Tag: Celtics Lakers Game 2

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 2: Rajon Rondo's block from behind

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Before we move on to Game 3, let’s look back really quickly at one of the signature plays of Game 2: Rajon Rondo’s block from behind.

Two things to take away from this. First, Rondo’s recovery is amazingly quick. Just a fantastic play. Second, Ron Artest should have taken the three he had, not passed to Fisher. But he heard the voice of Phil Jackson in his head saying “stop shooting the corner three, Ron” and he hesitated, and that’s all it took.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: Paul Pierce talks trash to a fan. Alert the media.


Pierce_celebrates.jpgLet’s get the facts out of the way first:

With 1:12 left in Game 2 and the Celtics up by seven, Paul Pierce came over to help Kevin Garnett up off the ground and said:

We are not going back to L.A.

Here is the video, via Sports By Brooks, and Pierce is clearly saying it.

Some Lakers fans are taking offense at this. Some Celtics fans are taking this as a sign of the confidence of their team to take the whole thing. Both fan bases are delusional (which we knew going into this series).

So, in the heat of the moment, Paul Pierce talked trash. His team was about to even the NBA finals on the road, and he was pumped up and talking smack to a fan.

So what? Athletes stay stuff in the heat of an intense game all the time, things that are far worse. To fans, to refs, to each other. Pick up games at the Y have worse trash talk, let alone what gets said on the interior of an NFL line.

But, some microphone picked this up and it is a story. Look, the 2-3-2 NBA finals format punishes the road team something fierce. Winning three games in a row — even at home — against a quality opponent is a real long shot. The Lakers are going to win one of the games in Boston, at least. What, you think a Rondo triple-double and a Ray Allen three-point record are going to happen nightly?

Then the Celtics will have to win one more on the road. Probably a Game 7. And that’s what we all want to see anyway. Whatever Paul Pierce says during a game.

NBA Finals, Lakers Celtics Game 2: Getting a hot Ray Allen the ball, and guys in panchos

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After the game, there was a lot of talk about Ray Allen getting open and draining threes. Most of this video is about that.

But watch until the last question. No, that is not me. And not Matt Moore (although there is a resemblance there). That is Fox Sports Radio and LA area sports talk legend Vic “the brick” Jacobs. And yes, he is like that all the time. All. The. Time.


NBA Finals, Lakers Celtics Game 2: When it's not Kobe time, it's ugly time for the Lakers


Jackson_Artest.jpgKobe Bryant entered back into the game with 6:16 left in the contest and proceeded to score five-quick points — an and-1 where Ray Allen fouled him near the elbow, followed by another bucket with a spin-to-the-left move on Allen.

Then Kobe — a little tentative with five fouls — couldn’t make a shot, as the Celtics threw every defender they could find at him. Other Lakers needed to step up.

And without Kobe taking over it got ugly. The Lakers showed no poise, they did not look like a team that had won the title.

Andrew Bynum picked up an offensive foul by moving pick. Ron Artest picked up a foul as he tried to do too much despite a cold shooting night. Kobe missed a 13-footer with 3:55 left. He would later miss a three pointer and an 8-footer. There was Artest’s horrible forced post entry pass to Pau Gasol that was stolen. There was Derek Fisher stepping back to take a three and giving Rajon Rondo time to recover and make a beautiful from-behind block.

Then there was the bizarre possession that best exemplified how the Lakers lost all sense of self at the end of the game — Artest dribbling the ball for a dozen seconds while the Lakers were down 8 and needing a quick shot. He called for a pick from Bynum then ran wide off of it. moved from the right side to the left, never giving up the ball until he launched a one-footed, double-pumped leaning jumper that had no chance. The only fitting thing to do — show that possession with the Benny Hill theme music behind it.

Kobe did drain a three after a Gasol offensive rebound on that Artest miss, but that was after the Lakers had blown six ugly possessions in a row and the game was getting out of reach in the final minutes.

Credit the Celtics defense, which put pressure on the Lakers, forcing them to make decisions. They made bad ones. Los Angles looked desperate and out of control.

It was a fitting end for the how the Lakers had played all night. For much of the game the Lakers tried to attack the Boston defense straight off the dribble, playing right into the hands of the Celtics who like to overload the strong side. In Game 1 the Lakers swung the ball to the weakside and quickly attacked off the dribble into a still-rotating defense, but in Game 2 the ball movement went the way of the dodo bird.

That was especially true in the final minutes. The Lakers became jump shooters when Andrew Bynum and Gasol had given them 46 points on 20 shots.

The Celtics pressured and the Lakers lost themselves. They lost their poise.

It’s going to be a lot harder to find it in Boston. But if the Lakers are going to repeat they must show some poise on the road that they did not in Game 2.

NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 2: Milk cartons, desert islands, and Kevin Garnett


Garnett_solo.jpgAfter Ray Allen was plagued by foul trouble in Game 1, it was Kevin Garnett’s turn to fade into the background as the calls piled up against him in Game 2.

KG’s final stat line — six points, four rebounds, and six assists — is probably too rosy a representation of his overall impact; Garnett would occasionally make a play of some import, but for the most part, Kevin was invisible. That’s not what the Celtics have come to expect from Garnett in these playoffs, and Boston will need something more if they’re going to really put pressure on the Lakers.

Boston’s overall defense was improved from their Game 1 calamity, and Garnett does deserve some credit for that. In terms of his ability to function defensively in a team setting, KG wasn’t exactly awful.

Still, his one-on-one defense was poor yet again, which says as much about the superior play of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum as it does about Garnett’s ineffectiveness. This is not the best defense Kevin is capable of playing, and whether it’s a “lack of explosiveness,” a bad match-up, or anxious whistle-blowers that ail him, he desperately needs to make some kind of impact in future games.

Ray Allen is not going to shoot 8-of-11 from three every night, and Kobe Bryant won’t always go 8-for-20 from the field. Ron Artest won’t always be such a possession-killer, and Rajon Rondo may not always rack up a triple-double.

Even if the things didn’t go perfectly for Boston (Paul Pierce’s performance in particular left a bit to be desired), a lot went right. Certainly enough to off-set superb outings from Gasol and Bynum. The only problem is that aside from a nice feed to Kendrick Perkins here or a big make over Ron Artest there, Garnett really wasn’t a part of it.

Expecting KG to best Pau Gasol would be a bit much, but it would certainly be nice to see him do more than simply dress out. He wasn’t inefficient and he didn’t hurt his team while he was on the floor, but Garnett seems an awfully uncomfortable wallflower.

It’s nice for Boston to take a game even without KG’s help, but the disappearing act needs to stop now. If anyone can find the Kevin Garnett that completely shut down his defensive assignments in the first three rounds, tell him to come to the front of the store: his teammates and coach are looking for him.