JUN 6| SUN |NBA FINALS, GAME 2| (4) Celtics vs. (1) Lakers : LAL lead 1-0
The Lakers, on quest for revenge, took care of the rival Celtics 102-89.
But Game 2 is uber important for the Lakers as they need to protect home floor.
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From the start of Game 1, the Lakers imposed their will.
Notably Ron Artest and Paul Pierce got into a tussle that look like a high school regional wrestling match.
But the Lakers were show in a mere 45 seconds, that they were not the same team that was embarrassed in the 2008 Finals.
“All that matters now is winning,” he said. “(Game 2’s) pivotal because it’s just the next one. It’s really no more or less to me.” — Kobe on the importance of Game 2.
Pau’s comment on KG’s lack of explosiveness was true, but you don’t want to risk fueling any fire the Celtics may try to have for Game 2. So as long as Gasol understands this and is ready for the possible challenge then I welcome it.
Here are the keys for the game:
KEYS FOR THE GAME:
The Lakers will have to continue to press the Celtics first; not the other way around. The Celtics may not be as talented as the Lakers, but they will fight for every possession on the defensive. The Lakers will not only have to match that intensity, but they must overpower it. There should never be a line of complacency when battling a rival team with the stakes as high as it is.
Outrebounding is key in every game for Los Angeles. Generally when they outrebound a team and minimize their turnovers, good things happen for the defending champs.
But what must be monitored are the fouls. The Lakers don’t want to get into foul trouble and not give their defense a chance to get involved in the game.
The Tiny Archibald look-alike and game-alike will try to have a much better performance in Game 2. But with Kobe Bryant intent on stopping him, the Lakers should be fine. In fact, Derek’s true form (“Finals Man” as I like to call him) did a terrific job on Rondo, himself. Aside from the foul trouble, he impeded Rajon’s passing lanes and stopped his usually penetration.
Another great thing to see was the Laker bigs stopping each time he even made it to the basket. Making him believe he had a clear shot before easily rejecting it.
Pau and Bynum were great defensively against the Celtics front court. But Lamar played so well on D, that I didn’t realize that he had 1 point and 5 fouls throughout much of the game. That’s the effort that we need to see from the Lakers front in order to win this series.
The Revenge of Pau & Ron-Ron’s Big Opportunity
It is clear that Pau doesn’t like being called a softy as much as Mark Walhberg loathes his former alias Marky Mark. The proof was in the pudding as he had a monster Game 1, 23 points 14 rebounds and 3 blocks. Gasol single-handedly outrebounded the Celtics frontcourt. Ron also showed why he was acquired in the offseason. Forcing Pierce out of his game.
Defense…and More Defense
Defense is always needed..much like more cowbell (an ode to a great SNL skit). As long as the Lakers play with their hearts on the line and their pride on the table, they’ll win Game 2. There are no stats to look at to find those intangibles: diving for loose balls, fighting for position, boxing out..
Protect Home Floor and Move on
As great as Game 1 was for the Lakers, I know very well that it means nothing to win the first game if you’re gonna lose the second. In ’08, Los Angeles didn’t protect the home floor and lost Game 4 in what looked initially to be a blowout. So this year the payback hasn’t even officially started until the Lakers win Game 2. Then they must also move on immediately and get ready for the tough road work ahead.
The Legend of Kobe Bryant
Kobe has been playing amazingly. Driven by his own motivation to win and his knowledge of history. Understanding that this is not only the official stamp needed for his legacy, but for the Lakers franchise as well. The epitome of his focus is the clip showed during the game as he tuned out everyone from existence (including the funny Chris Rock) during his time on the bench.
(C) A. Bynum
(PF) P. Gasol
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher
X-Factor: The Heart of the Lakers. As cliche’ as it seems.
(C) K. Perkins
(PF) K. Garnett
(SF) P. Pierce
(SG) R. Allen
(PG) R. Rondo
Check out the “Re-Rap” of Game 1 – “We’re up One!”