Wow, what a game. After being down 24 in the first half, the Celtics came back to defeat the Lakers 97-91. Although they lost the services of two starters in the 2nd half (Perkins to a shoulder, Rondo to incompetence), the steady “understudies” James Posey and Eddie House subbed in to the tune of 18 and 11. Paul Pierce awoke from his slumber to engage in a chest-thumping duel with Kobe, which he narrowly won as they both finished with 14 during their 2nd half matchup. The Lakers once again had no answer for KG’s post game, as he scored when he pleased on the maniacal Spainard, who once again did little to justify the Kwame Brown trade (please, I beg of someone to write a column denouncing “early judgments” on that deal) But the real star of the game in was Ray Allen, who has been the most consistent Boston Celtic and making him my choice for Finals MVP.
Ray-Ray played all 48 minutes and was a steady contributer throughout the game, notching 5 in the 1st, 4 in the 2nd, 6 in the 3rd, and 4 in the 4th, including the daggah on an open drive with less than :20 to go. The guy is unfazable these days. It doesn’t matter if the Cs are down 20 in the 1st or up 3 in the 4th, Allen plays with the same intensity and focus regardless of pressure, quarter, defender, or defensive responsibility. Though Pierce’s overdramatic embraces and looks to the heavens will be grabbing headlines tomorrow, Jesus may have had the most covertly impressive defensive performance of the NBA playoffs. During the first half, Allen was covering Kobe, who scored only 3 points, all on FTs. In the 2nd half, after Pierce “heroically” demanded to guard Kobe, Allen drew Sasha Vujacic, who was then held scoreless for the remainder of the game. While holding the greatest player in the world to only 14 2nd half points on his home court is surely discussable, shutting out the Lakers’ X-Factor was even more crucial to the Celtics’ victory. The only difference between Tuesday nite’s result and tonite was Vujacic’s shooting and the man responsible for his regression was Ray Allen. M-V-P, M-V-P.
What the hell happened to Lamar Odom tonite? Guy came out like Gang-Busters (thank you Mike Breen for the impossibly dated reference. Coming Sunday, Flappers!!), netting 13 in the first quarter but then got complacent. He only dropped 6 after that. What an infuriating player. I pray to god that my absurdly unrealistic situation does not unfold in the future.
Some stats for ya: the Lakers went 10-17 in the first quarter and shot 14 FTs while jumping out to an NBA FInals record 21 point lead. The rest of the game went a little something like this: 21-60 FGs and 11-15 FTs.
I don’t know how much Kobe’s play contributed to the massive breakdown. In the first half, he netted 3 points but dished out 6 assists. In the second half, he scored 14 and dished 4. What happened? Well the Bench Mob disappeared. They scored approximately 0 points in the second half after pitching in with 15 in the first. Throwing them under the bus, however, may be unfair considering no one did anything in the 2nd half. Kobe was the only Laker to score more than 5 points in the final 24, with Gasol getting 5 and Radmonovich, Fisher, and Odom each scoring 4. Kobe must wish he still had access to the skills of Javaris Crittenton.
Pau Gasol is beyond lucky that KG chooses not to expose his shitty D on every possession. I can’t remember one time this series that KG hasn’t scored after working Gasol down in the post.
Though Pierce has played well in the Finals and his loyalty to the Celtics franchise is appluadable, he sure is one alienating dude. First their was the play in the third quarter where he fell to the floor, mid-play mind you, in mock-agony to watch his man Kobe drive untouched for an easy dunk. Doc saw his suppoesedly fragile franchise player writhing in pain and felt it necessary to call a TO to investigate. Well turns out there was nothing wrong with Pierce, who popped right up without a hand from any one. So what did that accomplish Pierce? You cost your team 2 points and a timeout. What the fuck were you thinking man? Did you forget that your late-game “heroics” might not be as celebrated in LA. Shit.
Another interesting incident involving Pierce occured after Allen had knocked down the layup with :16 to go that put the Cs up 5. First, Pierce was shown celebrating with some goofy ass victory grin despite the fact he had to guard the most gifted scorer in the NBA on the next possession. Victory was not clinched. After Pierce’s frolicking, ABC cameras showed the inside of the Celtics huddle. Ray Allen was in the foreground of the shot with Pierce in the back. As the rest of the team listened to Rivers’ instructions, the camera revealed Allen barking at Pierce to pay attention, who was probably too busy preparing his post-game interview rotation (over-dramatic look to the heavens-check, reminder of clutchness-check, heroicism mention-check. Man, what a fucking douchebag) After about 2 seconds, KG’s face was overcame with a look of disbelief before he too barked at the self-involved cock to listen up. It was a nice dose of reality for all those jokers who believe Pierce is the captain of this team. Anyone who is too immature or self-involved to pay attention to their coaches’ instruction before a possibly series-changing possession is clearly someone who should not be followed.
And finally more statistical evidence for the Ray-Ray MVP.
Game 1 – 19 points 5-13 FG, 8 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 BS
Game 2 – 17 points 6-11 FG, 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists
Game 3 – 25 points 8-13 FG, 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 BS
Game 4 – 19 pts 6-11 FG, 9 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Steals