Thoughts on Round Two of the Super Fight known as the 2008 NBA Finals.
My Finals prediction before the series was the Los Angeles Lakers in five or six games and although this series is by no means over, it looks like the Boston Celtics will win this series in six games or possibly even in five.
With the exception of the final six minutes of the game, the Celtics could have beaten the 80’s Showtime Lakers or the 71-72 Lakers or any other great NBA clubs.
Of course having a 38-10 advantage at the free throw can help you beat anyone.
The Lakers had been able to win in the post-season with out him, but now in the Finals the team now officially misses Andrew Bynum. When one of the Celtics-like Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo takes it to the hoop, the Lakers have no choice but to collapse on him because there’s no real defensive presence in the paint. Thus the Celtics can kick out to one of their shooters and the Laker defenders are having trouble rotating out to them.
It was the Lakers reserves: Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Rony Turiaf and Luke Walton a.k.a. “The Bench Mob” that had played so well during the season and was supposed to give the Lakers an advantage in this series but after a quiet game one, they didn’t really show up last night either until six minutes were remaining in the fourth quarter of last night‘s game.
As it turned out it’s the reserves for the Men in Green--Leon Powe, PJ Brown, James Posey and Sam Cassell--who have had the most impact in the first two games of the series.
Of course Leon Powe was the story of last night’s game. A 2006 second round draft pick of the Denver Nuggets, he was the the Pacific 10 Conference Freshman of the Year during the 2003-04 season and think how good he could have been if he hadn’t suffered that knee injury before his sophomore season at California. Needless to say Powe was awesome last night as he morphed from former-college-basketball-star-trying-to-revive-his-career into a hybrid of Bob McAdoo (scoring 21 points in 15 minutes), Adrian Dantley (getting to the charity stripe 13 times) and Julius Erving (throwing down a couple of crazy power dunks).
And was that Rajon Rondo running the Celtics offense/picking apart the Lakers defense/handing out 16 assists last night or was it Chris Paul in disguise?
Is it possible for a player to be both terrific and awful at the same time? Well, Vladamir Ramanovic showed it was possible last night. He scored 13 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and played a key role in last night’s fourth quarter rally. However he also helped snuff out the clubs third quarter rally where the Celtics lead was cut to nine points as he took an ill-advised shot and made a bad pass while being burned twice on defense which allowed Paul Pierce to score twice and the Celtics re-claimed control of the game. During the club’s fourth quarter comeback, Vlad failed to pull a KG miss shot which went straight to him, resulting in a Ray Allen layup. He also lost track of James Posey, who hit a three pointer in the corner to put the Celtics up 102-88 with 3:38 remaining in the game.
Was the Lakers rally good for them as it gives them more confidence as the Finals now shifts back to their crib or was it bad for them because it may make the Celtics sharper and more focused for the rest of the series?
One thing is a must for the Lakers: attack the Celtics defense-which has been so good so far-with the Side Pick and Roll as it really confused Doc Rivers club when they started using it in the third quarter. I’m puzzled as why the club didn’t to it more often in the same way I was when Oscar De La Hoya stopped using his jab against Floyd Mayweather,
The Lakers ran the wrong play with 22 seconds left in the game and triailing 106-102 by deciding to have Kobe Bryant inbounds the ball and then run to the other side of the floor and post him up on the weak side. It instead resulted in a Vujacic three pointer which was blocked by that Paul Pierce guy.
Everyone outside of Beantown think Paul Pierce was acting/faking his knee injury in game one, but I think PP did his best acting job drawing Kobe’s third foul in the second quarter as he flew backwards and landed on his back after Kobe simply bumped into him while chasing Ray Allen on defense.
Do you get the feeling that Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are going to get into a fight--and a real bad one--really soon? They just don't belong on the same announcing crew as they seem to vehemently disagree on almost everything that they say.