Monday, June 7, 2010

Allen's Record Setting Night Sets The Tone, Series Tied 1-1

After a disappointing Game One, the Boston Celtics leave Los Angeles with what they came for: a split in the first two games. Led by Ray Allen's record setting performance from downtown, the Boston Celtics held off the Lakers 103-94. The Celtics now have the homecourt advantage and we officially have a series.

Allen had a night to remember as he broke the NBA Finals single game record for three pointers with 8. Allen tied the mark with 7 in the first half! Boston seemed to be in control of the game, leading by double digits in the first half, but Kobe Bryant nearly went Reggie Miller in the last 5 seconds of the half. After a Ron Artest miss (there were many of those last night), Shelden Williams threw a lazy pass that was intercepted by Bryant who then drained a three. On Boston's inbounds pass, Bryant again stole the ball and heaved up another three pointer that rattled in and out as time expired.

Despite Ray Allen's shooting clinic, Kobe had cut the lead to six as the teams headed into the locker room.

The second half seemed to swing in the Lakers' favor as they quickly took the lead. But Bryant fell into foul trouble picking up his fourth midway through the third quarter. Kobe was forced to sit and Boston kept the game close.

With just under 6 minutes left in the game. Bryant converted an "and 1" three point play to put the Lakers up three. This looked like the Black Mamba's time to break out and take control of the game and give his team control of the series. However it wasn't the game's greatest closer who took over, it was the game's newest star.

Through the first game and three quarters of Game Two, the Lakers were able to contain Rajon Rondo. That seemed to be the success for the Lakers in Game One. No one had been able to hold down Rondo in the Playoffs.

After Kobe had given the Lakers a three point lead, Rondo scored Boston's next six points on easy driving layups. The dagger was Rondo's midrange jumper with under two to play to give Boston a 95-90 lead.

Kobe got uncharacteristically cold down the stretch and couldn't will his team to victory. Everyone was waiting for Bryant to take over, but it never happen.

After two games in Los Angeles where Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce failed to show up last night, the series is somehow tied. Yeah, Rondo was clutch in Game Two, but it was Ray Allen scoring 27 of his 32 points in the first half that gave the Celtics the spark they were so desperately needing.

Rondo finished with his second triple double of this postseason and 5th postseason triple D overall. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. I still don't understand how this guy gets an easy 12 boards? While the bigs are down low fighting for a rebound, Rondo is making a living running just inside the free throw line grabbing loose ball rebounds.

Maybe the biggest question through the first two games has been the officiating. That always seems to come up this time of year. Kevin Garnett was on the floor for 24 minutes last night. Kobe Bryant got into foul trouble early and often and Phil Jackson was forced to sit Kobe more often than usual.

It's the NBA Finals, we don't want to see the stars on the bench. These are supposed to be the best referees the NBA has to offer. These guys should know all about Derek Fisher and Paul Pierce's flopping. At times, they do seem to let the guys play, but the questionable fouls are usually little tick tac, low contact calls.

The Lakers shot 15 more free throws than the Celtics. However, both teams were whistled for 29 fouls each. So in a way, the referees have been consistent with each team, but there's a lot of times where they need to swallow the whistle. At times, players aren't on the floor long enough to find their rhythm

The difference in the game was easily Boston shooting a "redonkulous" 68.8% (11-16) downtown! The Lakers were just 5-22 from behind the arc.

Also, the Celtics got great production off the their bench as Rasheed Wallace had 7 points/ 7 rebounds, Glen Davis put in 8 points/7 rebounds, and Nate Robinson, again!, got off twitter and put in 7 crucial points off the bench when Boston needed to rest Rondo.

As for the Lakers, Ron Artest was Ron-Ron, shooting 1-10! for six points. Lamar Odom played a total of 15 minutes with only 3 points off the bench as he to got into foul trouble.

In a game where Paul Pierce was just 2-11, he already said Boson won't be coming back to LA. Careful Paul, you don't need to wake up a sleeping Mamba. Now the Lakers have to win at least one of three in Boston or else Kobe will have to go back to hearing about how good Shaq was.