A Must Win for the Celtics

The Lakers came out strong in Game 1 sending a message to their foe. We are the world champions until someone beats us, and you’re not going to beat us. The Celtics got the message in Game 2, especially Ray Allen. Eight three-pointers is an NBA playoff record, as well as starting the game making seven in a row. Add that to Rondo’s triple double, and the Celtics tied the series and a game a piece.

Headed back to Boston, much as expected, Kevin Garnett, who played horribly in the first two games, came out firing, giving the Celtics an early lead. But the Lakers once again put their foot down in the series that looks like it may just be flip-flopping games. Despite good play from Rondo again, Allen, who had 32 to go along with his eight threes in the previous game, went 0-13 and missing all eight three point attempts. Not gonna win with production like that. Kobe once again showed why he is the player he is, scoring in opportune times, and playing sensational defense. The Lakers took back the game that the Celtics stole from them, leaving the Celtics against the ropes. Good things its in Boston.

The key for the Celtics has got to be Paul Pierce. Ron Artest is making his money in this series alone, holding Pierce to under 16 points per game, and shooting a low percentage for the former finals MVP. If he can get it going, it will open up Allen for more threes, and also allow Rondo to have more space to operate. Rondo has been playing very impressive, leaving the defense on their toes at all times by keeping them off balance, pushing the ball on the break, rebounding with the bigs, and showing he can make an open jump shot. Much improved jump shot I might add.

Garnett has also got to get it going, as with Lamar Odom for the Lakers. When Odom plays well, it usually results in success. His uncanny ability to cause mismatches by taking larger defenders off the dribble, and posting up smaller ones. A 6’10” forward who can handle the ball like a point guard, shoot like a wing, and post up like a big man, is a nightmare for any defender. When he has it on he’s effective, when he’s not he tends to hide.

My prediction is that the Celtics veterans come out firing again, and sustain it throughout the game, realizing that going down 3-1 would be an almost certain end to their season. If history holds true, the Lakers will win this series, as I predicted. But history shows, in the finals 2-3-2 homecourt format, in a series where it is tied 1-1 after the second game, the winner of game three has a record of 10-0. Doesn’t sound good for the Celtics, but if they can win tonight, they can at least tie the series and put some momentum back in their favor, as game 5 is also in Boston.

We’ve seen what Rondo can do. We’ve seen what Ray Allen can do. And at times we’ve seen what Kevin Garnett can do. Can Paul Pierce add some scoring and structure to the offense? Can they put it all together at the same time? I think they can. They’re a great team. They just need to all be on the floor at the same time, and play at a high level. Which brings me to my next point.

Aside from my disgust of high school basketball referees, and the SEC referee crews that have done some of the UGA football games the past couple years, this has got to be the worst officiating I’ve seen on this level. For some reason, the referees in this series have been awful. They seem overmatched by the stardom and the level of play. Which blows my mind, because there are 82 games for each team in the regular season, so certainly they have had some practice seeing these teams play. The only thing they’ve been consistent with is being equally bad towards each team. Both coaches have criticized the referees, as well as probably all the players. I hope that they can correct some of these blown calls by not trying to control the games and let the players play. These are the best players in the game today, on the biggest stage, with everything at stake. Let them show us what they can do. I don’t wanna see Big Baby guarding Bynum because Garnett and Perkins are both out midway through the second quarter with three fouls each. And I most certainly don’t want to see Jordan Farmar or Sasha Vujacic ever in the game instead of Kobe.

Let the players play.

Celtics win in a close one. Piece bounces back, Kobe has a big one, but Boston finds a way to pull it out behind their home fans.

In other news…

It looks like Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is close to taking the vacant Cleveland Cavaliers job. Izzo has led the Spartans to six Final Fours, and one National Championship during his tenure at the school. Reports say the Cavs offer could be over $6 a year.

Avery Johnson and the New Jersey Nets have reached an agreement for the former Mavericks head coach to take the same title in Jersey. The Hawks were making a series run at him, but in my opinion he was a lot like Mike Woodson, and we all know where that got us.

Game’s on, game’s on.

Celtics find a way to win, Paul Pierce bounces back although Kobe continues to impress.

Enjoy

-KP

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