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View Full Version : Who? Who was the Closer?



Andrew32
09-15-2011, 09:48 PM
http://images.marketworks.com/hi/50/49711/Small185-kobe_and_shaq.jpg

Most Points Per 4th Quarter
NBA Finals Past 20 Seasons
1995 Shaquille O'Neal 11.5
2000 Shaquille O'Neal 11.5
1997 Michael Jordan 10.7
2011 Dirk Nowitzki 10.3
1993 Michael Jordan 10.3

Many people have been telling me that Shaq from 01-02 was incapable of scoring in the 4th quarter, that somehow his amazing ability to Dominate and Score against most defenses dissipates when the last 12 minute period starts and that Kobe "thankfully" was there to close out games for the Lakers.

I disagreed with this notion, from being a huge LA Fan during the Shaq years I watched most of their playoff games and always felt that Shaq was an "Elite Closer" and that more often then not if he wasn't leading the team in scoring in that Final period he was at the very least contributing a fair amount of points, not to mention the fact that he was still relied upon to anchor the defense for his LA Team.

Lets quickly examine some numbers from the 2002 season, I haven't yet examined the 2001 season or have found a reliable site where I can find play by play for those games but once I do I will do a similar comparison for that year. I would say its clear in 2000 that Shaq was the best player/closer for LAL even though Bryant had a few moments of his own (notably that one game vs the Pacers)

The point of this thread is not to discredit Bryant as a closer (because he was certainly a very good one in that period of time) but to Credit Oneal for his ability to close out games and score points in that Final period. I also feel that considering the amount of defensive pressure he faced during that (those) years adds a bit of specialness to anytime he closed out a game since he was almost always the focus of the opposing teams defense and would face constant double and triple teams.

Anyway.. on to the numbers.

Round 1 VS Portland
Lakers Sweep in 3 Games (3-0)
4TH QScoring
Shaq = 22 Points
Kobe = 15 Points

Consensus : Both scored a fair amount of points in the 4TH however in the last 2 games Shaq scored 16 points in the 4th while Kobe only scored 7.
I will Label Shaq the closer for this series only because the majority of his points came in the last 2 games and he also wins out in overall points for the series in the clutch.

Round 2 VS SAS
Lakers Win in 5 Games (4-1)
4TH QScoring
Shaq = 22 Points
Kobe = 38 Points

Consensus : While Shaq did close out games 1 and 2 and chipped in a few points in the Final game of the series Kobe was clearly the Closer for this series going into double digits in the 4th Q of the last 3 games and playing at a very high level.

Round 3 VS SAC
Lakers Win in 7 Games (4-3)
4TH QScoring
Shaq = 46 Points
Kobe = 60 Points

Consensus : While at first glance looking at the point totals you may think that Kobe was the closer for this series but he was not. Both piled up plenty of Clutch buckets in this series and I was tempted to Label the Duo together as the closers for this series but I feel Shaq deserves the honor. While the Majority of Bryants 4TH Q Points came in the first 5 games averaging around 5-15ppg the Majority of Shaqs came in the crucial last 2 games.

in Game 6 Shaq dropped 12 Points in the 4th Quarter and in Game 7 scored an amazing 15 points in the 4th Quarter and the OT that followed.

Kobe also did well in G6 almost matching Shaqs clutch time production with 11 points however in the Crucial G7 he only managed to score 6 Points in the 4th Quarter and Overtime in G7.

Finals VS NJN
Lakers Sweep (4-0)
4TH QScoring
Nets never really had a chance so its hard to Label anyone a "closer" for this series Shaq scored more points overall in the 4TH Q for the series but Kobe scored more in the Final two games, perhaps in a sweep the "last 2 games" don't hold as much importance as they would in a 5-7 game series so I'll say they were both the closer of this series with Kobe scoring 28 in the 4TH Quarters over the Sweep and Shaq chipping in 29.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So as we can see out of 4 series Shaq was the closer for 2 series and tied with Kobe for a Third, while Kobe was the Closer for 1 series and tied with Shaq for a 2nd.

Shaq was scary dominant in 01 and so was Kobe so even without seeing the play by plays I can come to an assumption that both also closed out a fair share of games that year just like they did in 02.

Overall Consensus : My opinion would be that the main closer for the 00-02 LA Squad would be Shaquille Oneal due to him (atleast based on the information I have so far) having closed out more games and more series, 00 would obviously be heavily in Oneals favor due to Bryant not yet being fully developed.

Maybe in 01 and 02 it would be fair to call both Bryant and Oneal the Closers for the Lakers since they both Closed out a fair number of games for LA and even if Shaq did end up having a sharp edge overall when it came to games closed after I added the 01 numbers the games and series in which Kobe was the closer (like vs SAS) were very important to the overall teams chances of advancing and winning the Title.

This Thread will forever dispel the myth that Shaq was not a good closer or that he couldn't score points in the 4th Quarter.

llemon
09-15-2011, 10:48 PM
Brenda Leigh Johnson?

knightstemplar
09-15-2011, 11:02 PM
Kobe was the closer

GhostfaceDrilla
09-15-2011, 11:08 PM
Dirk is 4th in numbers. Everyday a new thing is revealed about Dirk and being an all time great.

Hawkeye15
09-15-2011, 11:11 PM
games are 48 minutes, and should be measured as such.

llemon
09-15-2011, 11:13 PM
After Brenda Leigh, it was Jordan.

And, to be perfectly honest, anyone who thinks otherwise is really, really........someone who thinks otherwise.

bholly
09-16-2011, 01:39 AM
After Brenda Leigh, it was Jordan.

And, to be perfectly honest, anyone who thinks otherwise is really, really........someone who thinks otherwise.

Jordan was the closer on the Shaq/Kobe Lakers? Or did you just skim the first few lines and then post?

Sactown
09-16-2011, 01:46 AM
Against the kings the refs were the closers

asandhu23
09-16-2011, 02:07 AM
Against the kings the refs were the closers

+420

definitely.

MGB
09-16-2011, 02:55 AM
Against the kings the refs were the closers

:rimshot:

zing!

THE GIPPER
09-16-2011, 04:15 AM
Against the kings the refs were the closers

this

Raph12
09-16-2011, 11:43 AM
games are 48 minutes, and should be measured as such.

This... Dirk sucking for 3 quarters and playing well in the 4th isn't a good thing, he should try to be efficient/productive/effective all game long.

llemon
09-16-2011, 12:19 PM
Jordan was the closer on the Shaq/Kobe Lakers? Or did you just skim the first few lines and then post?

Yes, Dirk and Jordan were the best closers on the Lakers, as their names are on that list.

Dolfan305
09-16-2011, 05:33 PM
Basketball is a 4 quarter game.

NYKalltheway
09-16-2011, 06:01 PM
Basketball is a 4 quarter game.

and each team fields 5 players...

Andrew32
09-16-2011, 06:19 PM
Extra Info :

02 CNFinalz VS SAC 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 3
G2: 7
G3: 3
G4: 6
G5: 0
G6: 12
G7 + OT : 15

Kobe
G1: 10
G2: 5
G3: 16
G4: 6
G5: 6
G6: 11
G7 + 0T : 6

AWC713
09-16-2011, 06:23 PM
shaq's 95 numbers listed above shouldnt matter because they lost the series to the rockets...

Andrew32
09-16-2011, 06:25 PM
shaq's 95 numbers listed above shouldnt matter because they lost the series to the rockets...

Yes the "Magic" as a team lost because his teammates choked in G1 and then proceeded to play poorly in comparison to Hakeems supporting cast all series long.

Should Shaqs Dominant/GOAT level play be ignored because he lost to a better "Team" :facepalm:

MJ, Hakeem and Kobe have all had some insane playoff series where they still lost does that mean they weren't great in those series?

Shaq's 95 was a GOAT Center season despite how it ended for his "Team".

Anyway that's off-topic so lets save this discussion for another thread.

GhostfaceDrilla
09-16-2011, 07:36 PM
This... Dirk sucking for 3 quarters and playing well in the 4th isn't a good thing, he should try to be efficient/productive/effective all game long.

Yeah because Dirk sucks for 3 quarters.... That is the most ignorant statement I have heard...

Andrew32
09-16-2011, 07:41 PM
Dirk was Clutch in the 11 Finalz.

Its incredibly difficult and rare for a player to score 10+ppg Per 4Quarter over the course of a Finalz series and that's why only 3 players in NBA history have pulled it off.
Shaq, Jordan, Dirk.

Andrew32
09-16-2011, 11:17 PM
Extra Info I have compiled.

02 Finalz VS NJN 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 14
G2: 4
G3: 5
G4: 6
Combined : 29 / 7.25ppg

Kobe
G1: 2
G2: 8
G3: 12
G4: 11
Combined : 33 / 8.25ppg

----------------------------------

02 First-Round VS POR 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 6
G2: 8
G3: 8
Combined : 22 / 7.3ppg

Kobe
G1: 8
G2: 1
G3: 6
Combined : 15 / 5ppg

---------------------------------------



01 Finalz VS Sixers 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 5
G2: 4
G3: 6
G4: 4
G5: 3

Kobe
G1: 6
G2: 5
G3: 4
G4: 4
G5: 5

knightstemplar
09-16-2011, 11:28 PM
Extra Info I have compiled.

02 Finalz VS NJN 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 14
G2: 4
G3: 5
G4: 6
Combined : 29 / 7.25ppg

Kobe
G1: 2
G2: 8
G3: 12
G4: 11
Combined : 28 / 7ppg

----------------------------------

02 First-Round VS POR 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 6
G2: 8
G3: 8
Combined : 22 / 7.3ppg

Kobe
G1: 8
G2: 1
G3: 6
Combined : 15 / 5ppg

---------------------------------------



01 Finalz VS Sixers 4QScoring
Shaq
G1: 5
G2: 4
G3: 6
G4: 4
G5: 3

Kobe
G1: 6
G2: 5
G3: 4
G4: 4
G5: 5

:confused:

2+8+12+11 = 33 not 28

Andrew32
09-16-2011, 11:32 PM
My mistake, I fixed it.

I had changed the numbers from the 3rd game and I forgot to change that part.


Kobe
G1: 2
G2: 8
G3: 12
G4: 11
Combined : 33 / 8.25ppg

Tony_Starks
09-17-2011, 04:48 PM
I say Kobe still. Shaqs fourth quarter numbers look great but what those numbers don't tell you is that in clutch games with only a few possessions left he rarely touched the ball because of "hack a Shaq" and it was up to Kobe to take them home.....

Andrew32
09-17-2011, 05:44 PM
If its a close game then im pretty sure every point would be considered "Clutch" in a 4th quarter and when your routinely scoring 5-15+ PPG in that period like Shaq was your obviously scoring throughout the entire quarter not just in the 1st minute or so.

Shaq generally shot a higher % from the stripe in 4th quarters and in a few series from 00-02 he actually shot in the mid to high 60's from the stripe.

I forgot who but two coaches publicly admitted after the 3peat that "Hack-A-Shaq" was a failure of a strategy it just never worked for the opposing teams. I know one of them was Popovich.

I have watched all the games I will tell you that in those final minutes the ball would be dumped into Shaq and he would either score or pass out to an open man who would then pass it back into him for a repost or shoot/create his own shot depending on who he passed out to. Kobe would also take possessions sometimes to create but he usually worked within the system and more often then not would feed Shaq in the post even in crunch time.

Here is an example of why thinking Shaq wasn't getting the ball in crunch time is silly.

02 CNFinalz VS SAC 4QScoring

Shaq
G7 + OT : 15

Kobe
G7 + 0T : 6

knightstemplar
09-18-2011, 07:26 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J90qsQo5dg4&feature=player_detailpage#t=274s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bNeQkcjLJg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2tCu_mKUx8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM4zS6IX1Ug&feature=player_detailpage#t=172s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7mF5MT-__8&feature=player_detailpage#t=547s

Shaq was the better player, but in no way was he the closer

Andrew32
09-18-2011, 07:34 PM
I dont see how you can argue Shaq wasnt the Closer.

in 00 he was the Closer for the Team period.
Kobe being the closer in 1 game vs the Pacers doesn't change the fact that Shaq Closed out pretty much every other game in the playoffs (The Majority) and he was also the Closer in every other game in the Pacers series.

In 01 there were no closers since they pretty much swept the entire playoffs and very few games were close.

in 02 Shaq was the Closer VS Portland and VS the Kings.

In Regards to the Videos you Posted :
Shaq was the main Closer in the Pacers series averaging a ridiculous 11.5ppg in the 4THQuarters
The Nets series wasn't even close thanks to Shaqs Dominance.
They lost in 04 because of Kobe and you post his G2 GWinner? Are you kidding me?

The only legitimate Video/Closing moment you posted was the GWinner vs SAS in 2002 and even I said Kobe was the Closer vs the Spurs that year.

You cant Argue with the Numbers/Facts, Shaq closed out far more games and series then Kobe did.

The Myth is Broken.

Kobe's Production and Play was invaluable to the team dont get me wrong.
I am not saying the team has the same success without him but to falsely label him "The Closer" or the "Main Closer" when all stats/reality says otherwise is stupid.

knightstemplar
09-18-2011, 08:43 PM
I dont see how you can argue Shaq wasnt the Closer.

in 00 he was the Closer for the Team period.
Kobe being the closer in 1 game vs the Pacers doesn't change the fact that Shaq Closed out pretty much every other game in the playoffs (The Majority) and he was also the Closer in every other game in the Pacers series.

In 01 there were no closers since they pretty much swept the entire playoffs and very few games were close.

in 02 Shaq was the Closer VS Portland and VS the Kings.

In Regards to the Videos you Posted :
Shaq was the main Closer in the Pacers series averaging a ridiculous 11.5ppg in the 4THQuarters
The Nets series wasn't even close thanks to Shaqs Dominance.
They lost in 04 because of Kobe and you post his G2 GWinner? Are you kidding me?

The only legitimate Video/Closing moment you posted was the GWinner vs SAS in 2002 and even I said Kobe was the Closer vs the Spurs that year.

You cant Argue with the Numbers/Facts, Shaq closed out far more games and series then Kobe did.

The Myth is Broken.

Kobe's Production and Play was invaluable to the team dont get me wrong.
I am not saying the team has the same success without him but to falsely label him "The Closer" or the "Main Closer" when all stats/reality says otherwise is stupid.

lol

numbers point that kobe was the closer

who takes the shots with >1 min to go 99% of the time? Kobe does

Bruno
09-18-2011, 09:05 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J90qsQo5dg4&feature=player_detailpage#t=274s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bNeQkcjLJg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2tCu_mKUx8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM4zS6IX1Ug&feature=player_detailpage#t=172s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7mF5MT-__8&feature=player_detailpage#t=547s

Shaq was the better player, but in no way was he the closer

Great footage.

Andrew32
09-18-2011, 09:12 PM
lol

numbers point that kobe was the closer

who takes the shots with >1 min to go 99% of the time? Kobe does

So the numbers showing that Shaq scored the majority of the points in Chrunch time VS Portland and especially vs the Kings makes Kobe look like the Closer?

Facts :
Shaq was the Lakers main closer in 00
Shaq was the Closer VS POR and SAC in 02

Kobe closed out 1 or 2 games in 00
Kobe was the closer vs the SAS in 02

Both Shaq and Kobe were amazing Scorers in 01 and 02 and both scored plenty of 4Q Points.

I have no problem calling both Kobe/Shaq the closers for LA in 02 but to call either one the "Main Closer" especially if you say Kobe is just rewriting history. :clap:

I have watched all the LA Playoff games from 00-02 and I'll tell you more often then not in those Final two minutes the ball would be dumped down into Shaq and he would either score/get fouled or pass out due to a quick double/triple team.

This is just a comparison between Shaq and Kobe but in all honesty the true closers for LA were probably the roleplayers like Fisher, Horry and Fox who nailed countless huge shots during that run.

JordansBulls
09-26-2011, 01:08 PM
WCF 2000 he shot .402 vs Blazers

WCF 2001 he tore up Danny Ferry as Anderson hurt his shoulder. To be honest he always tore up SAS. I could never understand why Pop was so reluctant to double Kobe.

WCF 2002 SAS -Game 4, down by two Kobe drives into traffic, forces the shot and misses, luckily it gets tipped to Horry for the win or the Lakers are down 3 games to 1.

Game 5, Shaq fouls out in the fourth, now it's Kobe time, what does he do? Shoots 1 for his final eight shots and they lose by 1? No one talks about this debacle

Game 6 was a mess.

Game 7 of what was really the NBA finals (Since Nj had no chance) and Kobe doesn't have a FG in the fourth OR OT. Of course he was the "decoy" hmmm, top closer on the team as the decoy for 2 periods in a game 7. Somehow I don't think Phil is that dumb.

and he shot .353 vs the Blazers in a 3 game sweep that year, do you think he was carrying them that series?

He's had some good series. But really Shaq was the steady force that allowed them to be in games for Kobe to get a chance at heroics.

llemon
09-26-2011, 02:39 PM
Game 7 of what was really the NBA finals (Since Nj had no chance) and Kobe doesn't have a FG in the fourth OR OT. Of course he was the "decoy" hmmm, top closer on the team as the decoy for 2 periods in a game 7. Somehow I don't think Phil is that dumb.

One point. I assume you are talking about the WCF of '02.

If you are, Nets definitely had a shot at beating the Kings in the Finals.

bholly
09-26-2011, 05:58 PM
Yes, Dirk and Jordan were the best closers on the Lakers, as their names are on that list.

That list is there to support his argument about Shaq vs Kobe, by putting Shaq in the context of some of the greats. If you actually read the post you'd see it's about the Lakers, not about comparing those guys.

llemon
09-26-2011, 06:12 PM
That list is there to support his argument about Shaq vs Kobe, by putting Shaq in the context of some of the greats. If you actually read the post you'd see it's about the Lakers, not about comparing those guys.

I'm comparing the people on the initial list.

You compare who you like.

If this is a Shaq vs. Kobe debate, it belongs in a Lakers forum.

But Michael Jordan was the closer.

Ebbs
09-26-2011, 06:43 PM
For all those saying basketball is 4 quarters cool beans. There is relevence to this stat. Seeing who steps up and finishes games when the win is on the line is huge.

llemon
09-26-2011, 06:46 PM
For all those saying basketball is 4 quarters cool beans. There is relevence to this stat. Seeing who steps up and finishes games when the win is on the line is huge.

Cool beans indeed.

Did you ever hear of a player called 'The Late' James Silas?

Kevj77
09-26-2011, 10:52 PM
I say Kobe still. Shaqs fourth quarter numbers look great but what those numbers don't tell you is that in clutch games with only a few possessions left he rarely touched the ball because of "hack a Shaq" and it was up to Kobe to take them home.....This is the reality. Shaq could put up great 4th quarter numbers, but because of his terrible free throw shooting he wasn't able to be relied on in the last 2 minutes of games that were close.

It was never the entire 4th quarter only a couple minutes, one could argue they are the most important minutes of the game.

Andrew32
09-27-2011, 06:42 AM
This is the reality. Shaq could put up great 4th quarter numbers, but because of his terrible free throw shooting he wasn't able to be relied on in the last 2 minutes of games that were close.

It was never the entire 4th quarter only a couple minutes, one could argue they are the most important minutes of the game.

This is a bad "myth" to push and is simply not true.

If you think Shaq wasn't the main offensive option for LA in the closing minutes in many games and entire series then you simply failed to watch the games and I suggest you go back and watch them (youtube).

Dude didn't consistently score 8-15ppg in the 4Quarter by only scoring in the first 2 minutes he was a threat until the final buzzer rang. Not only would he be fed in the post and score/create for others/get fouled he was also very clutch on the defensive end coming up with key blocks and preventing the team from scoring and lets not forget he is/was one of the greatest offensive rebounders in the game and his ability to save possessions that way in the final moments was a big + for his team and another facet of his "Clutchness"

In 00 Shaqs pure Dominance won them the Ring, in 01 they (Shaq/Kobe) steam rolled the league.

In 02 which is the year I discuss Shaq actually hit his FT's especially when they counted and shot 65% from the line in the entire playoffs that season. So much for hack-a-Shaq and shaq being a liability those years. :clap:

Funny to see kids who dont know the history of the game but make bold statements like the one above.

Brooklyn Mets
09-27-2011, 09:59 AM
shaq was unstoppable in the fourth quarter.. until that whole "hack-a-shaq" thing haha

Andrew32
09-27-2011, 10:49 AM
Hack-A-Shaq never worked for opposing teams, and in the one year where it could have made a difference (02) where a number of series were closely contested Shaq went on to shoot 65-70% from the line throughout the entire playoffs.

Both G.POP and the Kings owner/coach agreed and publically stated in the early 00's that it was a worthless strategy because Shaq would either hit the FT's or he'd foul out the entire opposing team.