Here is another way of looking at this. In the Finals, the Celtics are averaging 96 points per game. The Lakers are averaging 92 points per game.
That isn’t that much to make up, is it? In fact, the Lakers seriously could have swept the Celtics had they defended 5 points better … which, from what we’ve seen, seems VERY doable.
The Celtics averaged 100.5 points per game during the regular season, so they are -4.5 in the Finals.
The Lakers averaged 108.6 in the regular season, so they are -16.6 in the Finals.
The Celtics’ defense is very obviously having an effect on the Lakers. Therefore, regardless their substitution pattern, it seems HIGHLY unlikely that the Lakers could come up with 16.6 extra points in the 3 remaining games of the Finals, and satisfy us spoiled fans with the offensive success we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing from them all season. Consequently, we really need to get over our offensive criticisms of the Lakers and quit beating them up over it.
The answer is in defense, 5 more points of it.
Is there enough room for improvement in the Lakers defense to prevent the Celtics from scoring less than one basket per quarter?
Hold the Celtics to 22 points per quarter, hold a big gold trophy next weekend.