To no one’s real surprise the Celtics and Lakers are coming back to Boston for Game Three tied at one game a piece in the 2010 NBA Finals. The first two games taught us a lot about the matchups and the how the rest of the series will play out. Here is what I learned from Games One and Two:
*The Lakers can’t matchup with the Celtics backcourt. Derek Fisher can’t guard Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant can’t guard both guys at the same time. In Game 2, Ray grilled Fisher to the tune of 27 points in the first half. In the second half Kobe was on Ray and Rondo baked Fisher to the tune of a triple double and getting into the lane at will. The only way the Lakers can stop the Celtics backcourt is by doing what they did in Game 1. They need to get Ray in foul trouble so he can’t find a rhythm. My off the wall bold idea for the Lakers would be to stick Ron Artest on Rondo for a few possessions to shake things up. In the same breath I say that, I don’t know who would guard Pierce who is yet to really go off in this series because of Artest.
*How does that Ray Allen for Monta Ellis or Ray Allen for Kevin Martin trade look now? Big ups to Danny Ainge for being patient and understanding there was no need to panic and trade an important piece of this squad. Amazing how different sports can be. The Bruins lack of movement might have ultimately cost them a trip to Chicago for the Stanley Cup. The Celtics sit back and relax and they are playing for the NBA crown.
*In Game 1, Kobe got to the rack, was able to score in the paint, and create for his teammates with his penetration (No pun intended, honestly). Game 2 was quite different as Kobe was forced to take many fall away jumpers from all over the court. Sure, he will hit two out of five because he is the best player on the planet and you have to tip your hat to him when he does so. However, I would rather give up points to him in that fashion, rather than him getting to the free throw line and getting the Celts in foul trouble. What was lost in Game 2 was the great defense Ray played on Kobe, all the while carrying the Celtics in the first half on the offensive end. Rondo deserves credit here as well.
*Yes, Kevin Garnett is injured. I do not care what he or Doc Rivers says. I admire the man for trying to play through his injuries but I also think Doc needs to be smart in how he uses KG. KG was, as Mark Jackson said at one point, "gross" in Game 2. However he did hit a huge shot with 1:20 left in the game to pretty much guarantee the win. I think Doc should use KG for 20-25 minutes from here on out. Throw different looks at Gasol. Sheed has been the best defending Gasol and Glen Davis has played hard as well. Garnett is a veteran and understands his role. To expect him to be anything better than a mere presence on the court is expecting too much.
*Last year in the playoffs Glen Davis was a pleasant surprise. This year he is being just as productive in an entirely different role. Celtics fans everywhere have to appreciate how hard he works in the paint, chasing down offensive rebound after offensive rebound when he is the smallest player in the front court for both teams. He keeps possessions alive and also has the ability to spread the floor with his 15 foot jump shot. Baby has been the unsung hero for the Celts this postseason.
*At this point, I would love for the Celtics not to have to go back to LA. I would love to not see anymore of the celebrities in Hollywood at the game. I don’t want to see Jack Nicholson, Hillary Swank (yes, she is hot), or Rob Lowe. I am all set. But I’d be naive to think the Celtics can close this out at home. Also I am well aware the NBA loves money. I think the Celtics win Game 3 and Game 5. The Lakers take Game 4. The Celtics will fly west for Game 6 and if necessary Game 7. In 2008 I’d of hated that, but the Celtics are actually better on the road than they are at home and I am feeling confident that the Celtics have to many questions that the Lakers can’t answer.