LOS ANGELES --
This virus, I'm told by experts, has several different names. It has been called the "defenseless disease" and "turnstile syndrome." In some circles it is known simply as "SDP" which, I've been told, is an acronym for "super-duper soft."
What are the symptoms? A complete disregard for defense is one. Gasol has had the bug since the second round, when
Odom? He's been lucky. He has only had it for the last three games. The indicator for Odom was the 21 points Celtics reserve forward
Coming into the Finals, there was no question who was the more physical team. Boston had Garnett,
Still, no one could have anticipated that Boston could be
The slender Garnett has bullied Gasol on the inside. When Gasol steps out to defend Garnett on the perimeter, Garnett has the option of simply dropping his shoulder to get to the basket. Gasol's only reprieve is that Garnett doesn't do it on every possession.
Of greater concern to the Lakers is that this disease is starting to spread to the offense. Odom (four points on 2-for-9 shooting) and Gasol (nine points on 3-for-9) looked depleted in Game 3, a probable byproduct of the physical beating they have endured. Jump shots came up short. Exposed dribbles led to steals. At times, both Gasol and Odom looked relieved when a Boston possession ended with a jump shot.
Matching the Celtics' physicality is out of the question. The Lakers, outside of
Something has to happen. Because for the Lakers, this illness could be fatal.