At the suggestion of one of my readers, I'm going to breakdown an NBA Finals game video that was posted on pastapadre.com
The game was played on all-star difficulty. I don't expect this to be the end all be all as all-star is only medium difficulty. Online games are typically on superstar so this is a level below what most of us are used to playing. Quarters are five minutes long. It should also be noted going in that pastapadre is a noted EA lover, had nothing positive to say about 2K10 in his writeup, prefers NBA Live, and is consequently not too good at 2K. So now that THAT disclaimer is out of the way...
This simulated season led to a Celtics/Blazers Finals matchup. The Celtics are 88 overall, the Blazers 79 overall. Pasta picks the Blazers, if only because he is used to siding with inferior franchises.
5:00 - Celtics win the tip. Rondo gives it to Pierce on the wing. Pasta plays off-ball with Andre Miller and watches Pierce penetrate and dump it to KG way too deep in the post. Pasta switches too late and gives us a token mistimed jump with Greg Oden en route to an easy deuce for KG.
4:40 - Miller gives it to Batum on the wing. Roy comes off a screen and Pasta makes a cross court pass that is likely picked off on a tougher difficulty (or if Ray Allen were a stronger defender). Roy drives it into the teeth of the defense and scores on Kendrick Perkins.
4:25 - Pasta actually plays man defense this time. He plays it alright until Rondo makes his move, whereupon Rondo actually loses Pasta without even using an iso move. Fortunately for Pasta, Rondo passes to KG, who misses a turnaround jumper. Unfortunately for Pasta, he contests this with Greg Oden instead of LaMarcus Aldridge, which leaves Perkins free to get an easy offensive rebound and two points.
4:00 - Roy to Batum for a semi-contested three. It's good. All-star difficulty ftw.
3:50 - KG misses a mid-range jumper. Fortunately Pasta doesn't switch in time so the CPU provides a contest and he misses the shot.
3:30 - Roy brings it up and dumps it down to Miller who is posting on Rondo. KG provides some help but Miller still scores on a hook. Are you ****ing kidding me?
3:20 - Celtics dump it down to Perkins. Pasta plays off-ball with Roy until he realizes that Perkins is acutally winning his post battle with Aldridge. Perkins looks like he's about to score but then gets hit with a shot clock violation.
3:03 - Aldridge post up at the FT line. Pierce inexplicably comes over to play behind KG rather than offer an actual double team. This makes zero sense since Aldridge is not a good enough post player to beat KG, and he is operating in the high post (much higher degree of difficulty than the low post). Aldridge kicks it to Batum for an open three, which is good. Pasta hasn't missed a shot yet. The socre is 10-4 after 2 minutes and 10 seconds.
Boston calls timeout. Rudy Fernandez subs in for Batum, a bit odd since Batum has 6 of the 10 points and is shooting like Fernandez as it is. Not to mention Pierce can eat Rudy alive if he gets a chance.
2:50 - Rondo gives it to KG for another mid-range jumper, which he clanks.
2:40 - Rudy tries to fast break but the Celtics get back. He gives it up to Oden who is 15 feet from the basket. Pasta's reaction is "uhhhhh now what?". He instinctively gives it up to Roy, rushes a three, and clanks it.
2:30 - Roy doesn't get back on defense and Rondo finds Allen running the floor for an easy layup.
2:20 - Pasta runs a pick and roll with Aldridge to disasterous effect (tip: if the CPU reads the play you do not force the pass with 10 seconds still left on the shot clock). He turns it over.
2:05 - Roy is guarding Pierce. Rudy is guarding Rondo. Pierce is at the 3pt line. Rudy slides off Rondo ever so slightly to give some meaningless help on Pierce. Neither player switches back when Pierce gives it up to Rondo, who hits a 10 footer in front of the recovering Rudy.
1:45 - A Fernandez head fake actually loses Pierce, but he then takes an off dribble mid-range shot that is mildly contested. Rudy is not good from mid-range or off the dribble, and misses. Oden grabs the offensive board and gets an easy two points. Had Perkins blocked him out rather than jumping for the board himself, Celtics likely get the rebound.
1:25 - Pasta dares Rondo to shoot a three. Rondo instead opts to use a KG screen, give it back to KG at the top of the college 3pt line. KG makes some triple threat moves and blows past Pasta so bad my eyes lit in anticipation of the slamma jamma that would ensue thanks to this wide open past to the lane...
...only KG passes the ball. To Kendrick Perkins, who is 12 feet from the basket. Who gives it back out to Rondo on the 3pt line. Glad to see the AI still sucks in this game. Rondo gives it back to Perkins for a 10 foot hook and is fouled by Oden.
Perkins hits the first shot, and the teams make the following substitutions.
PG: Ray Allen
SG: Paul Pierce
SF: Tony Allen
PF: Rasheed Wallace
C: Kendrick Perkins (at the FT line and couldn't be subbed out)
Three things wrong with this lineup.
1. Ray at PG surely has a lot to do with Eddie House's butchered rating.
2. Tony Allen coming off the bench before Marquis Daniels?
3. Tony Allen (6'4" Tony Allen) playing SF in a lineup with Paul Pierce (SF Paul Pierce)
Portland's lineup is much more realistic
PG: Steve Blake
SG: Brandon Roy
SF: Rudy Fernandez
PF: Travis Outlaw
C: LaMarcus Aldridge
Getting back to the play... Perkins misses the 2nd FT. KG passed up a wide open dunk for 1/2 FTs. Smashing.
1:05 - Rudy Fernandez sets a pick for Miller. Good to see you can actually control which player is setting the picks now. Anyway Pierce makes absolutely no effort to follow Rudy on the roll which results in an easy dunk for Rudy.
0:55 - Pasta plays awful man defense with Rudy and Pierce gets an easy two from mid-range.
0:40 - Roy brings it up, tries to back down Paul Pierce, which obviously fails. Brings it out again, swings it to Blake off a screen. Roy cuts to the basket and Pierce (again, inexplicably) offers help defense on STEVE BLAKE which results in an easy deuce for the cutting Roy.
0:25 - Pasta again shows us that he is a truly terrible defensive player, and that he may not understand basketball all that well. He is playing a 2-3 zone yet is playing man defense with Roy. Perkins sets a screen at the top of the 3pt line and Roy attempts to follow Pierce over it. The correct play would have been not following (and if anything, switching to Miller who was standing right behind Perkins at the 3pt line). Roy gets screened hard and Pierce gets a wide-open look to the basket. He pro hops into the lane, which makes Pasta jump way too early with Aldridge, and Pierce gets an easy two points.
0:10 - Rudy runs to the corner for a mid-range jumper. Tony Allen who is supposed to be a solid perimeter defender, looks like he's got lead feet and can't keep up with Rudy.
0:03 - Ray walks the ball up court for a second before realizing OH SHOOT THERES ONLY TWO SECONDS NOW. He launches a pass to Pierce, who takes two dribbles and calmly drains a 28 footer. Unfortunately, because Allen decided to waste that extra second, it doesn't count. Hooray for 2K's impeccable CPU clock management.
FIRST QUARTER STATS
Blazers 18, Celtics 13
Batum: 6 points (2-2 FG, 2-2 3PT)
Rudy: 4 points (2-3 FG)
Roy: 4 points (2-3 FG, 0-1 3PT)
Oden: 2 points (1-1 FG)
Miller: 2 points (1-1 FG)
Team: 18 points (8-10 FG, 2-3 3PT, 0-0 FT)
Pierce: 4 points (2-2 FG)
Perkins: 3 points (1-1 FG, 1-2 FT)
Garnett: 2 points (1-3 FG)
Rondo: 2 points (1-1 FG)
R. Allen: 2 points (1-1 FG)
Team: 13 points (6-8 FG, 0-0 3PT, 1-2 FT)
Both teams combine for 14-18 FG. Celtics do not attempt a three despite the fact that they take more than most teams (though tough to fault given how crappy Pasta's man defense was).
What's encouraging is that the Celtics shot that well because Pasta's defense was truly horrendous and it was clear he had no idea what he was doing on this end. What is discouraging is that Pasta scored seemingly at will. The shots he missed were bad shots, and he still hit a few of these. Moreover, the league's top defensive team offered next to no resistance and were constantly beaten on screens.
All in all, it looks like more of what we saw in 2K9, with less dunking but even worse defense. If CPU controlled Tony Allen can't keep up with Rudy Fernandez, I can only imagine how easily Kobe and LeBron would score on him.