For everyone that like's Mike.


Defense used against Kobe compared to defense used against Mike

Comparing the Defense Used Against Kobe in the 2008 Finals to the Defense Played Against Jordan in Big Games Throughout His Career

Definitely a very well put together video. I'm just not sure I agree with the disapraging Michael Jordan comments made by the creator. I just like the video because it highlights what type of defense Kobe was up against in this year's Finals. By the way, I HATE the fact that the NBA allows zones now. It's changed the game so much over this decade.

So is the video creators claim that the Celtics defense was better than anything Michael Jordan faced during his career correct?

To be fair, I wanted to to have you compare the video you just saw to some of the defense Michael Jordan saw during his biggest games in the NBA Playoffs:

Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals

Any unbiased person could see that Jordan was single covered that entire game and definitely did not receive the physical contact that Kobe received during the Celtics series.

Game 5 of the 1992 NBA Finals
Jordan had 46 points in this game. Take a look at it and tell me how many doubles, triples or hard fouls Jordan had to deal with.

So you might be thinking, the Blazers aren't that strong of a defensive team. Well, lets show you what some of the "tough" defensive teams handled Jordan in that era:

Game 4 1993 Eastern Conference Finals

Basically Jordan saw single coverage by a defender two inches shorter than him. Starks was a good defender, but there is no way you can compare his single coverage defense to what Kobe saw from the Celtics in the 2008 Finals.

Game 7 1992 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals

This is arguably when the Knicks were at their most physical point. You be the judge of comparing the defense Kobe saw in the 2008 Finals versus what Jordan saw in 1992

No doubt this game was pretty physical, but it seems like the Knicks were single covering Jordan and then coming with another defender once Jordan entered the painted area. With as spectacular a player as Jordan was that kind of defense just wasn't enough. By the second half, the Knicks started to bring a few doubles on the catch, but for the most part Jordan was allowed to catch the ball, make a move, and not have to worry about extra coverage until he got to the painted area.

Double Nickel Game against the Knicks in 1995
Pay special attention to how Craig Sager says the Knicks planned to guard Jordan. Then watch the video and tell me what kind of defense he had to contend with back then.

Again looks like Jordan was single covered by a shorter defender the entire game. Starks was a great defender, but his one on one defense versus Jordan could not hold a candle to what the Celtics brought in the 2008 Finals. The rules are different now, so teams are allowed to be more aggressive with their schemes without being called for illegal defense.

I know that someone is going to say well what about the Pistons and the Jordan rules. Well, it seems like the Pistons' Jordan Rules also wouldn't be able to hold a candle to what the Celtics were able to do in the 2008 Finals. You be the judge:

42 Points Against the Pistons in Game 4 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals

Again, looks like Jordan was single covered by a man two inches shorter than him. Of course, Dumars was a great defender, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Jordan was taller and stronger than him, and that Dumars basically guarded Jordan one on one. It also looks like Jordan is allowed to catch and make his move without double coverage. With the the illegal defense rules of the times, guys like Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman couldn't build a wall around the paint the way top defensive teams all do today. Again, I'm not saying the Pistons didn't send any doubles, but you have to admit they were much less aggressive on defense than the top defensive teams of the present.

This is not to say that if given the opportunity to face this kind of defense that Jordan would not have torn it apart. I don't know this, and their is no way of knowing this. But I do know that when Kobe has faced single coverage or been allowed to catch the ball and make a move in the post or on the perimeter without seeing a double team, he's pretty much been unstoppable. Just watch any of the highlights from the 2008 Western Conference Playoffs for proof of this.

Now is this any excuse for the Lakers losing the series? No, not really. If anything it should have been reason for them to beat the Celtics.

Throughout the 2008 NBA Playoffs the Lakers relied on spacing, great ball movement and outside shooting to combat the aggressive defense against Kobe. If anything, the Lakers want teams to play Kobe that aggressively, so that they can get wide open shots for their shooters. Once the shooters knock down their open shots, teams end up being less aggressive with Kobe, allowing him the opportunity to take over games in the fourth quarter. This strategy worked throughout the season and should have worked in the NBA finals. The only problem is that the Lakers role players laid an egg in the Finals.

The one game where the Lakers got their usual ball movement and outside shooting from start to finish was game 3 of the series. In that game, Kobe saw the same Celtics defense at the beginning of the game that that he had seen throughout the series. The only difference was that Sasha Vujacic came to play and knocked down pretty much every open three he got in the game. Every time they sent two or three men at Kobe, the ball would be swung around and Vujacic or one of the Lakers role players would knock down their open shots. By the time the fourth quarter came around the Celtics could no longer risk leaving Vujacic to be aggressive with Kobe. That meant that Kobe would have the opportunity to go one-on-one with Ray Allen pretty that entire quarter. He made the most of that opportunity and finished the game with 36 points. And if he would have made his free-throws (he missed seven in that game) they would have beaten the Celtics by a higher margin.

Sadly, this was pretty much the only game that the Lakers were able to execute this game plan from start to finish. Kobe never really had an opportunity to go one-on-one in the fourth quarter because his teammates didn't hit their open shots. The Lakers were a combined 3 for 14 from three in their game 1 loss and 6 for 21 from three in their infamous Game 4 collapse. Derek Fisher shot 19% from three the entire series. Sasha Vujacic shot 39% from the floor for the series. But minus his spectacular game three, he shot 30% from the floor and 27% from three during the series. The Lakers relied on outside shooting from those two throughout the year. The shots they missed in that series were shots that they hit the entire year. If those go in, then we're looking at an entirely different series. But overall, I just think the Lakers lost because the Celtics were the better team.

Thank Nate Jones from for the story.

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