The mission was to take one out of the two games at the Staples Center, and the mission was accomplished. It’s really funny how tides of emotion quickly shift within the media, and fans from one game to the next. It’s never enough to just put things in perspective and take them as they are.
The Lakers played a great Game 1 and the Celtics did not. Pau Gasol proved he was going to be a different player from the ’08 series, and Kobe did as well. Nothing need more be said about it.
Instead you heard the Celtics were too old, LA is too physically dominant, and their playoff run would end in a Finals loss to the Lakers. Same bullshit rhetoric that occurred during the regular season when everybody eulogized the Big Three and kicked around thoughts on how to rebuild around Rondo.
The onus was on LA to win these two games in the first sequence of the series, Celtics just needed to split. Using the previous Game 1, as the prerequisite for determining the winner of the next game is something sports fans should know better than not to do. Especially with this team.
If that was the case Cleveland would of easily won the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal after that Game 3 ass whooping that gave them a 2-1 series lead over the Celtics, and Orlando would of carried the momentum from their Game 5 smashing and played much better in their season ending Game 6 loss that sent the Celtics to the Finals.
Lets all stay level headed here, no sporting event is ever determined after only one-fourth of its completion. The Celtics did not lose the series after Game 1, and they did not win it after Game 2. They accomplished their mission of taking a much needed road victory and that is all.
The game itself along with Game 1 was over-officiated. The first game favored no team, this one however was at a point where LA had a free throw advantage 37 to 14 which ended up being 41 to 26 and it was only that close because of the intentional fouls by the Lakers towards the end. Boston attacked just as much as LA did, but were not the beneficiaries of the calls the Lakers were such as Pierce rejecting Artest’s fast-break layup, and Glen Davis stuffing Andrew Bynum’s low-post try, both whistled as shooting fouls.
Ray Allen’s performance was epic, and it might have booked him an extension with the Celtics. There were a few instances of defensive breakdown where Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown lost him, but a lot of that credit needs to be paid towards his indispensable skill of moving without the ball that no player to play this game, besides Reggie Miller, have been able to mimic. That legendary first half propelled them, only to have a 13-point lead deteriorated by Shelden Williams’s pissed-pants performance to 6, after a Hall of Hame play by Kobe to steal an outlet pass and hit a buzzer-beating 30-footer.
Rondo in the first half was not very assertive, and looked like the shy youngster he was in’08. It appeared as if something was wrong with him until he relished in the superstar role we’re now used to seeing him in. Providing evidence again in the second half why he is one of the 5 best players in the league.
Something needs to be said for the extra possessions he provides for this team with his defensive awareness like when he overplayed Fisher on a key sequence only to retreat and block his shot from behind to maintain a 3 point lead. Then on offense when Perkins went soft to the hoop and was denied by Gasol, Rondo regained the ball and went hard right into Pau to make a much-needed basket. Then followed that with a jump shot to take a 5-point lead, his supposed fatal flaw.
His impact on this game made up for a bad showing by Kevin Garnett, who eventually added an important bucket over Artest with Gasol behind him, and big rebound towards the end. Paul Pierce’s defense along with Kendrick’s, and also Big Baby, Sheed, and Nasty Nate’s off the bench contributions cannot go unnoticed.
But Allen and Rondo were the alpha dogs tonight, and they took control of the airplane and told the rest of the guys to provide the cookies and water for the patrons.
See you in Boston!