Before the game, my friend Ankur suggested we live blog this game for this site. After the game, I am just thrilled that I said no. By the second quarter, I would have snapped and started swearing like a sailor (no word on how the stupid Microsoft Word paper clip would have handled that.) Yes, as a Laker fan I did think that the calls were one sided, but as a more objective fan I also realize that much of the discrepancy had to do with the Celtics continuously getting to the hoop and playing aggressive for most of the game and being rewarded for doing so by the refs while the Lakers after 5 or 6 minutes in the first quarter started playing very passively and settling for jumpers. As a result, the Lakers were largely ignored. That’s the way it works in the NBA. I don’t believe there was any other bias or league wide conspiracy or anything of that sort. The Lakers lost because until their comeback in the 4th quarter, they played timid and scared. Their defense was inconsistent at best, which was highlighted by Leon Powe going end to end for an uncontested dunk. If they play defense like that in LA, the series is over in four. Anyway, lets take a look at who played well and who didn’t for both teams
Who Played Well:
Leon Powe: The ultimate hero for the Celtics. He kept getting good inside position, and continuously disrupted whatever the Lakers tried to do defensively. He got 21 points in 14 minutes. Interestingly enough, and something alerted to me by one of our readers, this is not the first time Powe has come up big in an important game. He came up with a combined 19 points off the bench in the two game sevens that Boston has played. Props to loyal reader Pat Monk for the heads up.
Paul Pierce: Do I believe Pierce is badly injured? No, I do not. That’s not to say he faked anything. Its just that in game one he fell to the ground, heard a pop, and freaked out. Then he put his foot down, and discovered it really wasn’t that bad. Can we stop bringing it up now? Anyway, Pierce was the steadiest of the big three in game two. He went right at Kobe’s defense in the end game and well the Celtics did win didn’t they?
Rajon Rondo: Didn’t shoot particularly well, but his 16 assists more than made up for it. Credit Rondo for knowing that his shot isn’t great and passing up those shot chances to get his teammates better looks.
Who Played Poorly:
Kendrick Perkins: Second straight mediocre game for this starting center. Didn’t do a great job protecting the rim, and didn’t make the Lakers pay for not guarding him like Leon Powe or PJ Brown did. Should play even less minutes in game 3.
Kevin Garnett: didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (7-19,) and the Lakers have had no problems attacking him at the hoop. Gasol especially took him to the bucket whenever he wanted.
Who Played Well:
Pau Gasol: Played even better than he did in game one by rebounding better and playing aggressive the whole game (something you can’t say for the rest of the Lakers.) Why the hell didn’t the Lakers try harder to get him the ball in the second half? The offense should run through this guy for game three.
Who Played Poorly:
Kobe Bryant: He still did not attack the rim, and continued to settle for jumpers. One play was telling. In the third quarter he attacks the rim gets fouled, but no call. Instead of getting angry and continuing to drive to the hoop, he got a technical foul and didn’t go inside again until late in the 4th. He is the leader of the team, and it is on him to lead by example and get to the rim early and often in game 3.
Lamar Odom: Started off playing so aggressive for the first 6 minutes, and ended the game watching on the bench. A talent like Odom should be dominating Leon Powe or PJ Brown, instead he has played ineffective in the first two games.
Luke Walton: Not enough of an athlete to play as much as he did this game. Pierce curiously didn’t attack him as much as he should have in the second quarter. With the Lakers needing to play stronger defense in game 3, Walton’s minutes should be cut in favor of Sasha Vujacic and Trevor Ariza
- Down 24 with under 8 minutes to go, the Lakers started one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history only to fall short. I’ll be honest, I thought it was over before that. Despite falling short, I’m glad the Lakers proved me wrong. I hope that they take that aggressive play full of dribble penetrations and assists over to game 3. Sorry for counting you out.
- Ultimately, all the Celtics did was hold serve by winning the first two games. Now it is on the Lakers to do the same and bring it back to Boston up 3-2. There is no way they win both games in Boston if they don’t.
- The biggest thing about the Celtics winning on the boards is that it doesn’t allow the Lakers to fast break as much as they would like to, but since the Celtics don’t fast break, the Lakers might as well just send 4 guys to the rim on every shot. They might not get to run the break as much, but they will cut down on second chance opportunities for the Celtics.
- Too many turnovers for both teams. Teams combined for 28.
- Who the hell are Boston Pop and why were they playing the national anthem for the NBA finals and not some high school baseball game?
- Here is hoping Phil Jackson mispronouncing Leon Powe’s name in post game comments leads to the complete and utter unraveling of the Celtics.
- For Celtics fans, you have to be thrilled right now. Other than the 4th quarter rally by the Lakers, the Celtics have come out this series and done all the little things while being the aggressor in the series. If they can win even one in LA, the series is as good as over (providing they don’t completely collapse at home.) As it is, the team that wins the first two games has gone on to win the series 90 percent of the time.
- Speaking of which, would I mind if the NBA gives Kobe the Wade treatment for the rest of the series…I’m still thinking about that one…