|Let’s talk Celtics at noon||06.07.10 at 7:15 am ET|
Here’s your chance to keep the conversation going. Join WEEI.com site editor Rob Bradford and columnist Kirk Minihane in breaking down exactly what happened at the Staples Center Sunday night, and what will happen at TD Garden Tuesday night when the Celtics take on the Lakers in Game 3.
|Pierce to LA fans: ‘We ain’t coming back’||06.07.10 at 6:35 am ET|
Lakers center Pau Gasol made some comments about Kevin Garnett over the weekend that some people tried to turn into inspiration for the Celtics. Now it’s Paul Pierce‘s turn for some locker room bulletin board material. During the closing seconds of the C’s Game 2 win Sunday night, as Pierce helped up teammate Kendrick Perkins, he appeared to say, “We ain’t coming back [to LA].” If the Celtics were to win (or, for that matter, lose) the next three games in Boston, the series would be over without the Lakers hosting another game.
It should be noted that after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando, Pierce made a similar proclamation, saying “See y’all next year,” as he walked to the locker room, after an interview with ESPN sideline reporter Doris Burke in which he said, “We’re coming home to close it out.” That proved to be inaccurate, as the Magic pushed the series to six games.
Here’s the clip of the Sunday night comment, which became a hot topic overnight on message boards across the country.
|Kevin Garnett’s odd night||06.07.10 at 2:20 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — All eyes were on Kevin Garnett after he was thoroughly outplayed by Pau Gasol in Game 1 and some comments from Gasol were taken out of context and became a dominant storyline heading into Game 2.
How would Garnett react? Could he handle Gasol? Would we see a vintage Garnett performance? In the end, none of those questions were answered definitively because Garnett spent the entire night in foul trouble.
Garnett played less than 12 minutes in the first three quarters and scored only two points to go with two rebounds.
“Obviously I would have liked to be in a better flow,” Garnett said. “But fouls, it goes like that.”
Despite his struggles to stay on the court, Garnett turned in a solid fourth quarter. He only had four points and two rebounds, but his one made basket came with the Celtics up one, 91-90. Additionally, Gasol scored only one point and Garnett set a number of screens that opened lanes for Rajon Rondo to drive to the basket.
Garnett did little to answer his critics in Game 2, but he did enough to help his team get a win.
|Pierce not concerned with offensive struggles||06.07.10 at 1:38 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — Paul Pierce isn’t worried.
He knows he can perform better, but he doesn’t have to force his shot when his teammates are getting it done on the offensive end.
‘I think I struggled offensively, I think I rushed a lot,’ Pierce said following the Celtics Game 2 win over the Lakers. ‘I don’t think it was too much about what Ron (Artest) did (defensively). I had about three or four open shots off the pick-and-roll that guys got me open that I missed. I loved the looks I got tonight. I’m happy with that, but at the same time I’m not going to force the issue on my offense.’
Pierce finished the game with 10 points, 14 less than in Game 1. But it’s how he made up for it that matters. He grabbed four rebounds and held Artest to just six points off of 1-for-10 shooting. Pierce considers himself to be a versatile player, not just a scorer, and he utilized those skills to help the Celtics get the win.
‘I don’t have a big burden for me offensively on my team as Kobe (Bryant) does,’ he said. ‘So when I’m not out here making buckets I’m out there trying to rebound, defend, make plays for other guys. Obviously Ray was the catalyst tonight along with Rajon (Rondo), so I tried to do other things.’
|WEEI locker room video: Ron Artest||06.07.10 at 1:20 am ET|
|Three things that went right and wrong in Game 2||06.06.10 at 11:05 pm ET|
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.
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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