Well we’re two games into the NBA Finals and we’re sitting 1-1. The Lakers were able to ride Kobe and a surprising Ron Artest to a win in Game 1, while Ray Allen showed that he can still do it with a scorching performance of 32 points while breaking a NBA Finals Record for hitting 8 three pointers.
As far as Game 1 was concerned, the Celtics looked slow and old and almost not interested in the game. Paul Pierce ended the game with a decent stat line of 24 pts, 9 boards, 4 helpers, and 2 blocks, but most of this was done after the game was no longer in doubt. Artest hounded (beat) Pierce up for the majority of the game and also was able to make Pierce a lot more tentative after instigating the double technical foul call 20 seconds into the game. Kobe (30 pts) and Pau Gasol (23 pts, 14 boards) led the way for the Lakers. Artest not only held Pierce in check for most of the game but he gave them 15 pts, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Game 2 was a complete role reversal. Ray Allen was dogged by foul trouble in Game 1 but in Game 2 he came out with his jump shot switched to ‘ON’. Ray hit his first 7 3-pointers. It got so bad that the Lakers had to switch Kobe off of Rondo to try and cool down Allen. They even tried Artest at one point but the only person that seemed to be able to stop Allen was Doc Rivers. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett couldn’t even put up a combined triple double with 16 points (on 4 of 16 shooting), 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. Overshadowed by Allen’s onslaught was the triple double turned in by none other than Rajon Rondo (19pts, 12 rebs, 10 asts). Rondo was also key down the stretch making all the right plays. Kobe had a subpar game (21 pts, 5 fouls), while Gasol and Bynum controlled the paint with 46 pts, 14 rebounds, and 13 blocks combined. Kobe was seething after the game, so I expect for him to come out swinging in Game 3.
Recap on My Predictions:
KG has done his best Rashard Lewis/David Copperfield impression by disappearing in this series so far. I don’t know if it’s his leg or he’s tired or he’s old or a combination of all of them. It pains me somewhere deep in my heart to watch him lumber up and down the court like this. KG, please find your game, soon. Right now Gasol is killing you. (Matchup BIG in favor of Lakers)
Bynum is impressing me. He has played well in both games and has looked rather agile, mobile and ready to rumble with the Celtics. He is overpowering the shorter Perkins and he’s finishing at the rim. If this continues, the Celtics are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E. (Matchup swinging in favor of Lakers)
Pierce has not showed up yet either. Points-wise I’d call this matchup a draw, but the intangibles are heading in the Celtics favor. Before you ask if I’m crazy, the Celtics haven’t really needed Pierce, yet. He’s putting up some numbers but he isn’t taking a pounding (yet) and he’s got some life in his legs. Ray Allen getting off against in Game 2 forced the matchups that Boston wants. Worst case, this one is even. (Matchup even)
Kobe has put up 51 points in two games and that’s enough to normally swing this in the Lakers favor, however, I like the 32 point outburst by Ray Allen in Game 2 and what that means for the Celtics. I mentioned before the matchups, and if Kobe has to guard Allen instead of Rondo, this puts Fisher back on Rondo, who will continue to eat him (Fisher) alive. (Matchup even)
Rondo has a triple double and a not so bad Game 1. We know that this is the place where the Lakers try and hide Fisher and for good reason. (Matchup going in Celtics favor).
Celtic Bench Production – I pose this one question, what has Sheldon Williams done of not except to marry Candace Parker? Shelden, I’m a Dukie apologist and I need for you to do something instead of turning the ball over. Nate Robinson has provided some spark and I look for him to get a little more tick so that Doc can rest Rondo. Tony Allen, I can at least excuse you from my wrath for playing decent defense.
Lakers Bench Production – Tin Man, where are you? If Odom doesn’t play well next game, look for Kobe to hit him squa’ in the face during one of the huddles. Farmer has played ok, but for some reason he always seems to be a little too fast for his own good. Only 5 minutes of Luke Walton playing so, we’ll wait on that one.