|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|
|Rivers delivers critical last remarks to Celtics||06.06.10 at 7:54 pm ET|
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|
“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|
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.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason