The Lakers took a 2-1 lead in the 2010 Finals series last night, winning a hard, physical, great playoff game 91-84, which featured two great defenses, one aging role player who still had enough for another memorable performance, tons of bad calls and a Boston team that just found it hard to get it going offensively all night.
How quickly things change – I remember when the regular season ended, I wanted to write an article about the worst starters in the NBA this season. Fisher was going to be one of them. Last Night? Forget about it – Fisher scored 16 points, all with gutsy moves to the hoop, beating a younger, faster, Rondo on the drive each time. He didn’t even hit any threes – he just went strong and came up with big, huge baskets every time the Lakers needed him to be his old clutch self.
D – Fisher guarded Ray Allen most of the time, and killed him. Allen shoots the ball, doesn’t matter if he’s hot or cold. Unlike game 2, and tons of credit going to Fisher again, Allen was ice-cold, going 0-13 from the field, missing 8 three points shots along the way. By the way, that’s one shot shy of Chick Reiser’s record for shooting futility, set back in the 1948 Finals. Dennis Johnson tied that mark 30 years later when he played for Seattle. In fact, Paul Piece was the only Celtic who was able to put points on Fisher last night.
Garnett found his groove last night scoring 25, but he seemed to be the only one for Boston. Pierce was disappointing with 15 points, Allen was disastrous and Rondo? They need more from him – 11 points and 8 assists were good two years ago, not now when he’s probably the teams best player.
The Lakers controlled the boards – Gasol wasn’t as effective on offense, not getting fed enough with the ball in my opinion, but did a great job under the baskets, again, although it was obvious Garnett prefers to be guarded by him than by Bynum, who’s injured, again. Still, Lakers won 43-35 in that important battle, stealing some of the rebounds straight out of the C’s hands, who seemed to prefer to try and rebound with one hand most of the night. Fundamentals, people.
Kobe – 10-29, not stellar, not even close. He left the big shot job last night to Fisher, while he took everything else, missing most of the time. He finished with 29 points, but still, Boston’s defense was very good again last night, hardly giving Bryant any good looks. Problem is, he’s Kobe Bryant, and wills the ball in at times it seems nearly impossible. His defense on Allen or whoever was around him was fantastic as well, with a kind “I’ve got something to prove” feeling he gave out all night.
What Now? – Boston regrouped very nicely after game 1, and this is not a team that’s broken easily. If Bynum is injured, that’s good news for Garnett, who’ll have an easier time in the paint and continue to look more aggressive, something it seems he hasn’t done in ages. Allen won’t shoot 0-13 again, but the Lakers found the right match-ups for them on defense, and Rivers needs to find answers. Most of all – Energy – Boston seemed a bit lifeless at the end, and when you’re the inferior team talent-wise, you can’t be inferior in passion and hustle. The Lakers defended better and at the end, wanted it more. See you Thursday.