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Let Kobe Get His?

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop has a fantastic breakdown of how the Celtics attacked the Lakers defensively in the two meetings this year (of note without Pau Gasol).  The idea was basically to cover Kobe mostly with just one defender (and Ray Allen at that), cut off driving lanes, and try to make him beat you from outside.  The thinking is that you turn him into a jump shooter, and while he will do his damage, at least he won't be killing you at the line and setting up his teammates in the process.  However, there's a strong word of warning.

The only reason Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau might pause, is that San Antonio essentially just tried this same thing in the Western Conference finals -- with an even better defender, Bruce Bowen -- yet Bryant shot very well as the Lakers rolled.

For that reason, ESPN's David Thorpe imagines the Celtics probably are at least considering plan B.

"If you're Gregg Popovich right now, you're thinking that you executed your plan about as well as possible. You kept Kobe Bryant off the free-throw line. You shaded off of him, and forced him to make a shot, instead of getting to the line," explains Thorpe. "But now that the Lakers beat you, you might be wondering if maybe you should have tried beating him up all series long. Putting bodies on him again and again and hitting him hard. Sure he kills you at the line in the early going, but what happens in the fourth quarter, or in Games 2, 3, and 4? As the series grinds on, that tactic could make you look better and better. It might not work, but at least you don't have to deal with Kobe Bryant look fresh as a daisy in the fourth quarter of every game, which happened against San Antonio."

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