|06.09.10 at 9:48 am ET|
The Lakers were as shell-shocked as anyone as Ray Allen rained down shot after perfect shot from beyond the 3-point arc on Sunday night in Game 2 in Los Angeles.
But the tables could not have been more turned on Tuesday night in Boston if Lou Piniella were managing the Yankees again and these were the 1980s.
Ray Allen finished 0-for-13, including misses on all eight from long range.
“I hope he does it again Thursday,” said a relieved Shannon Brown, one of the Lakers who were on the court for both the near-perfect performance from Allen in Game 2 and the perfectly-off display in Game 3.
Obviously, the Celtics had a different take.
“As a team, you have to stick together and stay focused on what you need to stay focused on, especially during that time during the game,” Glen Davis said. “We have to stay together as one and make things happen for each other, not just one person. It’s tough.”
In fact, Davis believes there’s a silver lining to Tuesday’s loss.
“Ray, 0-for-13? Who would have ever thought that? So, that won’t happen again,” Davis boldly predicted. “We only lost by a couple of points. He hits a couple of shots and we’re in the game. We’re winning the game, really. Today just wasn’t our day. In spite of him not hitting his shots and things like that, we’ve still got to win this game because it’s a winnable game for us.”
|06.09.10 at 4:15 am ET|
But Glen Davis is more than aware that the officials can’t be blame for all of the calls that went against them. Just a few key ones.
“We didn’t close out,” Davis said. ” I think at the beginning of the game, the first team established the tempo. I think the bench came out and really didn’t apply the pressure and that’s how we lost the lead.”
Indeed, the Celtics led, 12-5 out of the gate but thanks in very large part to the play of the Laker bench, which outscored Boston’s 16-8 in the first half, the visitors went on a 21-5 run to end the first quarter and never relinquished the lead again.
“I think a lot of the things in the first half, we just didn’t do right. I think we’ve got to be ready to play when we go in there. I blame it on myself, not establishing tempo, not bringing enough energy, turning the ball over, shooting bad shots. If I helped a little bit more in the first half, I think we would have done a better job.”
Davis was very aware of what was going on in the first half as the Celtics fell behind, 37-20, early in the second quarter.
“We had to dig our way back from [their] 17-point lead,” said Davis, who then had a very interesting take on the much-discussed and highly-criticized officials in this series.
“We did a great job of fighting back but then, calls didn’t go our way,” he said. “Referees aren’t perfect, they’re human, they’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully, they’ll see that some calls weren’t the right calls. But they did their best. I tip my hat to them. It’s tough in an environment like this to make the right call with thousands of people screaming at you, so it is what it is. I tip my hat to those guys.”
|06.09.10 at 2:10 am ET|
Rajon Rondo did it in Game 2 and Derek Fisher followed suit in Game 3.
‘[He] won the game for them,’ Doc Rivers said. ‘Derek Fisher was the difference in the game.’
After the Lakers watched Rondo dominate the fourth quarter on Sunday night, Fisher scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes of the Lakers 91-84 victory on Tuesday.
Fisher shot five-for-seven during that stretch, an instant improvement from 5-for-16 shooting in the first two games. His late burst included a 3-point play that put the Lakers up seven with less than a minute to go.
‘We let Derek Fisher dribble the ball all the way up the court, unattended, get a 3-point play,’ said Rivers. ‘If you get a stop there, we had two timeouts left, three timeouts at the time, we had plenty of time.’
Said Glen Davis, ‘I think Derek Fisher won the game for them. He took over the game.  seconds left in the game, down by four, our defense ‘¦ let a guy all the way down the court for a layup, naked. Together as a whole we’ve got to do better.’
Fisher’s domination will undoubtedly be a hot topic of conversation as the Celtics prepare for Game 4, trailing 2-1. It may have burned them in Game 3, but there are lessons to be learned moving forward.
‘We’ve got to hang in there,” said Rivers. “It’s not going to be an easy game. None of them are going to be, and that’s what we have to do.”
|06.09.10 at 12:23 am ET|
On Tuesday night at the TD Garden, Ray Allen followed his historic night in Game 2 with one of the worst performances in his Boston career. The Lakers also held the rest of the Celtics offense down, winning Game 3, 91-84, to take a 2-1 series lead (click here for the full recap). The lone bright spot for Boston was Kevin Garnett, who returned to his 2008 finals form. Game 4 is set for Thursday night.
What Went Right
KG answers the call: After having difficulties against the LA big men in the first two games of the series, Kevin Garnett came out of the gates in Game 3 and seemed like a different player. The Celtics found him early as he recorded the first six points of the game, including two field goals on alley-oops from Rajon Rondo. He was back to being KG in the paint, using his wide assortment of moves to score on Pau Gasol. KG answered the bell with 25 points, but didn’t get much help from Ray Allen or Paul Pierce, who both had trouble scoring.
Defense in the second half: Boston allowed 52 first-half points. The second half, however, was a different story as the Celtics tightened up the pressure on the defensive end. Los Angeles managed only 15 points in the third, and Kobe Bryant struggled to get into a rhythm, finishing the night with 29 points on 10-for-29 shooting.
Containing the bigs: After torching Boston for a combined 46 points in Game 2, Gasol and Bynum managed a pedestrian 22 points in Game 3. They still controlled the boards with 10 rebounds each, but couldn’t find the same scoring opportunities they did in the first two games of the series. Bynum and Gasol also didn’t have the same success challenging Boston shots, combining for only three blocks.
What Went Wrong
Ray Allen loses stroke: Allen seemed to forget to pack his shot when leaving for Boston after his historic performance in Game 2. Surprisingly, Allen didn’t make a single field goal in the entire game, finishing 0-for-13 overall and 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. His lack of shooting was easily the difference in the game.
Pierce struggles: When Boston needed points the most, Pierce wasn’t able to get it going until late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting, but was whistled for five fouls, causing him to play only 34 minutes.
Offense goes stagnant: A fast start quickly fizzled as the Celtics offense struggled at the end of the first quarter. Boston scored only 17 points in the opening period and had difficulty finding offense with its second unit. The Celtics held the Lakers to 91 points but only managed 84 points themselves. Boston’s defense played much better in the second half, but if it can’t score over 90 points, this series will be short.
|06.08.10 at 9:39 pm ET|
Doc Rivers took objection with the complaints of several Lakers following Game 2 after Kobe Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, limiting his effectiveness in the final period.
“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team in foul trouble for two games,” Rivers said Tuesday night prior to Game 3. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”
In the Game 1 loss to the Lakers, the Celtics had several players with three fouls before halftime and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each played most of the fourth quarter one foul from disqualification. The Celtics had 28 fouls called on them in Game 1 to 26 for the Lakers. In Game 2, the Lakers actually took 15 more free throw attempts than Boston, 41-26.
Fouls aside, Rivers knows he must keep Kevin Garnett and Pierce on the court at the same time if there’s any hope of finding them rhythm in this series, especially Garnett.
“We just have to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said. “Two of his fouls [from Game 2] were not smart fouls, so he has to do a better job of that. But listen, this is a physical series. Gasol adn Bynum, they’re big adn they’re going to keep attacking, and we just have to figure out a way of keeping them out of foul trouble. It’s huge for us.”
What was just as huge for the Celtics in the wrong direction on Tuesday were the fouls that Pierce and Garnett picked up within the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Pierce picked up his fourth and Garnett his third and the Lakers sensing the kill went immediately to the paint to feed Gasol.
“To win [Game 2] the other night with [Garnett] in foul trouble and Paul not being great offensively, we felt very fortunate,” Rivers said. “We were happy to win, but we have to be better than that.”
|06.08.10 at 9:30 pm ET|
The finals have returned to Boston almost exactly two years later on June 8, 2010, and the Celtics could not be happier to be playing at home.
‘It feels good to be back home for a few games,’ Kendrick Perkins said prior to Game 3. ‘I think it’s the finals, Boston-Lakers rivalry, just to see how the fans are going to be. I know there’s going to be a lot of energy in the building so it feels good just to be back home.’
Even though the Celtics were 24-17 at home during the regular season, a drastic drop from their 35-6 records in the prior two seasons, they have reclaimed their turf during the playoffs. The C’s have clinched the previous three series at home.
‘[We’re] back home,’ said Tony Allen. ‘Time to take care of business.’
|06.08.10 at 8:56 pm ET|
Andrew Bynum had his way with the Celtics in Game 2, scoring 21 points. But that was with two days off between Games 1 and 2, and with the quick turnaround for Game, Laker coach Phil Jackson said he would monitor Bynum early to see how his injured knee responds.
“I certainly will,” Jackson said. “Hopefully we can get him in and out of the game in the first half. A little earlier time for Lamar [Odom] to give him an opportunity to perform.”
Odom has been a non-factor through the first two games, with more fouls  than points [eight].
The Celtics would be just fine with getting Bynum out of the game because he has been a huge factor defensively for the Lakers. He bothered Rajon Rondo in Game 1 and also made life tough for Glen Davis in Game 2, who shot 4-for-13.
Both Rondo and Davis adjusted, however, and Davis was able to be effective by continually going to the glass where he recorded five offensive rebounds.
“[Davis] was huge in Game 2,” Doc Rivers said. “He was great with his energy. You know, he’s not going to be taller than anyone in this series. This is a long team, and he goes underneath, sometimes he gets too deep, he can’t finish. One of the things he did better the other night, he got it up quick or he threw it back out.”
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