Thanks to Basketball-Reference posting player statistics from the 2010 NBA Finals, I was able to do win charts for each team, assigning wins and losses to individual players according to their marginal production of determinative box score statistics.
Lakers Story: Gasol the true MVP
A couple of posts back I wrote that it was a horse a piece between Kobe and Gasol for MVP. I was wrong. Gasol was the runaway MVP, as the Laker Win Chart shows. But I have to explain something.
Why are Kobe’s numbers a bit lower than expected and why are Derek Fisher’s numbers much higher than expected? Because, during the minutes Kobe, Fisher, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo were on the court, Kobe checked Rondo while Fisher checked Allen. Thus, Kobe is credited with Rondo’s production while Fisher is credited with Allen’s production.
Fisher, who was basically non-productive on an individual level, demonstrated how defense can win games. He totally shut Allen down, with the exception of the first half of Game Two. Meanwhile Kobe did an okay job on Rondo. But that wasn’t the point. The point (and it took me some time to figure it out) was not to get Kobe to shut Rondo down, it was to get Fisher off Rondo and onto someone he could be effective guarding. It worked. A brilliant move.
As for the rest of the Lakers, Lamar Odom was not his normal productive self. He struggles against the Celtics.
Andrew Bynum was okay, but not that great of a win force. Sasha Vujacic provided exceptional play in limited minutes. Ron Artest was up and down.
The overwhelming reason the Lakers won the championship was the play of Pau Gasol. He was great.
Celtics Story: Ray Allen goes from 2008 Hero to 2010 Goat
On the Celtics side Ray Allen was brutal, posting nothing in the win column and 1.1 losses. He was the uncrowned MVP of the 2008 Finals, where he was brilliant, but he probably cost the Celtics these Finals.
Kevin Garnett was also a diminished character. He gave it his best go, but obviously he’s running on fumes. Gasol outplayed him decisively. Again, that was not the case in 2008.
The Celtics best player was, appropriately, their best player, PG Rajon Rondo. He was just slightly less valuable to the Celtics than Gasol was to the Lakers, and his outstanding play nearly carried the Celtics to their 18th championship.