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Three things that went right and wrong in Game 2

06.06.10 at 11:05 pm ET
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The Celtics have evened the 2010 NBA finals with a 103-94 victory over the Lakers, the first home loss for LA in this postseason (click here for the complete recap). Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen get the gold stars for the winners, who will now host the next three games. Game 3 is set for Tuesday night.

What Went Right

Ray Allen sets a record: After a very quiet (in no small part due to foul trouble) Game 1, Allen put on perhaps the greatest shooting display in finals history in the first half of Game 2, hitting seven-of-eight 3-pointers on his way to 27 first-half points. The seven 3’s matched a finals record, a mark he would break in the third quarter. Throw in terrific defense on Kobe Bryant (4-of-11) and I’m not sure any player has ever had a better half in the finals.

Rondo was Rondo again: This was the guy that was the best player on the floor in the Miami and Cleveland series. Not a shooting night to remember (8-of-18), but from Minute One of Game 2 it was clear that Rondo was going to be the most aggressive player on the court. That led to some forced stuff, to be sure, but the good outweighed the bad. Rondo finished with a triple-double (19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists), the biggest play of the game (jumper to go up 95-90) and played a huge role in Allen’s first-half outburst. And he made the “only Rondo does that” kind of plays, like the strip of Kobe (which led to foul No. 4) in the third quarter, the block of Fisher late in the fourth and of the course the ball fake and layup on Bynum early on. Looks like Rondo is plenty healthy, which is a must for the Celtics to have any shot in this series.

Bigs come up big off the bench (Non-Shelden Williams division): OK, Glen Davis missed nine shots in his 18:10 on the court and only hit four shots. But he made plays, didn’t he? Blocking Bynum’s shot (terrible call), stopping Odom one-one-one in the post, drawing offensive fouls on Kobe and producing an And One on Gasol. Good things seemed to happen when Davis (eight points, seven rebounds) was on the court and Doc would have been justified to leave him in over Garnett in crunch time. And two good games in the finals for Rasheed Wallace, who had a plus/minus of +15 in Game 2 (highest total in the contest). Seven points and seven rebounds in 18:07 for ‘Sheed, who has been the player we were sold on before the season began.

What Went Wrong

Garnett: KG had his moments in Game 1, but it was a struggle. Game 2, however, was a near-disaster (have to give him some points for the  jumper in the lane to go up 93-90) and hard to figure. Foul trouble played a role, but Garnett simply flustered for the entire game. The Celtics would have signed for a split before the series started, and to do so without getting anything from Garnett in Game 1 and 2 must feel like stealing. But make no mistake ‘€” they need the KG of the Cleveland series to get to No. 18.

Can’t stop Gasol: Gasol has easily been the best player in this series. An easy 24-13 in Game 1 followed by 24 more points on 7-of-10 shooting in Game 2 (10-of-11 from the line). The Celtics have done a nice job on Kobe Bryant, now they have to figure out a way to at least slow Gasol down.

(And yes, “How Can Pau Gasol only take 10 shots????” should be question one for Phil Jackson in the post-game press conference.)

Pierce struggles: Just a 2-of-11 night for Pierce. If I told you before Game 2 that Pierce and Garnett would combine to shoot 4-of-16 you would have booked a 102-88 loss, right? Strange game.

Lakers fans gone mad

06.06.10 at 8:00 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — WEEI talks to a collection of very confident Lakers fans outside Staples Center prior to Game 2 of the NBA finals.

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Rivers delivers critical last remarks to Celtics

06.06.10 at 7:54 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Doc Rivers‘ parting words to the Celtics during their team meeting on Sunday were simple but critical.

“He said rebounding is the key,” Kendrick Perkins told prior to Game 2 of the NBA finals. “Those were his last remarks, that rebounding was the key.”

The Celtics were outrebounded 42-31 by the Lakers in their Game 1 loss. Not only did they lack aggressiveness on the glass, they let the Lakers drive the lane and get into the paint with ease.

Neither can happen in Game 2 if they want to go back to Boston with a win.

“I think we’ve got to control dribble penetration,” said Perkins. “All five guys have got to attack the basket and we’ll be alright.”

Daniels active for Game 2

06.06.10 at 7:44 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — Marquis Daniels will be active for Game 2 of the NBA finals. He has not played since suffering a concussion in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I’m just going to go out there and play head first, go hard,” he said prior to the game.

Daniels participated in his first full practice since the injury on Saturday. He was not limited in contact and ran into Kendrick Perkins on a few pick-and-rolls.

Daniels hopes to bring energy off the bench and will not let the memories of the concussion hold him back. He said he would “go out there and get nasty and dirty” if he name is called.

As for any lingering side effects, Daniels has not experienced any so far. But he is prepared just in case. He took a note from Glen Davis, who battled through noise sensitivity after suffering a concussion, and has a pair of yellow ear plugs on hand in his locker.

Jackson: It’s going to be highly charged

06.06.10 at 7:42 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — The Lakers took Game 1 of the NBA finals in such a decisive manner that it would be tempting for them to think that they have things figured out against the Celtics. However, they have no illusions that Game 2 is going to resemble Game 1.

“It may have been first-game jitters,” Ron Artest said Friday. “We’re not expecting another game like that at all. They had a tough road in the East and faced a lot of adversity. That team, the Celtics, is special. We all respect that.”

Phil Jackson reiterated that point Sunday before Game 2.

“The response is usually, not always but usually, the team that has taken a loss,” Jackson said. “The adjustments and the response and we anticipate that’s going to happen tonight. It’s going to be a much more tight game, I think, going down the stretch. We anticipate the game is going to be highly-charged, there’s no doubt about that.”

For their part, the atmosphere in the Celtics locker room was business-like. Assistant coach Tom Thibodeau was spotted poring over film, while players mostly brushed off media inquiries.

In terms of adjustments, the Celtics aren’t tipping their hand although it seems likely that Paul Pierce may see more time on Kobe Bryant, particularly if Ray Allen gets in foul trouble again. Marquis Daniels is also on the active list and if nothing else he’s another body to throw at Bryant.

“We do what we do,” Doc Rivers said. “We didn’t do it. You can’t start changing because that’s not who you are and that would affect your team more than anything.”

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Ainge on The Big Show: ‘That was not our team’ in Game 1

06.05.10 at 11:04 pm ET
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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined The Big Show Friday afternoon to discuss the Celtics’ tough loss to the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA finals, why he doesn’t believe they were out-hustled, and the future for assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

“There was no rhythm in the game, there was a lot of fouls being called. ‘€¦ I’m not making excuses, I just felt that our guy’s were ready to play, and played hard,” Ainge said about the way the team played in Game 1.

“[In Game 1] we really didn’t get a good performance out of anybody,” he continued. “Hopefully that will change.”

A lot of talk has been about the hustle in Game 1, did it seem like Lakers out-hustled the Celtics?

No i think that maybe some of the fouls early in the game took a little bit of that away, I know our guys were ready to play. A lot of times the team you’re playing does that to you. I thought, not so much effort, as much as tentative. We were in between on some of our defensive things, we weren’t quite on the ball. ‘€¦ We were kind of in no man’s land so many times where we didn’t contest a shot or left the basket open. It looked like there was more indecisiveness, I thought that the natural, just effort. There was no rhythm in the game, there was a lot of fouls being called. ‘€¦ I’m not making excuses, I just felt that our guys were ready to play, and played hard. I think [Rajon] Rondo got hurt half way through the game and kind of re-injured his back a little bit.

There is no way the Celtics can win when getting less second-chance opportunities.

Well I think there’s two things on that. I think 16 second-chance points is not good, and zero is really bad. I mean a lot of that is not effort, it’s just we’re not finding ourselves in those positions, or we’re taking shots too quick, as we were climbing the hill there coming from behind. You know we were taking quick shots and not even ready for offensive rebounds, I mean there are so many factors, more than just effort. But I believe rebounding is crucial for us, and has been for us the last three years. When we rebound the ball, and defensive team’s aren’t getting those second-chance points, that’s when we play our best. It gives us a chance to get out in the open court. If it’s going to be a halfcourt game on both ends, then that’s not our strength.

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Video: Celtics Saturday practice

06.05.10 at 8:55 pm ET
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Doc Rivers and Celtics players speak to the media prior to their practice session Saturday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo. This was the last practice the Celtics will have leading up to Game 2.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, NBA Finals
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