refs. The team whose big men find themselves foul trouble may find it impossible to win.

  • Nashty

    Forget about Dwight, Kobe would have him fouled out of every game by the 3rd quarter.

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    Single-coverage on Dwight is fine. Just make sure Lamar Odom stops Hedo Turkoglu and Shannon Brown stops Rafer Alston from getting him the ball. Ten FG attempts every game!
    That was Cleveland’s problem more than not having guys who couldn’t guard Dwight. NOBODY can guard Dwight over seven games. But Cleveland had 6’3″ Delonte West
    matched up against 6’10″ Turkoglu, Orlando’s best playmaker and clutch shooter?? But the only guy on Cleveland who could’ve stopped him was LeBron, and as pathetically as everyone
    else was on offense, they needed ‘Bron to conserve his energy for offense. Not the case with L.A., which can throw Ariza and Odom at Turkoglu while Kobe handles the playmaking and scoring
    against Pietrus. I love LeBron, but one-on-one, nobody can handle his man on offense like Kobe. It’s not all about Dwight, people! Lakers in 6.

  • http://myspace.com The Truth

    Yea we’ll see how long The Lakers do that. Let the dominance in the paint begin. I wonder how long itll take bynum till he fouls out? haha. Poor Pau Gasol has ’0′ chance guarding Dwight Howard. Go Magic!!! Let the dominance down low begin…….Magic in 6

  • Mack

    I have a feeling Alston is going to have a field day with Fisher covering him. Shannon Brown could be getting big minutes if Fisher’s defense is subpar.

    Also, Perkins was the best defender against Howard during the playoffs 1on1 because he could match size with him. Bynum will end up in foul trouble often because if not as savvy defensively as Perkins or even Gasol.

  • Mack

    btw I think Lakers in 6 cuz of the Kobe factor, he can shoot 18 footers all day while LeBron was struggling with his jumper. Plus no one can guard Mr. Bryant one-on-one.