Celtics Get Their Split

Darius Soriano —  June 6, 2010

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Before this game started, we spoke about the urgency that the Celtics would play with knowing that an 0-2 deficit would essentially be a death knell to their hope of winning their 2nd title in 3 seasons.  Well tonight, the Celtics showed that urgency and rode the hot shooting of Ray Allen and the all around game of Rajon Rondo to pull out game 2 over the Lakers 103-94.  So, the Lakers now fly to Boston in the wake of their first home loss of these playoffs and enter a hostile environment of the new Garden with the very real scenario that they may trail a playoff series for the first second time in two seasons.  Needless to say, this is not what the Lakers nor us fans would want after two games.  But, here we are.

And we got to this point because the Lakers struggled with an improved Boston defense from what they showed in game 1.  Gone were the easy driving lanes.  And when the Lakers did beat an initial defender, the help arrived quickly and with authority.  The pick and roll action that the Lakers ran with so much effectiveness in game 1 was stifled.  Overall, everything the Lakers tried to do on offense was met with a defense that was more prepared and intent on making the Lakers lives harder than what it was in the last game.

And the Lakers didn’t help themselves with the way that they decided to attack the Boston defense.  Rather than relying on quick passes and ball movement, the Lakers instead tried to attack the Celtics off the dribble – playing right into the hands of the overloaded schemes that Boston loves to throw at teams.  This approach was especially frustrating considering the success that the Lakers big men were having against the Celtics.  Pau Gasol and Adrew Bynum combined for 46 of the Lakers 94 points and were just having their way on the inside.  Doing their damage on only 20 FGA’s (and a combined 20-25 from the FT line), the Lakers bigs were the rock that needed to be leaned on more in this contest than they were, but instead were relatively forgotten men in the closing minutes where their presence and production really could have made a difference.  I wish I had an answer on why this occurred, but alas I do not.

And If the Lakers suspect execution on offense were not enough, they also didn’t do their due diligence on the defensive side of the ball.  Before this series started, we talked about how Ray Allen was really the key to the Celtics offense.  Sure, Rondo’s penetration is key and Paul Pierce is this team’s leading scorer, but a lot of the Celtics’ offensive success is predicated off of Ray Allen’s ability to shoot the ball coming off screens.  Because when Ray is hot, he can change the momentum of any contest and then force big men to help on screens and the dominos start to fall in favor of the Celtics getting the types of shots that they want.  And tonight, Ray Allen simply had it going.  Allen made 7 threes in the first half alone (ending the night making an NBA Finals record 8 threes out of his 11 attempts) and scored a game high 32 points on a variety of jumpers that the Lakers plain defended poorly.  Too many times they cheated on screens and allowed Ray to make clean catches that led to open jumpers.  On other occasions the Lakers defenders (I’m looking at you Shannon Brown) simply lost Allen by turning their heads or needlessly helping which led to him moving into open space and giving him that split second he needed to get his shot off.  Don’t get me wrong, Ray had a tremendous shooting night that should not be played down as only the result of poor D.  But, he was too open on too many occasions and that was the result of the Lakers not playing with enough discipline on the player that requires the most when he’s your defensive assignment.

But it wasn’t only Ray Allen that killed the Lakers, it was Rajon Rondo as well.  Ending the night with a triple-double (19 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), Rondo wreaked havoc in the open court by grabbing defensive rebounds and simply ramming the ball down the Lakers throats.  When the Celtics took their big lead in the first half it was entirely on the back of Allen’s shooting and Rondo’s pushing of the pace where he got lay ups and set up his mates for other good shots either at the basket or behind the arc when the Lakers defense went scrambling.  Then, in the second half, when the Lakers needed to secure stops to keep pace with the points that the Celtics had put on the board it was Rondo that grabbed offensive rebounds that gave his team the extra possessions that they’d need to ice this game.  Just a fantastic performance from the C’s young point guard.

But all is not lost for the Lakers nor is this series now “over” just because the Celtics won a game on the road.  The Lakers are one of the better road playoff teams and have won clinching games on the road in their last 5 playoff series.  If there is any team capable of going into a hostile environment and taking control back in this series it’s the Lakers.  And while this game was disappointing and frustrating for all the things that the Lakers did poorly, it should also be encouraging for some of the things that the Lakers did well.  We now have a series on our hands and that’s a position that the Lakers have proven themselves to be comfortable in over the last few years.  It will take smarter and more disciplined play, but the Lakers are capable of just that.  Game three is only two days away and when it arrives we will see what both of these teams are made of.

Some other notes on this game:

*Many will point to a couple of the questionable calls that were made against Kobe Bryant (the offensive foul committed against Ray Allen and the force out play against Rondo) and complain.  I agree, those were tough calls and set up a situation where the charge call that Big Baby drew on him essentially neutered his aggressiveness.  However, Kobe also picked up a couple of bad fouls (most notably his body foul on Ray Allen defending 35 feet from the basket) that was needless and bad judgement on Kobe’s part.  And, just like with Ray Allen in game 1, Kobe saw how needing to play a bit smarter with fouls is a necessity when you’re a catalyst for your team’s offensive success.  Tonight, bad calls and all, I thought Kobe could have played a bit better.  And if asked about it, I have a feeling he’d say the same.

*Ron Artest was awful on offense tonight.  He ended the night 1-10 from the field and had some questionable plays in the closing minutes (most notably his forced post entry to Gasol that led to a turnover and his dribble around and force a jumper “thing” that I can’t adequately describe).  But guess what? – he was just as good on defense.  Did you look at Paul Pierces stat line?  Pierce went 2-11 from the floor with Ron essentially living in his jersey.  Remember, Pierce is one of the more important offensive players for the C’s and it will be tough for them to win games if Ron continues to play him as well as he is defensively.  Sure, Ron will need to be better on offense in future games.  But to call him out or scapegoat him is unfair and completely one sided.  Ron’s doing some really good things for the Lakers; tonight was just a bad offensive night for him.

*The Lakers bench – especially when playing at home – needs to play better.  Farmar was passable and so was Sasha in his limited minutes.  But Odom and Brown were below average in several facets of their respective games and those guys need to do more.  On a night where Pau and Bynum played heavy minutes, LO needed to give the Lakers some quality minutes when those guys rested and he couldn’t do it.  I’m as big a fan as any of Odom, but tonight the fouling, lack of activity on offense (and I don’t just mean scoring – I mean cutting, passing, creating for others) was poor.  And Shannon just had too many defensive lapses on Ray Allen.  I mentioned it already, but too often he found himself out of position and helping where it wasn’t needed and doing so off of the hottest player in the building.  And considering that Kobe found himself in foul trouble in that third quarter, a bit more was needed of Shannon.  And like LO, it wasn’t there.

*I need to go back and give some more praise to the Lakers’ big men.  I mentioned their combined points, but look at their individual stat lines: Pau – 7/10 FGA, 11/13 FTA, 25 points, 8 rebounds (3 offensive), 3 assists, 6(!) blocks, 1 steal in 42 minutes; Andrew – 6/10 FGA, 9/12 FTA, 21 points, 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 7(!) blocks in 39 minutes.  Yes, their rebounding numbers could have been better.  But overall they played fantastic basketball between them and needed to get more shots and touches down the stretch of these games.  Their numbers look even better when compared to their starting counterparts (Perkins and KG combined for 18 points, 10 rebounds, but with 9(!) assists in their 72 combined minutes).

*The Lakers shot 5 for 22 from the three point line in this game.  Shades of OKC in how those long misses fueled run outs by Rondo and the C’s and set up a lot of their baskets in their early offensive sets.  Remember, in game 1 the Lakers only took 10 three pointers and tonight they took more than double that amount.  I think it’s safe to say there’s a correlation between the number of deep shots the Lakers took in this game (even accounting for the ones late in the game where they were trying to scramble and come back) and the resulting loss.

*The Lakers were out rebounded by 5, out-assisted by 10, and had 15 turnovers (2 more than the C’s).  The turnovers were especially damaging because of how many of them came late in the game.  If I recall the stats correctly, in the last 36 possessions of the game the Lakers had 9 turnovers while the Celtics only had 2.  If you want to know how a team loses a game in the 4th quarter, when they enter tied and briefly hold a 3 point lead that is how – they give the ball away to the other team (while also not controlling their defensive glass).

 

Darius Soriano

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108 responses to Celtics Get Their Split

  1. You just said it all Simon.

  2. Good recap. The questions for G3 to me are:

    1. Can Odom play better? He often has a lot of trouble with this team.
    2. Can Bynum sustain this level of performance on short rest?
    3. And, of course, can they do a better job on Allen?

  3. lot of things we did wrong, good sign. Game was very close with 2 minutes to go, right when the ref blew that call with Garnett/Gasol. If we improve at least 2-3 of these facets, we will be good.

    Does anyone honestly think Boston can win 3 straight? This is a team that lost to the NETS On their home floor. They had one of the worst home records of the NBA.

  4. and odom REALLY needs to wake up. I mean it’s pathetic how we have this discussion every other week. It’s like, how can an individual become so passive all the time? Is there something wrong with him? He just lets people disrespect him and his game all the time. If someone’s calling me inconsistent and unmotivated, I’d make sure I’d always play to my potential to prove them wrong. I guess he doesn’t care what people say. If he had 10% of the drive Kobe had, he’d be one of the best in the game. We need him in boston, and he better step up.

  5. 4 – Well, it seems pretty clear this Celtics team is very different from the Celtics that stumbled thru the regular season. So, I wouldn’t take too much comfort in them losing to the Nets at home.

    That said, the Lakers have an excellent chance of winning this Finals. However, I would suggest they at least consider guarding Ray Allen in future games.

  6. Does anyone honestly think Boston can win 3 straight?

    ___

    No, but that isn’t really the problem. One problem is the likelihood that Boston can win 2 and come back to Los Angeles up 3-2. The “blueprint” for the Lakers in this series was to go to Boston up 2-0, win one, and come back home with two chances to close. The second problem is that losing HCA sets up the possibility of facing an elimination game on the road.

    I felt, actually, that G2 was as important for the Lakers as for the Celtics, due to the 2-3-2 format. I am not giving up by any means, but this was a huge, huge loss for the team.

  7. thisisweaksauce June 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I’m going to repeat what Kobe said as of last year about the Celtics (I think right after our road win in Boston, in 2009). To paraphrase: if we’re going to lose to the Celtics, it will be because we didn’t execute, not because they got punked (as they were in 2008). Game 2 is a perfect example; we simply did not execute. We are not getting punked by this team. The Lakers can beat them, and they know it. I can see it in their demeanor.

    Fish said it himself before Game 1: “we’re the best team.” (We need to resign this guy, by the way.)

  8. I also predicted that whoever took G1 would take the series.

  9. impact of 1 bad call from ref:
    1. -2 points for kobe
    2. kills momentum for lakers
    3. less defensive pressure from kobe
    4. benched kobe for most of the game

    Although the mentality of players is to never blame the refs, refs make mistakes just like players do. The impact they have on the game is tremendous. Certain calls just needs to be reviewed for a timeout.

    Some people like to avoid blaming the refs, well there are degrees of bad calls.. some game more than others.. take a look at game 2 ’08.. it is riddled w/ bad calls.. to completely ignore refs on the outcome of the game is actually not looking at the whole picture. Every game, players make mistakes, you can’t be perfect.. there’s always something better you can do.. but when a ref makes such a huge impact.. it’s difficult to recover.

  10. I’m pissed, and not at the refs, but at the Lakers. I truly thought that they came out of the gate a little too lackadaisical – didn’t play the right kind of defense in the first Q, and had to play catch up the rest of the way. Is it mental mistakes that caused the Lakers to lose (like not getting the ball to Pau and Bynum), or the fact that with 5 minutes left they were so exhausted that the screens they were setting were bad and they stopped driving and rebounding at the ball? I know we came up with the ball on this play, but the possession where Big Baby got like 3 offensive boards with Gasol and Bynum there speaks volumes to how tired they were getting. Thats why I think our offense sputtered, in both 4th Quarters of this series.
    Bynum played 39 minutes tonight, and really without him Boston would have blown us out at home, so I give him props. But we do need LO to step up and give us more than he has – all I see is late help D, bad box outs, and contested 3’s or charges from Lamar. He hasn’t used his quickness in this series yet, and we will need him to.
    And give credit to Artest, he did play good D on Pierce, but Pierce missed a bunch of open looks and we have gotta be careful to give him too much credit. I actually didn’t like that Ron handled the ball on offense so much – he should be cutting from side to side to make the Boston defense move.

    The Lakers also committed a number of “home run” plays in the fourth that, I thought, when they missed, gave the Celtics easy opportunities to score – 3 point shots, and reach in’s from Artest/Kobe – which took us out of our half court D put too much pressure on the bigs.

    Not enough stops made tonight folks – that what it was. And we have to take advantage the Boston should have the more tired legs in the next game, and though we shouldn’t push the pace to aid Rondo, we have gotta establish our offense earlier in the shot clock to keep the C’s D off balance.

    We have also got to learn to come over the screens set for Nate Robinson, as he is a good three point shooter, and needs to be treated differently than Rondo on D.

  11. I played poker professionally for 3 years and complaining about bad calls reminds me an awful lot of complaining about bad beats. Ultimately you can’t control them, they are going to happen and most likely in the end you will end up benefiting just as much as they cost you. It’s just more productive to spend energy thinking about those things you can control. Now as fans the truth is we don’t control any of this but I’d like to think we should take our cue from the players and maybe hope we help them focus on the right things just a tiny bit.

    As Darius points out, there were many things in that game that the Lakers could control which cost them.

  12. Hillcrestwildcat June 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    You guys need LO to do something. I think Game 3 will be interesting especially if the refs let both teams play a little bit I hope Joey Crawford doesn’t sniff anymore finals games…YIKES.

    I think there were lots of great signs for both teams which is why how this will play is still a huge ? mark.

    For the lakeshow
    Your frontline is MURDERING ours.
    Bynum is underrated but I’m not sure he’s that good, not EVERY night so I don’t expect this all the time but we gotta find a way to stop him…and we need somebody to slow down Pau Gasol, our best interior defender this series has been Rasheed? WTF

    Kobe won’t be in foul trouble in G3 (as he hardly every is…..)

    @ 4 no I don’t believe this team can win 3 straight against the Lakers in the finals (though them losing to NJ in the regular season is immaterial to that) home or not I would be shocked if this happens. Nor do I think the Lakers could do that to us either, the next 3 games will be a 2-1 split for somebody hopefully its the team I root for

    Encouraging for the Celtics
    KG and Pierce both played like crap. KG in particularly on both ends of the floor, but Paul did a lot of little things well with his offense stagnated.

    What’s encouraging is as good as Artest is Pierce is going to get his in a couple of games this series at least, not a knock on Artest, its just improbable that a player as good Pierce is shutdown all series

    KG can’t play much worse.

    This is not as well as the Celtics as play by any means….conversely I’m sure the Lakers can play better too.

    I can’t say good luck next game, but I say I hope for a good, better officiated game where the teams get to play next game.

  13. Khoa

    I agree with you, but the lakers had a chance to win despite the refs. I agree with a point that darius made in the last thread about when the game is close, the onus to make calls goes on the refs. Yes it’s also their responsibility to make the right calls. But I’ve accepted they basically don’t give the lakers the close calls. So lakers just have to find other ways to win.

    But the lakers didn’t execute well down the stretch and they played poorly in the first half. Its up to the lakers to remain disciplined and not look for dagger shots, take plays off defensively, and execute offensively. When the lakers do those things relatively well, they win.

    The lakers bench does not play well on road, but Odom believes he’s really a starter. So the pressure is all on him to go out there and perform. Also, this was Kobe’s first bad game since the OKC series. Look for him to bounce back. He’ll definitely be more aggressive and bet he’ll but up early practicing his shot.

  14. You have to give the refs credit… most refs will be subtle and maybe foul out Bynum… but these guys blew two huge calls on Kobe Bryant (a guy who is never in foul trouble) and then when they were forced to watch a replay that everyone else at home could see they had the guts to make the call they needed to make to continue their careers. We all have to put bread on the table. I do not fault them. I do fault Shannon Brown for not realizing Ray Allen is a good shooter. And I do fault Lamar Odom. I don’t expect him to come up huge against good players in big games. We know he doesn’t have that mindset. But he is going against Big Baby Davis!!!! This guy is the perfect player for Lamar to destroy. What really sucks is that Lamar and Brown ruined what was really a courageous effort by Andrew Bynum. The guy dove after a Nate Robinson dribble drive!?! And Pau Gasol played a brilliant game as well. Of course every big game he will have a couple Gasoft plays. In the first quarter he decided to shoot a 5 foot finger roll on a fast break with nobody in front of him… and in the 4th quarter he decided to push the ball to Rondo instead of grabbing it with one or both hands. Even Lamar Odom would have gotten that rebound. But its hard to even make fun of him for those feminine plays because…. overall he just played such beautiful basketball. This was one of those rare games that with 5 minutes left you are thinking “whoever wins this game is going to win the series.” This was one of those games where it wasn’t just one game. This is one of those games where you think a rested Kobe is going to take over in the last few minutes. This is one of those game that will make the NBA a lot of money in this series. And I have to tell you… I can’t blame them. I like money too. And I want my 500 bucks back for this one!

  15. Is NBA still Odom’s full time work or is he co-hosting “keeping up with the khardashian” now?

  16. There were a million reasons why the Lakers lost this game and even more reasons for why Boston won it.

    While the officiating was awful tonight, it didn’t decide the game. Sure, Kobe could have helped the Lakers in the 10 extra minutes he would have played if not for the foul trouble. But the point is that the game was up for grabs down the stretch.

    Still, the one call that I find to be borderline hilarious was the out of bounds call they decided to review. Millions of fans of both teams were watching at home, watching the same replay that the commentators and officials were watching.

    After seeing the replay, everyone I was watching it with was relieved. We even discussed what the Lakers should run after they are awarded the ball. Breen, Van Gundy, and Jackson expected the call to be overturned as well.

    Heck, Mike Breen even said that they reversed the call when the officials left the scorers table and was shocked when they gave the ball to the Cs.

    I was reading some Celtic fan say that it touched Pau’s finger (THROUGH KGs hand, or something).

    I don’t know. It was a kind of a big play and I just thought it was strange that the officials, who surely had the knowledge that the replay was being shown to the entire world, made the wrong call there.

    The game wasn’t lost on that play, but as far as strangest calls in NBA finals history goes, that has to be up there. After they resumed play, I asked the people I was with, “Why would they bother to review the play in the first place?”

    While it ultimately doesn’t matter now, I’d be curious to hear the explanation of the three officials after they reviewed the play.

    Did anyone else see it go off Pau, or was it only the three officials and CFID (Celtics Fans in Denial)?

  17. I think bad officiating has just become part of the game that everyone just expects it so much. It’s the players duty to play through it and it’s the fans duty to not blame the refs. Why does it have to be that way? If it were better and the standard was higher, it wouldn’t have to be that way. When some folks say that it was bad on both ends, that it evened things out, that doesn’t make it okay to me. That makes it doubly worse. Two wrongs aint a right.

    Why can’t it be good on both ends? This ain’t just a laker thing, fans on both sides are disappointed, fans of teams that have been eliminated are disappointed. And this has been going on for years now. It’s a league wide epidemic and it needs to be addressed.

    Win or lose the series, this is an issue. Sorry to keep bringing it up, but to me, this is the most important thing. As a fan, I need it to be better. For most of you, you choose not to go there or focus on the basketball and to each his own, but personally, I can’t overlook it.

  18. I wasn’t happy that Shannon was Kobe’s backup for most of the game and not Sasha, who NEVER leaves Ray Allen. Also, when Ron-Ron is having one of those “bad Ron” games, Phil needs to recognize it and go offense-defense with him and Sasha.

    I thought the biggest play of the night was Rondo’s block of Fish’s long jumper. I was calling for a Fish three on that whole play as it was being set up, but I thought Kobe would pass it directly to Fish instead of making that cross-court pass to Ron-Ron. I guess Rondo didn’t collapse on Kobe enough for his liking. I thought for sure it was going to be like the three-pointer Fish hit against Orlando to lock up that game in OT.

    I’m looking at 1990 for this parallel. Detroit vs Portland, Pistons have home court and win Game 1, but lose Game 2. Then they go to Portland and take all three games on the road and DEFEND THEIR TITLE.

  19. Mike Penberthy June 7, 2010 at 12:13 am

    I’m surprised at most people’s reaction to Odom’s performance in this game.
    Here’s a breakdown of a typical Lamar Odom season. 60% of the time he’s absolutely invisible. You know those games when his body is present but his mind seems to be in some completely other universe. For 30% of the games he actually does some good things, but the bad still outweighs the good. And then for 10% he actually plays like he did in the first 2 games vs Phoenix and shows why he was compared to Magic coming out of Rhode Island.
    At 31 years old THAT”S LAMAR. He ain’t changing at this point. That’s the kind of player he is and the kind of player he’s always been in the past. Expecting anything defferent from him is like expecting Kwame Brown not to have hands of stone, or expecting Fisher to make layups, or expecting Bynum to be healthy.
    It’s why there were plenty of people who didn’t mind him leaving this past offseason.

  20. At 11,
    I was going over that with my friend, actually.

    I determined that KG likely will not have a breakout game this series. To a certain point, you need to analyze how he’s playing. Can he really score on a post up against Gasol? I don’t think so. Now it is likely he makes some jump shots. But I don’t think he’s capable of anything more than Game 1.

    As for Pierce, same applies to him. Unless the Celtics run screens for him, he’s really not getting to the basket against Artest. (With that said, he was pretty effective with screens, so PJ better come up with a counter to that. Just in case).

    And for all this hype on how Rondo shredded the Lakers, it was really in the open floor and, when Kobe had foul trouble, in the halfcourt game later. Which also means, Kobe can shut him down (akin to how he shut Westbrook down). And if the Lakers recover in transition (and sacrifice opportunities for O-boards), they can really limit Rondo.

    As for Allen, the problem is Fisher is too old to go through all these constant screens. Allen will continue to get decent looks (he won’t make them at a 73% rate though) unless Lakers try a new strategy. My suggestions would be to post Kobe up against Allen and just in general tire Allen defensively (and best case scenario, get him in foul trouble) OR stick Vujacic on him.

    None of the other Celtics are really going to cause harm.

    Of course, the variable here is foul trouble (and officiating in general). Who knows how the Lakers will do if Ron’s foul trouble, Bynum’s in foul trouble, etc.

  21. The better team will win this series. The thing is, Im not sure te Lakes are the better team. Garnett and Pierce did nothing the whole entire game and we still lost. To me it seems like the 08 finals, we just dont know how to consistently score on this team.Their defense is just sufficating, it take perfect offensive execution and I am sorry to say guys but, this Lakers team tends to rely on too much dribbling and standing around and not enough player and ball movemnt. You cannot get away with that on this Celtics team. In other words, we just arent consistent enough on executing the offense. I really have lost faith after watching his game 2.

  22. How could anyone possibly compare this team to the 1990 Pistons?

    I’ll be absolutely shocked if LA can win 2 games in Boston. The officiating there is going to be incredibly Celtics friendly. Not to mention Odom will be even worse on the road.

    I still feel tonight was LA’s game if Allen doesn’t go insane from 3, but the reality is that the Lakers are now in a really, really bad position. There’s no rationalizing around it.

  23. Somethings stood out to me..

    This will easily be Ray Allens best performance of these Finals whereas it might be Kobe’s worst. I expect more games like this from KG and atleast a few more tough nights for Pierce. If Kobe wasn’t in foul trouble I think we pull this one out. It really changed the way he played down the stretch. Lakers need to take some pressure off themselves and win game 3, I dont kno how the bench would respond to being down 2-1 with two more games in Boston coming up.

  24. How does this look like the 08 finals? If the united states gets nuked tonight and you asked the surviving experts to pick the better team through a 1-1 split, the lakers would be the better team. They are better, more aggresive, physical and determined than 08.

    Also, i hate the fact that biased home court officiating is an accepted and expected part of the league. There should be no biases based on location. That’s ridiculous.

  25. Joe,
    That is weak man. Go ahead and give up on your team – you are not a true fan. Championships don’t come with all glory guys. Last year we lost game 2 to Denver at home, and with our backs to the wall went to Denver and took game 3 from them. We are fully capable of winning game 3 in Boston, and then all of a sudden fans like Joe will be back for support.
    This series is not over guys, the Celtics punched back, and got a win on a few lucky plays and a solid finish. It is our turn to go to their house and show who is the better team.
    We knew from the get-go that Allen was going to be their #2 option in this series (with Rondo #1), because that is their mismatch with Kobe guarding Rondo. So he got hot for the 1st half, and then all of the sudden in the second half was 1 for 3 for 3s.
    I am as bummed about this loss as others, but to scream end of the world or season is ridiculous. I for one believe our guys have fight in them – they didn’t give up in this game and they are not going to give up in the next set of games.
    The Celtics fans will be good, lets have the Lakers feed off of that and shut them up. Suns and Utah fans are pretty good too.

  26. There hasn’t been two starting fives in the finals this stacked since suns bulls in 93. And the road team won 5 out of 6 games in that series. For teams this good, they can win on the road on any given night. This is the mentally needed.

  27. Personally, it helps me accept the loss when I rationally can not see Allen having a record breaking 3 point performance, Rondo getting a triple double, and Kobe dealing with 5 fouls the whole 4th quarter in another game. If Allen missed four of those 8 threes… we win. If Rondo got boxed out and was forced to shoot just a little bit better… we win. If Kobe had a chance to really explode in the 4th instead of fearing fouling out… I’d put money saying we win!

    Game 3, Let’s go out and get it!

  28. tough loss… because we were in it despite ray allen going crazy and kobe being held back by foul trouble.

    if you look at the box-score, its even hard to believe that we lost, because in basketball the team with such an advantage in points in the paint usually wins.

    i feel comfortable going to boston, because we have closed out a couple of teams already on the road, and because this is the second game in a row that we own in the paint.

    going into this series, our biggest concern was the fear of bostons bigs pushing our guys around and andrew not being healthy enough. well, i think that andrew is giving us a lot more than we couldve expected and artest (everyone has a bad night once in a while. he was hot the last 3 games, so good for him to shoot it with confidence and driving inside to draw fouls. he will not go 1-10 again this series, so we have that out of the way) is playing great, great defense of pierce.

    basically, now that we have established our dominance in the paint we just have to win the guard battle… anyone having doubts about mamba and fish?

    feeling really comfortable about our chances here in austria ;)

  29. I will take the same situation again, same amount of fouls and all. We had a tie game going into the fourth, and gained a small lead… that situation I will take any game, any day.

    Kobe will be a tad more efficient another time, and even given the same looks, Ray will be a tad less efficient. That alone, is all we need.

    One adjustment we should make for the next game though, is for Fisher to not concern himself with acting on the screens. A lot of the screens move a little, sure. And Fish taking the time to hit them and flail his arms might result in a single foul call throughout a game. But when he is on Ray, that extra second he takes for doing this, costs three points.

    So how about cutting that out, and then take another run at it.

  30. Great recap Darius, really reflected the game I saw much more than anything on the mainstream media sites.

    Lamar, Ron, and Brown are showing what we always knew, which is that they generally make poor decisions. That doesn’t mean they are generally ineffective, but they just can’t be relied upon, except the difference with Ron is that you always get effectiveness on the defensive end. Pierce was just a total non-factor.

    Lamar’s comment that “maybe he shouldn’t play defense” was irritating, as all his fouls (including the offensive one) were the sort of thing you see happening three seconds in advance, shaking your head going “Noooooooo….don’t do THAT.” And then he does it. Sigh.

    Bynum and Gasol were great. I have been unsure about Bynum, but tonight he was just fantastic on both ends. Perhaps the best game I’ve seen from him.

    For me the game sits on Kobe. Live by the Kobe, die by the Kobe – usually a great credo. I can understand him getting upset with the fouls, but he went away from the bigs and blew a number of defensive plays. If his shots fall down the stretch you ignore it, but tonight there were too many times where he dribbled for ten seconds and didn’t recover after going to make the home run help play on defense.

    Game three is going to be great. Ultimately I have faith in Phil to make the adjustments, and the players to execute well enough to pull it out.

  31. Here’s the biggest difference between Ray Allen going off and KG or Rondo or PP going off: When Ray Allen goes off, he gets 3 points, whereas the others get 2 points (jumpshots, lay-ups, and FT’s, respectively). Just using a dirty expected utility calculation, shooting 90% from 2 is the same as shooting 60%% from 3. In the case of Allen, I’d rather take the 90% from 2 than the 60% from 3, because we’re not a three point shooting team and we can’t make up for the extra point. We get separation by getting stops and scoring 2 pointers in the paint, and every 2 three pointers basically negate 1 stop.

    At this point, we need to start making adjustments to cut off the three point line. The Celtics are not beating us inside; they’re beating us on the perimeter, by bombing threes and grabbing long rebounds.

    The biggest problem I saw was that when Fish got rubbed off on the Celtics screens (and it’s going to happen, what with all the elbowing and moving of feet that goes on), our bigs didn’t jump out on Ray Allen at all. A couple of times Bynum and Gasol stayed at home of their guys only to let Ray Allen release a wide open three pointer. In that situation, I would rather Perkins get a dunk than Ray Allen get an open three pointer; at least it’s 2 guaranteed points instead of 3 guaranteed points. And with the pass into the paint, the Lakers at least have a chance to recover, whereas an Allen bomb is 3 points for the C’s.

    The other big problem that Darius touched on was transition threes. It’s probably ingrained in our guards, but they’re running straight to the paint in transition when they should be running straight to Ray Allen. Frankly, I’d rather Rondo get an uncontested lay-up than let Ray Allen bomb from three.

    If Allen shoots a reasonable percentage on threes, like say, 4-8 instead of 7-8 in the 1st half, we could’ve been up 3 instead of down 6 at halftime. Huge, huge difference, especially with the way we charge out of 3rd quarters usually.

    This Laker team has shown it can win in Boston, but we need to get something from Odom. This is the fricking Finals; there’s no more time for “we’ll get em next time.” He wasn’t just playing poorly last night; he played plain bad. It wasn’t just that he had no impact; he negatively affected the team on the floor. I can live with Ron Artest sucking on offense because he makes up for it with his defensive presence and his severely underrated rebounding. But Odom was a liability on both offense and defense last night, which absolutely should not be the case given his skill set and how hard he’s played against Boston during the regular season.

  32. The thing that worries me the most about playing the Celtics any time is Kobe’s beef with Ray Allen.

    These two players legitimately hate each other, but the difference is that Ray doesn’t take it to Kobe…he gets under his skin.

    And as soon as Allen started hitting those threes, you just knew that at some point Kobe would decide to take it at Ray to “shut him up” in some way.

    Flash to the 4th quarter where Kobe spent several possessions trying to get an angle on Ray Allen rather than throwing it in to a big man to get the easy basket or foul.

    I HATE Ray Allen, but he flat out got into Kobe’s head tonight and he may do that with greater regularity than just about any player I’ve ever seen. Kobe needs to let that vendetta go because he’ll look much better holding the trophy having dished out 20 assists a game than he will watching Ray hold it while Kobe shoots under 50% – frequently from long distance.

    On the discipline side I think Fisher has got to realize that the officials aren’t going to whistle the Celtics for – as one of the announcers said last night – “resetting their screens.” They aren’t calling it, stop trying to draw the call. He did a good job of it in the second half. He needs to just do that for the entire game.

    As Darius noted, there’s a lot of stuff that we can look at as reasons to be confident that we can take 2 in Boston.

    Boston has not had a terrific home record in the playoffs or regular season. The Lakers, while not gangbusters on the road in the playoffs and have won at least one road game in every series, have won in Boston this year.

    Regardless of the things we did poorly or that just didn’t work out for us, the Lakers showed for the second straight game that the Celtics cannot guard Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. CAN NOT. Boston ended up with more points in the paint in the last game, but if you convert all of the free throws earned in the paint by the Lakers to PITP, then the Lakers would win that stat handily. Disciplined passing and a concerted, smart effort to get the ball into the post means that we will win games as long as we play defense.

    We showed in the 2nd half that we can defend Ray Allen. That meant that Rondo sort of went crazy, but I’d rather have Rondo end with 25 points than anyone else. If we can keep defending Pierce and Garnett the way we have and keep Ray Allen from having a shooting drill at the 3 point line, the Celtics end up with almost no offense.

    It would be great of Odom showed up. It would be nice if the bench gave us some quality minutes…but really a focus on getting the ball to Gasol and Bynum coupled with the Ray Allen defense we played in the 2nd half should be enough to get us home court back and possibly come back to LA up 3-2.

  33. For all you saying Lamar should wake up — this has been his career and I very much doubt he will change. This is a man who has the physical talent of Lebron James and the head of the scarecrow. Since Boston roughly equals his length and they are very smart on defense, Lamar’s strengths are overwhelmed by his head in this series. He will probably have one, maybe two, good games, but he is showing the reason he comes off the bench. I noticed that, finally, Phil is leaving Andrew in for more minutes in the 4th – now if we can only get the ball to him, or Pau.

    Stop expecting Lamar to be something he is not.

  34. Hi there, newbie in this forum, from Spain.

    I have been reading about this game (could not watch it) but I still don’t know what happenned with Pau & Bynum:

    I know that the second unit don’t use Gasol all they should IMO.

    I almost cry when I see Farmar and Shanon trying to do it by theyselves (at the halfcourt attack) instead of using Gasol as a starting point for the attack, I mean, teams use to double team him and he pass the ball great and he knows what happens on the court so it’s the best option (most of the time) when Kobe is on the bench .

    And the same with Bynum when he isn’t double teamed around the basket, his one on one attack backing his defender is very good.

    So my doubt is: weren’t they getting the ball enough or it was just the Boston defense that good on them? (and watching the stats doesn’t look like it was that good)

  35. I am still optimistic, and in fact think the Lakers can take 2/3 in Boston.

    Random thoughts why:

    1. Paul Pierce is not going to go off this whole series. Kudos to Artest — he’s really that good on D.

    2. Allen’s shooting was a once-in-a-decade affair; it won’t happen again.

    3. Odom, oh Odom! He’s bottomed out, like a stock which has dipped 60% in one day. No where to go but up.

    4. Gasol and Bynum will continue to have their way inside. Outside shooting won’t win a series; it will be decided inside. And we have and will continue to have a decided advantage inside.

    Ont thing I do know: These games are going to be close. I don’t see Boston blowing us out any game, as our offense is not going to have difficulty scoring.

    Come on Odom !!!

  36. The issue with Fish wasn’t that he didn’t fight through picks. It’s the opposite. The problem was that he continued to try and fight through them when he should be sticking to Allen by slipping picks. I think Bynum did a fine job coming out on Allen but there were some plays where Fish basically ran into Bynum’s man and put Bynum in a bad position to choose whether he should rotate or not.

    Look, the Lakers are matched against a team that is right there with them talent wise, that can execute on both sides of the ball, that has dynamic type players and matches up pretty well. I think the Lakers are the more talented team but just by a hair or two. When you match up against a team that is basically your perfect foil, there will be stretches where they control the game and there will be times when you control the game. The Lakers did a very good job of negating Allen’s 3PT barrage and were ahead early in the 3rd quarter. When the teams are this evenly matched the refs can make a huge, huge impact. They are the only ones on the court who don’t have an opposition actively trying to thwart their efforts. Nobody is there trying to take something away from them in crucial times. They need to be the ones playing perfect ball and they did not. The out of bounds call on Gasol was huge. The call on Artest when the ball was loose. The bad calls on Kobe and all the times that Garnett was permitted to use his arms on screens. For anybody who says that we can’t control the refs, guess what we can’t control any of it. We are not playing and can’t control anything on the court. So, fans analyzing the performance and finding their team wanting are just as fair in finding the refs performance wanting as well. IF the refs called a good game and we could somehow fix just the obvious bad calls, I think the Lakers would have won the game.

    That said, KG had as close to a breakout game as he has in him last Thursday.

    The Lakers need to take better control of the boards but there were a lot of plays where the Lakers’ D created a loose ball and the ball just got into the wrong hands. That stuff happens.

    Kobe is not going to have to sit for as long as he did, one figures, for the rest of the series and Allen will not have another historic game either.

    Rondo is amazing. I still haven’t seen an angel on the tap away on Kobe from behind that didn’t looked like arm to me. That block on Fisher was huge, as were his rebounds. Somebody needs to find that guy on any shot that goes up.

    Can we please have an 8-10 year stretch of Bynum without a major injury…. please? I mean during his career.

    I think the Boston crowd will awaken the sleeping Odom.

    Boston is not a particularly good team at home. Cleveland and Orlando played better there. The Lakers are an excellent team that doesn’t need home cooking seeing that they steal the opponents lunch anyway.

    Lakers clinch at home in game 6.

  37. Disheartening loss to say the least. I thought we were still in reasonably good shape at the two minute mark, but that didn’t factor in a complete offensive breakdown and how we simply couldn’t get rebounds (Rondo’s block on Fish too).

    It hurt even more that we wound up losing after we took what has to be Ray Allen’s best shot and still stayed in it in the first half.

    Also still not seeing why we consistently refuse to feed our bigs in the post in favor of bad Shannon Brown pullups and Ron Artest randomly…dribbling and stuff around the halfcourt.

    I agree with the commentators that thought Sasha deserved more burn, I felt that he should have gotten most of Shannon’s minutes after he repeatedly left Allen. It’s not like he could have performed much worse.

  38. There are times at which the referees all too frequently become an undeserving scapegoat. And those times lead many spectators and commentators alike to conclude that the outcome of a game is never determined by the referees. With respect to last night’s game, I simply cannot agree.

    The officials not only sucked the fun out the game with whistles leaving both teams dumbfounded, they altered its entire course. Allow me to explain:

    (1) Touch fouls on Fisher and Bryant – the replays show that these calls are questionable at best – lead to the Celtics shooting free throws on more touch fouls. These calls change the complexion of the game more than fouls at the basket. It stands to reason that if fouled at the basket, absent a bail-out call – the defender picked his poison: make the shot or shoot the free throws. Touch fouls on the perimeter are more than free throws; they’re free possessions. Even though it’s hard on the eyes, none of that is outcome altering if it’s called both ways. Yet with Allen draped all over Kobe he plainly did not get those calls.

    (2) Lamar Odom has not yet played in a meaningful way this series. To those Lakers fans lamenting his lack of aggression or inconsistency, you’ve occassionally been spot on. This time, you’re way off. No player can be effective in the limited run to which Lamar has been entitled. Predictable charges put to one side, the other whistles on Lamar have been flat out terrible. Last night in particular, this changed the game.

    (3) Finally, and most influentially, the officials effectively removed LA’s best player from the equation last night. The touch fould on Ray Allen at half court I can live with, despite the fact that the replay indicates Allen pushing off and thereby initiating the contact. Kobe shouldn’t be that close up on Ray at half-court; it’s asking for trouble (then again the same can be said on the other side of the court, but I digress). But the offensive foul Allen drew is unforgivable. Kobe did not so much as move his arm on Allen’s side to give the officials something to mistake. He just fell down, AFTER Kobe was went by him. Most egregious, however, is the Rondo call. First, Chris Sheridan’s musing about “a brilliant defensive play” is comically misguided. Again, ABC gave as a slow motion replay clearly showing the following sequence of events: (i) Rondo reaches in and fouls Kobe without touching the ball (ii)Kobe scrambles to recover the ball (iii) Rondo comes around Kobe near the sideline (iv) Kobe puts his arms up without touching Rondo) (v) Rondo falls out of bounds. The end result was #4 on Kobe. Does Chris Sheridan watch these games? If so, does he watch the replays? If so, are his eyes open?

    Those three factors combined to change the game. While one might contend that it is not certain LA would have prevailed (maybe Ray hits four more threes), I’ve seen no evidence that the Celtics can handle LA without gimmicky officiating. In any event, no one can validly argue that the game would not have been far different from the one I watched last night.

  39. Re guarding Allen the refs from the get go called fouls whenever Fish tried to impede Ray’s path. Ray could pretty much go through where Fish was positioned and get a foul called on Fish. Thus, Fish had to basically let Ray do whatever he wanted which meant he was a step and a half slow on every screen. Our bigs surely could have recognized this better, and having a different officiating crew could help too.

  40. I know it’s a small sample (2 games) in these finals, but we still can look for trends. While there were some obvious differences between the 2 games and the change of venue will have an effect, I think even after just 2 games we have seen 3 things that will be constant as the series shifts to Boston, and it should make us Lakers fans feel a little more comfortable.

    1) Pau and Drew will get theirs. I don’t really see how Boston will slow them down. I think we all agree that we could have gotten even more production out of those 2, especially in the 4th, had there just been more of an emphasis to get them the ball.

    2) Ron will play good D on Pierce. He may score 20+ like in game one, but Ron will make it very difficult on him. I think if Ron can continue to limit Pierce, it really increases our chances.

    3) KG will basically play the same as he did in the first 2 games. He beat himself up after a poor game one, and came out for their most important game of the season and gave very little. Granted he was in foul trouble, but that’s on him. He’s supposed to be their best defender, and he has clearly been outmatched by Pau thus far.

    I would throw LO in there as well, as I think he has shown us what he will give in this series. But, the Lakers won by 13 in game one despite his efforts, so to say he is a major plot line in this series, may be overstating it.

    Everything else was basically a wash. In many respects the stat lines, as well as the overall effort and execution, were reversed.

  41. The lakers didn’t execute for large stretches of that game and in the fourth quarter they went away from Pau and Bynum inside which was the most effective (especially Pau who played brilliantly) offense all night. Thats why the Lakers lost. That and no one could box out Rondo. Thats where he really hurt the Lakers. The Lakers could live with the 19 and 10 assists, but the 12 rebounds especially the ORbs in the 4th quarter really killed the Lakers.

    The officiating was pretty bad, and there certainly were some questionable calls. And the out of bounds play that clearly went out off of KG (besides the fact that it was a loose ball foul, which I like not being called there but usually you just give the ball to the other team). Really bizarre call especially since they reviewed it. I don’t know maybe Pau breathed on it last.

  42. I’ve got to agree with a comment from the last thread and ask where was all the complaining about the refs when it was the Lakers that benefitted from the ticky tack whistles and the questionable calls? Where were the up in arms fans when it was the C’s back court that was put on the bench with questionable fouls? This is how the game can go sometimes. It doesn’t make it easier to handle that it’s happened to others, but it’s what it is. Call affected the game. Okay. They affect every game. Nothing played a bigger role in why the Lakers lost than how they played in the face of what the Celtics were doing to them. Nothing. Whether it was Boston’s D or Ray Allen’s shooting or Rondo’s rebounding (both defensive in the 1st half that led to transition or offensive in the 2nd half that led to extra possessions). The Lakers need to defend better, move the ball better, and set up their big men more. Those were the keys to the game and will be the keys to the series.

  43. Just going off a cursory glance at the box-score, the Lakers lost the rebound and turnover battle. It’s difficult to win a game if you are losing both of those categories.

    The rebounding thing is simply a desire issue coupled with some weird bounces. There were too many possessions where I saw players going up with one hand or not going after the ball. Big Baby was after that thing like it was the last donut on the planet. 5 offensive rebounds of his 7 total. Rondo has 4 offensive rebounds of his 12 total.

    Rebounding is not solely based on trajectories and angles. If you want the ball, you will get the ball. Charles Barkley was 6’4″ but a ferocious rebounder. If the Lakers control the boards, they control the game.

    Lamar Odom has to make an appearance. There is no way that the Lakers can win this series if he continues to play invisible. I know that this has been his M.O. for his entire career, but at some point you just gotta sack up.

  44. I have a few thoughts.. first of all, i am a celtic fan, and i enjoy reading the blogs on both sides, especially after a win, dont hate. Anyways, i think a lot of you laker fans are making the mistake of rationalizing the loss, which may make you feel better, but your not actually looking at what happened. After game 1 i was aware we were outhustled, outworked, and outplayed. So many of you are saying things like, the celtics played so well and we still had a chance to win.. well, despite ray allens historic night and rondos triple double, it really was a pretty ugly game offensively for us. Paul pierce scored 26 points the first game for you artest fans, last night he scored 10. Garnett scored 16 points the first game, last night 6. If you take away about 10 points from ray to bring him down to around his average, and give paul and kg 10+ points each like they got in game 1, we actually win by 20+. So to say that the celtics played really well and barely won is a bit dishonest. The only time the celtics played to their 100% potential was game 5 against cleveland, and they scored 130+ points and gave cleveland their worst home loss in the playoffs ever. I think its unlikely kobe has such foul trouble next game, but i also think its unlikely that pierce doesnt get atleast 20, with garnett getting 14-16 and 8 rebounds fueled by the garden crowd. I also think it is unlikely that ray goes off for 32, but i dont think its unlikely rondo can get another triple double.. its almost certain he will atleast be close like he always is. Sorry for the long post i doubt you all will read it, but i look forward to game 3. :) much love from your friend – celtics fan

  45. I see several people saying that Ray Allen’s 8 threes is a once-in-a-generation type deal.

    Remember, Ray hit 7 against us in the 2008 Finals. He can do it again if we let him get open.

    Stay in his jersey.

    This is a series that requires us to STAY AT HOME ON DEFENSE. It’s really that simple.

  46. Darius – Not all fouls are created equal. Ray Allen picked up one, ONE, ticky tack foul during game one. Given the amount of time he spends in Kobe’s jersey, he’s fortunate not to foul out every game. As I mentioned in my post, I’m completely fine with them letting Ray play Kobe like that, with the caveat that they allow Kobe and Fish to play Ray the same way.

  47. I agree with Matt. Lot’s of talk today on the radio about how Allen will never do that again blah blah. If he gets open looks Ray Allen will hurt us just about every single time. The guy is an all time great shooter.

    I thought in the minutes he played Sasha did a good job of sticking to him. Would like to see if that can continue over extended minutes. His shot is also starting to look better (or lucky who knows) but if he can help spread the floor that would be a big plus. Perhaps doing some offense/defense switches with Artest. Of course last week I was saying that Sasha was terrible so what do I know?

  48. Darius,

    I completely agree with your last comment. However, this loss is not as simple as execution. You can clean that up and be prepared for Game 3. What they can’t “fix” is that the ball was out on KG in a one possession game. They shot over 50% from 3, seemingly got every loose ball, dominated the Lakers in transition, had better bench…and it should have still been a one possession game. I honestly do not care about bad foul calls. It’s difficult for the officials, given how fast and big these guys are. You can analyze all day, but they REVIEWED the call. I think Lakers fans are just confused more than anything. It’s not a conspiracy, its just perplexing.

  49. For all the Lakers fans harping about having to win the first 2 at home to win the series, history doesn’t agree with you. There have been 10 splits of the first 2 games since the NBA went to a 2-3-2 format in 84′-85′. The team with HCA has gone on to win 7 of those series. Obviously the Lakers have a lot of work to do and they must improve if they want to win this series, but for all of you who have this mentality that because of the 2-3-2 format we’re doomed, history tells us that simply isn’t the case.

  50. Tim,
    I agree with the complaints about the missed out of bounds call on KG. Believe me, I was thinking the same thing that the announcers and nearly every other viewer was thinking – Lakers ball. That said, it’s not like the ball going out of bounds counted for two points – it only gave the C’s possession. Yes it’s deflating to be on the wrong end of that call, but that is where “playing through it” matters most. The Lakers still had a chance to get a stop and didn’t do it. Now, we can say they shouldn’t have needed that stop (and I agree, as I said earlier, out on KG) but in the end the Lakers had their chance and they didn’t do it. So, the officials deserve blame for missing a call but the Lakers deserve blame for not getting the needed stop. They deserve blame for not boxing out Rondo. They deserve blame for countless other things that helped earn a loss. I understand the frustration with the refs, but that is about #5 (or lower) on my list of frustrations from last night. And to see the refs get so much play is maddening. Because if the Lakers expect to win by only playing as well as they did yesterday they’ll be sadly mistaken and incorrect in that logic. Improvements are needed and in more areas than how the game was called.

  51. Does someone have a different perspective or some kind of wisdom that can explain the team(Brown in particular) letting Ray Allen shoot so many 3s.

    It just didn’t look like the Lakers understood that you have to stick Ray Allen. No excuses. No helping.

    He’s that deadly.

    Nobody else on either team shoots that well.

    I was scratching my head in disgust the whole time when he got open.

    Screens are one thing, wide opens are another.

    As pointed out earlier, crazy as it sounds Sasha would not have left Ray and would have forced him a few times to drive or shoot mid-range jumpers at least. I’m not as fearful of those as opposed to 3s.

    It almost looked like one of the Suns games they won in the last series….except they didn’t have someone as deadly as Ray Allen.

    The bigs were doing great, they didn’t get help from anyone else on the team. Even Kobe wasn’t effective as he could be.

    I expect tighter defense on Allen and Rondo.

    Please box out Rondo, he’s 6’1″, not 7’1″.

    Bye.

  52. Darius – you’re just flat wrong on this one buddy. That out of bounds call is perhaps the only one they got right. Numerous replays showed that it was impossible to tell whether Garnett’s hand or Gasol’s hand ultimately pushed the ball out of bounds (each had a hand on the ball at the time). I’d like to see a jump ball, but the rule says that absent unequivocal evidence to the contrary the initial call must stand. LA didn’t have that type of evidence.

    How is Kobe and Lamar being effectively unable to play – either at all or the type of games to which they’re entitled to play – #5 on your list? This was a close game! I understand that fans cry wolf way too often, but that doesn’t make this officiating any less of a wolf.

  53. The 2-3-2 format was implemented to extend series to 6 or 7 games. Especially with a split, it’s more likely to go 6 or 7 with the 2-3-2 than with the 2-2-1-1-1, or so the NBA believes.

    I was just shaking my head the whole game at the reffing, and not from a pro-Laker bias. Lots of bad calls all around made this game so ugly only Naismith’s mother could love it. I had to laugh to keep from crying.

  54. Cdog,
    I have not lost all faith and I am still going to watch game 3, I just think the Celtics are the better team. Does it really make me such a non fan to have an opinion that my team may not be the best? The Lakers are very capable of going to Boston and winning at least two games, but I just dont believe it is going to happen. Game 2 was a huge loss.

  55. Why even bother with Instant Replay?

  56. The officiating in game 2 was horribly inconsistent. Not the reason the Lakers lost of course, but how can you get any rhythm when you don’t know what’s a foul from one play to the next? Kobe get’s bumped everywhere he’s on the court yet he gets called for touch fouls?
    No consistency at all…

  57. I’m one of the biggest complainers about officiating, but the truth of the matter is, the Lakers were up by 3 with about 4 minutes left…and then they stopped running their offense.

    Too much Kobe ball. And I know Kobe ball won Game 6 in Phoenix.

    When it works, it’s spectacular looking.

    But when it doesn’t work, it just makes you scratch your head and say, “Why is Kobe and our wings dribbling so much and not getting inside where the Lakers have a clear advantage?”

  58. Darius,

    I’m with you. I have faith that they will clean up the little things in Game 3 and make the necessary adjustments. But for me, my preference is to be upset with the players on the team, listen to and come up with interesting analysis about ways to improve the effort and execution. When you’ve got the resources available to you, and you still miss the call, its bad for the product in general. It makes me upset, detracts from my enjoyment and time invested, and gives conspiracy theorists ammo.

  59. Joe,
    You can believe that the other team may be better, thats fine. But from what I saw the first two games, the teams are evenly matched, with matchup problems on both sides, so I think its silly just to hand the Celtics the championship because the beat us in a game 2. Remember, in 2001 Allen Iverson’s sixers beat us in game 1, in 2002 Sacramento beat us in game 1, in 2008 Denver beat us in game 2, etc, etc. Not all series the Lakers have home court are they going to go up 2-0, and to suggest that by winning this game Boston has any more advantages/disadvantages against us is poppycock. This is a playoff battle guys, I am not happy about the loss, but it is up to our guys to be prepared and ready for the next game in Boston, because the test is not over in any way.

    As for the “out of bounds play”, while it can (i am not saying should) be argued that Pau could have possibly touched the ball with his finger and it was inconclusive, KG also came over the back of Pau and fouled him (which would and should have been his sixth foul). The officials stopped calling fouls on the Celtics with 4 minutes to go – at least the same fouls they were calling all game – but were calling ticky tack stuff on both Kobe and Ron.
    We lost the game, this isn’t the first time the Lakers have lost a home playoff (or even Finals game), and my bet is it won’t be the last. That does not mean we can’t go out there in game 3 and compete and get that win.

    As to the Kobe hero mode – I actually think he didn’t have a chance to go into hero mode last night. Once there was about 5 minutes left the Lakers had Fish dribbling the ball up real slow and it never allowed us to get into our sets. A couple of times Kobe either had a turnover or made a bad decision, but a lot of times the ball stayed out of Kobe’s hands until he was forced to put one up. Ron and Fisher did a whole lot of dribbling and our bigs did a whole lot of standing. We are going to need better 4th Q execution from all of our players, because playing as slow as possible helps the C’s D to physically recover from play to play.

  60. Re: Playing through the officiating

    It is much more reasonable to expect a clearly superior team to play through bad officiating. It is another thing to expect that a team playing against an equal team with equal match ups overall should also have to beat the refs.

    How bad is it when we give the other team extra possessions? Who do you blame for turnovers and offensive rebounds? How much does that effect the game? Well, when it’s the refs doing it, there is a similar consequence but someone else to blame.

    One point that does seem valid, on this site we tend to discuss the game in terms of what the teams are doing and what adjustments they can or might make. There ain’t no analysis that can account for how the refs will adjust their play calling. So, we can complain but what does the officiating mean, besides it suck having to rely on humans to be perfect.

    I think the Lakers will be fine. They can take 2 of three (I’d bet game 3 and game 5) but we’ll see.

  61. 55, Interesting the way you said just last series that the Lakers had made a believer out of you. How quickly you change.

  62. I feel that much the the reffing issues come from the natural way that fan’s see games. Every fan focuses on what they perceive went against their guy/guys. When a guy drives and doesn’t get the call, fan’s scream they’re getting man handled, on the other side it’s a ticky-tack call. If a Celtic tries to play inside someone’s jock, their hands are all over a Laker. If it’s the other way around, the refs are taking away LA’s perimeter threats.

    I look at the quote, “Re guarding Allen the refs from the get go called fouls whenever Fish tried to impede Ray’s path.” There are many ways to impede someone’s path, and many are fouls, especially when covering great scorers. That’s life. If the Celts we clutching, grabbing and bumping Kobe to “impede his path” you wouldn’t be demanding that refs let it go.

    Fan eyes are trained to see what goes against their team, and not what goes for it. Replay accentuates this because things look much different in real time than they do in slow motion. The replay lets us see every grab, shove and jostle. Then as fans we place value judgments on which ones to see as fouls or just part of the game. Somehow fans always see the other team fouling and their own team not. (I think the Rondo call was one that no one gets right in real time but looks bad on replay, you needed a tight angle on the sideline and I just think no ref had it)

    (On another board after a close college game, I was once told that a player hitting the elbow of a shooter taking a game-winning 3-pointer was a good no-call because said player’s team had been “screwed” throughout the game, so this is in no way specific to the Lakers)

    In retrospect, LA fans went into this series demanding a tightly called game. People here didn’t want Pau and Bymun getting “manhandled” down low. Guess what, all of Boston’s bigs had four fouls before the end of the third. That duo for LA had 13 blocks and only six fouls before intention fouling began. A real ref job there.

  63. for everyone complaining about the refs – please read post 43 again. And again. AND AGAIN!

    How many people here who have played organized sports loved the referees? No matter what sport, I can only name 2 or 3 referees who knew what they were doing. Lay off the refs already!

    How about the time out by doc? That was a great play. Almost as good as the rebounds and blocks by rondo.

    This series (like many) is all about adjustments. I’m confident PJ will make the necessary changes (we did come back from 14, didn’t we?) . Execution is another matter, but Darius’ breakdown was on point – as usual. Go lakers!

  64. #53. Bryan,
    Flat out wrong, huh? No room for potentially being right? No potential way that what I saw had merit? Even though the announcing crew, fans from both teams, post game commentators, Celtics’ Bloggers, et al all saw the same thing I did in reference to the out of bounds call? Interesting.

    And yes, the reffing is about 5th on my list of concerns from the Lakers perspective. How about Shannon’s helping off of Ray Allen? How about the Lakers doubling their 3 point FGA’s from game 1 to game 2? How about the Lakers relying on isolation plays off the dribble rather than passing, cutting, and screening with decisiveness? How about the Lakes losing their discipline in their transition defense and recovering to the paint? Or them not securing defensive rebounds in the 4th quarter and allowing Rondo to get free to secure the ball and extra possessions? Or their committing silly turnovers in the final 6 minutes? Or their ignoring of the their big men in the 4th quarter? Uhhh, yeah. I’ve got lots of concerns that have nothing to do with the refs. Why don’t you start to focus on the macro a bit more rather than narrowing your vision on what the refs were doing? This game was lost on the accumulation of a bunch of little things that the Lakers didn’t do right. The foul trouble also played a role. But that’s further down my list.

  65. Lakers should dictate the tempo and play agressive.Expect a Kobe blast.
    Lakers in 6.

  66. The Dude Abides, I feel what you’re saying.

    History will repeat it self.
    If not like 1990, maybe like 94, when Houston lost Game 2 at home, stole Game 3 on the road, lost the next 2 and finished with 2 wins at home.
    Or in 92, when MJ and Jackson lost game 2, stole game 3 and 5 on the road, and finished in game 6 at home.

    In any of those cases, key was stealing game 3 on the road.
    So the next game is pivotal for us.

  67. FB&G Request: It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the end of the 4th Q from the time the Lakers were up by 3 to see if our utter hopelessness from that point forward was due primarily to: terrible execution, turnovers on entry passes, kobe in hero mode, failure to move without the ball, or excellent celtics D. obviously, all of these issues are at least somewhat in play, but would love to see a play by play breakdown as we’ve seen in the past for other huge games to explain how we gave up something like an 8-0/11-2 run when it most mattered.

    still in agony over this game. really, just anguish.

  68. I cut game officials slack on fouls because fouls are hard to call right all the time. They happen quickly, and there is no recourse for replay. The most controversial calls are almost always block/charge calls. This is because the rulebook requires the official is required to look at and judge two things at once. This is not unique to basketball. Soccer has offside. Baseball has tag-ups (though that’s mitigated by having four umps). Football has control and two feet inbounds issues as well as in-pocket/out-of-pocket downfield contact rule peculiarities.

    Sometimes though, those of us with the whistles can’t even get the singularly-focus boundary calls right. It looked to me like he just picked a direction and went with it. I do the same thing when I ref soccer and I have no idea whom to award a restart. The difference is I’m getting paid $70-$100 a match, the pub-league players are in it for the fun and sun, and I don’t have replay.

    Still… Bill James NCAA calculator says that a five point lead with 1:50 left is only safe 2% of the time, so it wasn’t a huge play as much as it was a puzzling one.

  69. IMO, here are some points of consolation.

    1. Celtics frontline (especially KG) are overmatched by ours; ergo, very simple, continue pounding inside.

    2. I totally respect Ray Allen’s shooting and professionalism (coming off a bad game 1), but I doubt he will get off 7-8 3 pointers again. If Allen had to get it out of his system, glad it happened in game 2, not 6 or 7.

    3. Artest is defending Pierce well. If Artest can hold pierce to 10-12 ppg and he can score the same margin, then we are in good shape.

    4. Kobe will not have that many fouls called against him again. The refs review tape and they should be embarrased by a few of their foul calls against Kobe.

    Both teams will be tired from basically spending Monday flying to Boston, so that’s a wash. I think two players should get more burn: Farmar and Sasha. Lakers need to get past their instinctual nature to double team KG (b/c he’s not of the 2008 ilk anymore) and stay with their man on defense, especially Ray. Pau is going to dominate KG for the remainder of the series…that is pretty apparent. I’m definetely worried about the next three games, you have to respect this Celtics team. Realistically, I can see the Lakers taking Game 3 and losing 4 and 5. But this is a different team and if they capitalize on their bigs, we are in a good position. I want the team to be uncomfortable with their surroundings; I want them to miss their beds at home. I want them to come out and have the mentality that it’s them against the world in Boston. It’s on now.

  70. RE: 66

    As I said earlier in the thread, I’m a huge ref complainer – but Darius is right, the Lakers did too many wrong things to put this one on the refs.

    It’s weird, in the 4th quarter, everyone decided to start going for the “kill shot” three pointer. LO jacking up that three early in the shot clock stands out for me.

    I don’t think it was so much the Lakers ignoring their bigs, it was just a matter of the Lakers panicking and not making extra passes to get their bigs a good look.

    The Ron Artest turnover when he tried to get the ball into Pau was a good example. The pass wasn’t there, but Ron still tried to force it in.

    Kobe also started forcing up jumpers rather than patiently working the ball inside at the end of the game.

    Then again, Kobe made those shots in Game 6 of the Phoenix series, so maybe at the end of the day, it just comes down to Kobe missing the clutch shots he’s been making all season. He makes some of those shots, and it’s a different game.

    What worries me after Game 2 is the Lakers sounded panicky and discombobulated after the loss.

    The Celtics sounded angry after Game 1.

    That does not bode well for LA.

  71. #69. That’s a great idea. I don’t have those capabilities at work, but do at home. Tonight, I will re-watch the last two minutes (or more) and put that post up before 8pm pacific. Mark it down.

  72. People keep saying the Lakers need to “pound the ball inside”, which is mostly true, and it is also used, sometimes by Laker fans and more often by KobeHaters, as a way to read Kobe’s mind–he wants to do X, he was trying to do Y, he was thinking about Z, etc. I have seen several people around the net bashing Kobe for all the shots he took in the 4th.

    But, I think people sometimes forget that the other team knows the Lakers need to “pound the ball inside” as well. So, the Lakers need to focus on specific ways to make the entry pass and to free up the bigs to make the catch in the right spot. In many sequences, I see the player on the wing look inside, stare at Bynum or Gasol, and then pick up the dribble, forcing a catch further from the hoop or at a bad angle, or not stting up the catch at all, and/or setting it up late in the shot clock. NBA defenses today are too sophisticated to expect that you can just walk the ball up the floor and casually toss the ball into the big man of your choice in a key possession in the 4th.

  73. For people complaining about Shannon’s guarding of Ray Allen — this is why Phil doesn’t like to put Brown on pure, long-distance shooters. Both Shannon and Lamar tend to give shooters too much room, apparently being afraid they will go around them. They also have the habit – as does Kobe – of frequently cheating off their man, regardless of who they are, to help out down low. Until this changes we need to avoid these match-ups and live with people like Fish or Sasha on Ray Allen.

    Incidentally, the biggest Laker problem is handling Rondo. When Kobe gives him so much space it allows him to read the defense and patiently wait for Ray to get just a little bit open. When Kobe plays him tight he is susceptible to getting left in the dust. Rondo is going to be a problem, but we must decide on which poison we are going to live with.

  74. Zephid,
    The Lakers did make a believer out of me, they are a lot better than I thought they were. And I did not say they can’t win this series, but this Celtics team is a whole different story than any team we faced in the West. This Celtic team showed me in game 2 that they have the capability of shutting down the Lakers on offense. We had 2 nasty stretches, 1 at the end of the game where we could just not get a good shot at the basket. Thi Laker team is a great defensive team, but not at that level that I saw from Boston. So yea, I think that is what seperates the 2 teams, but thats just my opinion. I have faith that we can pull it off, but I just think Boston is better.

  75. while you can’t blame the refs for everything….the last two seasons have been horrible, no matter who wins or loses the games tend to break on calls and no calls

    almost every run begins with a no call at one end and a 3 point play on the other end, every team benefits and suffers because of this.

    The real problem is the refs aren’t accountable either way, I was happier in the 80’s and 90’s when they just swallowed their whistle except when someone got mugged.

    and telling “perkins to knock it off” when they have been giving double techs for 5 years is a joke.

  76. Darius – It sounds like you’re taking my post a little personally…It appears that you’re off your game as your entire response amounts to nothing more than a series of questions. Nonetheless, I’ll take them one by one. I’m as big of a Laker fan as anyone, and reviewed the tape (along with the commentary) many times.

    First, I’d love to conclude the ball was clearly off KG, but the tape doesn’t lie. Contrary to your suggestion, the announcing crew did not conclude that the officials got it wrong. Call my bluff on this if you will. Watch and listen again. Initially, the announcers thought it was off Garnett. After the second replay, they changed their tune when a different angle rendered it impossible to conclude whether Pau’s finger or Garnett’s hand propelled the ball out of bounds. As I explained – and you ignored – the rule is that there must be CONCLUSIVE evidence that the call should be reversed. Plainly, there is no such evidence. A different matter is whether the initial call should have been different. That’s the better argument. But once the call is made, the burden of proof shifts, and the officials didn’t have the type of overwhelming evidence necessary to overturn the call. Are you suggesting that such evidence existed, and that after reviewing it several times, the officials nevertheless ignored it? Such a suggestion carries implications that eviscerate the premise of your argument.

    Second, I agree completely that Shannon Brown was atrocious last night. Terrible shot selection to match persistently bad close outs. But you’re missing the point: Shannon Brown played 15 minutes (many of them coming as a direct result of Kobe’s foul trouble). He spent only some of those minutes on Ray Allen. And you would have us concluded that this is a bigger factor to you than Kobe missing 15 minutes completely, and playing another 10 in serious foul trouble with a shred of the aggression he ordinarily displays. That’s ridiculous, and I think you know as much.

    Third, doubling the three point output is certainly something to look at (although I don’t think 22 is a crazy number per se…It’s more about missing them). The rest of your factors are more general aspects of the game. Carried to its logical end what you’re suggesting is that had the Lakers done everything else very well, the officiating wouldn’t have mattered. But they didn’t and it did. Your explanation just doesn’t hold water. Of course officiating would never be a decisive factor if the Lakers beat the other team in every facet of the game. What I posted about was officiating being an outcome determinative factor. And that’s my enduring point here. I’ll leave it to you to explain how it was not. As a side note, explaining how a litany of different factors actually affected the game more in the aggregate is not focusing on the macro. Might want to look that one up buddy.

  77. Funky Chicken June 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Funny that with over 70 comments here I don’t see any that put even some of the blame on Phil Jackson.

    Darius, you are unwilling to assign significant blame to the officials for the loss, and you identified numerous things within the Lakers’ control. So, why no criticism of PJ for not demanding that his players actually do any of those things?

    If Phil is going to continue to play Shannon over Sasha, he is playing right into Boston’s hands. Sasha is a MUCH better defender on Allen than Shannon, in part I suspect because Sasha is also a shooter and knows how critical it is for a defender not to leave a shooter. Shannon, by contrast, spends most of his time on defense in no man’s land, neither guarding the shooter nor aggressively doubling a big man (which is TOTALLY unnecessary against Boston’s big guys who have NO game down low).

    Moreover, Sasha is a better shooter than Shannon, and he spaces the floor better. So, with Sasha you get better D against Boston’s best offensive player, and better floor spacing when the Lakers have the ball. But Phil sticks with Shannon, and nobody calls out PJ for another atrocious day of coaching….

  78. Dear Commisioner Stern,
    As a loyal NBA fan, here is a suggestion on how to improve the NBA Finals experience for the remaining games. There should now be 5 quarters in the game. The first quarter should have the following rules: each team may only utilize the bottom five players in its rotation based upon the number of minutes played. Therefore, Lakers’ starting lineup for the “zero” period would be: Mbenga, Morrison, Brian Shaw, Powell, and Shannon Brown. Celts would utilize Mr. Candace Parker, Scalabrine, Nate Robinson, Daniels, and Tyronne Lue. The refs would be allowed to call as many fouls as they want, and after the end of this period, the ref with the highest number of fouls called would earn a gold sticker. Then, that ref would be removed from the game and then the REAL four quarters and the game should start.

    Sincerely, NBA Fan.

  79. trail a series for the first time in 2 seasons?
    did you forget how they were down 1-0 to the rockets last year before yao broke his foot

  80. I am not sure how any reasonable person can look at the free throw discrepancy and complain that the Lakers were screwed by the refs. Lakers shot 41 FTs to Boston’s 26. That’s bad enough, but if you take away the 10 FTs at the end (when the Lakers were intentionally fouling to get the ball back), the discrepancy was 41-16.

    Yep, Lakers really had to battle the refs hard in this one.

  81. I have faith that we can pull it off, but I just think Boston is better.

    ___

    They were better in 2008. But with Artest here and Bynum playing, and Posey and House gone, I’m not sure that they are now.

  82. Nechtan (78)
    In officiating, “even” does not imply “correct” or even “fair”. It is not the division of a cake.

  83. robinred – like i’ve been saying all along, you underestimate just how good Rajon Rondo has gotten. When the Celtics win this series, and Rajon Rondo is named Finals MVP, I’ll be back here saying “I told you so.”

  84. Of all the aforementioned issues the Lakers had offensively down the stretch of this game, everyone needs to recognize the tremendous impact the incorrect “out of bounds” call between Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol had on the outcome of this game. Lakers down by 3, and instead of potential quick two with a possible and 1 to tie, Boston gets an easy two to go up by 5 leading to a hurried, ill-advised 3 attempt by Kobe to cut into that lead. The entire momentum of those remaining two minutes was dictated by the officials and has caused me to question the integrity of NBA basketball as a whole. It seems this has happened this year more often than not and I am concerned that we are in an age of professional basketball where marketability, tv ratings, and revenue have become more important than a fairly played game.

  85. #73: Darius, I look forward to it, and I apologize in advance for you having to watch those 2 minutes again.

  86. This was a poorly officiated game on both sides. Like, we were expecting a home town discount and drew Ken Mauer. Well, them’s the breaks.

    This game was lost by the Lakers, not the officials. Let’s move on to more productive things.

  87. Darius: You got your facts wrong..Lakers were trailing in a series..remember when the lakers lost game 1 to the Rockets in last yrs West Conf semi final round.

  88. One big aspect of last nights game that is being overlooked is rebounds.

    The lakers were out rebounded, when they are out rebounded they lose. Plain and simple. For all the praise the big men got (including odom although he didn’t get an ounce of praise), they only combined for 19 rebounds. In the regular season(based on averages) Bynum, Drew, Pau combined for 29 rebounds. So yes Pau and Bynum did a great job with blocking shots and scoring, but the lakers as team and starting with them, did not rebound. I’m not saying its their fault, I’m just saying it starts with them. Although the guards did an okay job on the boards with 12 total from fish and kobe and 5 from artest, the perimeter players have to prevent rondo from grabbing 12 rebounds. Rondo was the game leader in rebounds and thats inexcusable.

    Also the comment from the celtic fans about rest of the celtics not playing that well and the won. Well you can say the same for the lakers, Artest, fisher, Odom combined for 4-21 for 15 points. I’m not predicting those three will pick it up, but it’s unlikely they all play that poorly in the same game. Add an ineffective night by Kobe. The lakers, like the celtics really only had 2 players going. Although, the Celtics got a good contribution for perkins, sheed and davis.

  89. Mason (84) – are you honestly trying to imply the Lakers “deserved” 2.5 x the free throws based on what was happening in the game up until the final minute? Really? So the Lakers got 41 legitimate FTs, but the Celtics were bailed out by the refs 16 times?

    Yeah, that’s probably a more reasonable conclusion than anything related to bias.

    Edit for clarity – I am referring to biased fan perceptions (which we are all guilty of). Not biased officiating.

  90. They need to watch tape of themselves running the triangle and put Kobe on a leash.

    Whatever happened to making an entry pass from the corner instead of the FT line extended? It’s obvious to the Celtics that the Lakers are trying to break them down off of the dribble, which has been noted numerous times here. They need to focus on moving the ball side to side and making solid entry passes. When the Celtics bring the double team on the Gasol dribble, his outlet man has be rotating to the top of the key or the opposite wing instead of staying on his current wing and “shrinking the floor,” which is exactly what the Celtics want. The Lakers get bogged down when Kobe does his usual garbage in the 4th 1/4, and then everyone else gets stagnant.

    They came back last night because of good ball movement, and then the HERO had to show up and things went downhill.

  91. Lakers are in good shape, no need to panic. They have the advantage inside and overall the matchups seems to show that Boston will struggle to score against LA and that LA isn’t nearly as scared or stifled by Boston’s D this year. Just need to shoot less 3s to contain Rondo and PJ needs to pull Ron Ron in the last few of the game.

  92. #87. Anything for you guys, Matt.

    #81. My bad. I had the game 1 and game 2 outcomes reversed in my mind. I’ve fixed it in the post.

    #79. I think Phil deserves some blame for not playing Sasha more against Ray Allen. But, I don’t think he was “atrocious” by any means last night. Though, I’m sure you’ll find some that agree with you.

    #78. I’m saying the call was incorrect. Both at the outset and upon review. That said, to claim the game was won or lost on that play is foolish. That was a big call and I’ll easily admit that. However, as I said earlier, that call didn’t actually give the Celtics any points, their subsequent basket did. If the Lakers get a stop there, that call is an after thought. It’s the fact that the game went from 3 to 5 that matters. Yes, you need possession to get that basket but you also need to score. I’m not sure why that’s a hard concept to understand.

    As for your other points, when Kobe checked out at the end of the 1st quarter, Shannon replace him. In the time that Brown was on Ray, three 3 pointers were made by Allen. Shannon was the primary defender. Kobe’s fouls had nothing to do with those plays. Did Kobe being in foul trouble hurt the Lakers? Of course it did. My argument has little to do with Kobe though and everything to do with the things the Lakers need to do (and can do) better to win. When you state that my argument is essentially “had the Lakers done everything else very well, the officiating wouldn’t have mattered.” and then you saying “But they didn’t and it did.” is just not the way I look at things, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. I mean, by that reasoning, every loss can be pinned on bad calls. Going further – every team is going to suffer some bad calls in every game. And if that team loses, they’re likely to have not played well in some facet of the game. However, by shifting the blame away from what the team actually could have done better to what the refs could have done better is scapegoating in the highest order. I’ve said all along that calls influenced the game. However, I still think that other facets of the game mattered more. Listen to the players talk after the games and they’ll say the same things. Kobe said it was “defense and turnovers that killed us”. He didn’t mention anything about his foul trouble. Phil Jackson was asked a direct question about the refs, answered it honestly, but then went on to praise the Celtics defense and the bone headed plays that his players made.

  93. Obviously Kobe’s offense in the 4th was affected by him having 5 fouls; he took more time surveying the court, and was looking for a mid- to long-range J rather than driving to the hoop and risking a charge call.

    That being said, I felt that the larger impact of his foul trouble was on the defensive end. For the most part, it seemed that Rondo was able to get in transition and create when Kobe was out of the game. As we saw in the OKC series, Kobe is extremely adept at getting back on defense against these quick guards and shutting down the transition game. With Kobe missing those 10-12 minutes he would’ve been playing without foul trouble, I don’t think Rondo would have been able to do as much in transition as he did.

    Also, in the 4th quarter, Kobe with 5 fouls limited his effectiveness on Rondo, and Rondo in turn had a good quarter (especially the last 5 minutes).

    My point in all this is that it is clearly evident over these entire playoffs that for the Celtics to win, Rondo HAS to have a big game. Every time he has had an average game (including game 1 of this series), the Celtics have not only lost, but have looked borderline atrocious on offense. As long as Kobe stays on the floor to guard Rondo and limit his effectiveness, Boston should only slog to the mid-80s point range at best, and the Lakers will be in good shape for ring 16.

  94. I second lil pau’s suggestion; I’ll also be looking forward to that post, thanks Darius.

    Sasha is our closest approximation of Ray Allen, the Laker most suited to coming off curls and moving without the ball. He’s clearly the best we have at sticking to Allen. With Sasha, my worry is over-zealousness: he gets too slap-happy and puts guys on the FT line too easily. But last night, that in-your-jersey defense was exactly what we needed.

    2 of 3 in Boston would be ideal. I don’t want to be down 3-2 and facing an elimination game against this team; that’s why I was so crushed by the loss last night. The challenge just rose from winning 1 in Boston to winning 2.

  95. Nechan-
    Again… In officiating, equal is not always fair or correct. Consider that statement, or rather, consider the consequences of the inverse:

    Equal is always fair and correct.

    If you’re going to assume this to be true, then there’s not much I can do to persuade you. The official’s duty is to enforce the rules of the game as they apply to the game being played before him. That means that if one team is hacking the heck out of the other, then he calls it that way. A makeup call or hesitance to make a call out of some misguided notion of equality is a clear sign of a wayward official. I mean… That’s point shaving. That’s what they sent TD up the river for, right?

    Look… I’ve called soccer matches where I’ve awarded one penalty kick to one team and three to the other (Old Bald Guys = clumsy, late challenges). The final one of those three was in the 90th minute, ten seconds before I was going to blow the whistle for full time. The penalty was converted for the winning goal, and the losing team was apoplectic. I made certain to get out of dodge ASAP, but I would make that call again because it was the correct call.

    Call the game before you – nothing more, nothing less. If, as an offficial, you do not have the courage of your convictions to say to one team or the other, “You are continually in violation of the rules and I will continue to sanction your violations,” then you are in the wrong line of work. It’s that simple.

  96. To add to what Dan said:

    It was just his D on Rondo. There were also a few moments where Kobe found himself in the paint with a Celtics big on a rotation or out of transition, but because of his foul situation, all he could do was step back and give up a gimme.

  97. Mason –

    Classic straw man argument. Awesome. Equal is not always fair. Great. Glad we got that out of the way. Any other revelatory clichés?

    As you already know, I never argued for “equality.” I never even complained about the existing inequality. It’s the magnitude of the discrepancy I was trying to point out to combat the perception of bias. I highly doubt a team that shot almost 2.5x the number of free throws was the victim of poor refereeing on the whole. They were victims of singular bad calls that fans now want to extrapolate to affecting the outcome of the game. What they don’t want to do is focus on the singular bad calls that went against the Celtics that could have also had an effect on the game’s outcome. Because…well, because then they lose the martyr card. And everyone loves a good martyr.

    You perceive injustices committed against you to be greater than those committed against your enemies. It makes sense because in your world they are greater. But that does not make it so in a neutral world.

  98. Answering Jason’s thoughts.

    “Lakers down by 3, and instead of potential quick two with a possible and 1 to tie, Boston gets an easy two to go up by 5″

    This is a convoluted way of saying LA would be down three with the ball, instead Boston had it. I don’t see how the two was easy, you got Rondo shooting a 20-footer after rotating to cover a Ray Allen drive. Those seem like ideal shots to force, and giving up an “easy two” is on LA anyway.

    “leading to a hurried, ill-advised 3 attempt by Kobe to cut into that lead”

    That seems to be Kobe’s fault, firing the quick 25-footer. Five points down with 1:50 left and the best closer in the game is still workable, you know, if the Lakers don’t mess it up.

    “The entire momentum of those remaining two minutes was dictated by the officials”

    The officials took the quick shot and messed up the ensuing LA defensive possession?

    “and has caused me to question the integrity of NBA basketball as a whole.”

    Interesting how many people question that only after a LA loss.

  99. In response to Darius’s #94 there is little to say. You clearly didn’t read my post. If you’re interested, it clearly outlines my perspective that the officials got it RIGHT on the out of bounds call. You’re chasing your own tail on that one.

    Next, your post implies that someone or something being a scapegoat is wrong. It is not. It just “is.” A scapegoat is merely someone or something upon which to place blame. In this case, it’s the officials, and the blame is well deserved. Scape-goating (not really a word) is not treason. It’s a conclusion. So if it’s scape-goating of the highest order, I’m not really sure that makes a whole lot of sense.

    We agree that officiating influences games. Where we disagree is when it becomes appropriate to allege that it was a decisive factor (note I’m citing it as one amongst other factors, but take umbrage when you place it at fifth). Seemingly, you have no threshold. In sharp contrast, I submit that there is a point at which it becomes appropriate to criticize officiating. For me, that line was crossed last night.

    Citing Kobe’s thoughts as authority for the proposition that the officiating was not a pivotal factor officially takes you to a place that I believe no one will follow. Kobe notoriously is NOT going to say what he actually thinks after a game. If you haven’t noticed that trend, I don’t know what to tell you. Moreover, all of these players are well aware of the fine and potential no-call retribution that follows such criticism (e.g. Odom’s “no comment”).

    The refs sucked the fun out of last night’s game and deserve to be criticized accordingly. If you disagree, I’ll stand by the more salient points that I’ve made throughout the day and leave it at that.

  100. Bryan,
    For having little to say, you sure said a lot ;). Ha.

    Anyways, there’s no point in continuing this. We see it different. In the end, I’m okay with that. We don’t have to agree. The refs deserve criticism (as you state) and the Lakers do to (as I’ve said). So, how about we’re both right (or wrong, or both) and call it a day? Thanks.

  101. Celtics Nation wrote on June 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    robinred – like i’ve been saying all along, you underestimate just how good Rajon Rondo has gotten. When the Celtics win this series, and Rajon Rondo is named Finals MVP, I’ll be back here saying “I told you so.”

    One of many things for me to look forward to if the Celtics win. *forgot to include my handle.

  102. Amazing the level of compalining about the officiating given the Lakers significant advantage in FTs. I am with Darius on this one, LA lost because they did not execute and were outhustled.

    Why only the conspiracy theories when LA loses?

  103. Darius, reading your post-game wrap-ups always brighten my day after a tough loss like this one. Your levelheadedness is much appreciated, especially after a rage inducing game like Game 2. It is truly a marvel how you remain on an even keel after big wins, and total letdown games like this last one.

  104. Nechtan-
    Perhaps I misinterpreted your remark about free throw discrepancies. Normally that data appears in an argument that takes the form of:
    Team X shot more free throws. This is prima fasciae evidence that Stern/Mobsters/Aliens/Santa wanted team X to win.
    I consider that argument… silly, and my apologies if it was not your intent to make such an argument.

    Nevertheless, I think it is possible for the officials to both have called the game generally well (fouls/free throws), and still screwed up a critical junctures. I don’t think it’s some grand conspiracy, and I don’t think those are mutually exclusive propositions.

    On the first part, calling the game well: For the regular season, the Celtics were the #9 team for personal fouls per game (22.14). The Lakers were #27 (19.41). In game 2, there were exactly 29 fouls called on either team. Now, it’s true that five of the Lakers fouls (and 10 Celtic FTA) came intentionally, so the “real” count was 25-29 and 41-16, but that is still not surprising. Most of the fouls on the Celtics in game two were interior fouls on the bigs, ergo shooting fouls. That just wasn’t the case for the Lakers, who fouled offensively, fouled on loose balls, fouled a long way from the basket, and just somehow generally avoided shooting fouls. Could some of the blocks have been called fouls? Yes, and on other nights they will be, but there weren’t any calls that were awfully missed. It was just a slightly tighter than average called game where the teams played almost exactly to form, and the Bynum/Gasol tandem were lucky to keep getting ball instead of arm.

    On the second, you can officiate for 46 minutes, 89 minutes or 26 outs, but if you blow a call in a high-leverage situation, none of the prior work matters. It was all just a prelude to your giant screw-up. Just ask Jim Joyce or Ed Hochuli.

  105. the key to game 3 is ray allen. ray and only ray can beat us. Laker poise would be a welcome change. Stop ray ray and destiny will be. fisher chasing ray is like watching pac man game., stop ray’s 3 is priority numbero uno. Ray forced kobe to his left… and the kobester was baffled. To be a witness to such a great game was a pleasure. We got creamed by ray with (7) 3 pointers in first half and we’re still only down hardly nothin’. We actually took the lead real quick.
    It was a ‘thing’ to watch. Once Phil woke up and we made pierce shoot from the baseline…he missed….he missed bad..real bad like off the side of the rim to the left bad… yeah yeah yeah ..big baby made some plays the crowd would eat up at home…but let’s face it. I could look in the mirror and accept being beaten by big baby or rasheed or perkins or pearce or …but I would not want to see that face if I dint tell yo brothers..boston plays dirty.. triple team ray allen if you have to. smoother him with laker love. Obviously pau was exhaused @ end of 3rd quarter but phil’s over there with mjbenga drooling to kick some boston ass for a minute or two. Kobe comes in game and phil substitutes just b4 tip off and kobe comes to bench and no high fives, just sulking. roll the dice phil. boston’s coach is out doin’ ya’ll. artest is tight.
    give him a copy of jonathan livingston seagull and tell him to read page one @ least. lakers are destined to win – artest put back- have fun ron… dis aint brooklyn bro mo’.

  106. Mark Overt Skilbred June 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Great post! I agree that these are the kind of games that are most fun to watch–Go Lakers!

    NBA STANDINGS FOR JUNE 8, 2010

    As we look forward to game 3 of the finals in Boston, it is safe to say that all of those doom-and-gloom predictions about the Lakers were undeserved. I’ve been a Lakers fan for 33 years and I haven’t seen the Lakers play better basketball than game 1 against the Celtics. All of you played like a team, with the hearts of true champions, and I am confident that you have what it takes to bring home Championship #16. So here is wishing you all a great and successful road trip in Boston, and we look forward to the Lakers closing out the Celtics here at home when you return!

    Mark Overt Skilbred