Takin' Care of Business
The Celtics beat the Lakers last night to go ahead in their Finals series 2-0. The photo above is about the nadir for the Lakers in the game -- Leon Powe (one of my favorite Celtics) went the length of the court uncontested to dunk over the Lakers as they all watched. Leon works hard every play, and the Celtics outworked the Lakers for most of the game.
I was actually glad that the Lakers cut the Celtics 24-point fourth quarter lead to 2-points by the end. I think that having the Lakers make that come back and fall short hurts them more psychologically than a pure blowout. Everyone knows that the Lakers were going to get hot at some point. The key is that the Celtics withstood the 3-point shooting barrage and pulled it out in the end.
Now they go to LA for games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary). The 2-3-2 format, decried by Bob Ryan of the Globe today, is a great equalizer in the Finals. It really minimizes the benefit of home court advantage and makes it critical that the home team win both of the first two games, as the Celtics did. I'm hopeful that the Celtics can win at least one of the three, which would put them in a good position coming back to Boston for Game 6.
I don't think that Doc Rivers gets enough credit for how he is coaching the Celtics. He keeps making adjustments to counter what the Lakers are doing and to take advantage of what is working for the Celtics. In last night's game, Leon Powe provided the spark. Doc kept his rotation pretty short -- Sam Cassell hurt his wrist and only played 6 minutes. With Kendrick Perkins's ankle still sore, he only played 14 minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if Doc goes to Eddie House or Glen "Big Baby" Davis at some point in LA. He has a deep bench (which didn't get enough credit from the national media), and Doc takes good advantage of it.