The last time the Lakers departed for the middle three road games in the NBA Finals tied at 1-1 *in a Finals they won, they swept the next three to win 4-1. That was against the Philadelphia 76ers, this is the Boston Celtics.
By losing Game 2 at home, the Lakers have relinquished home court advantage and placed themselves in the same precarious position as 2008 – win two games at TD Banknorth Garden. Granted, we’re not talking games 6 and 7 down 3-2, but no one wants to see the Lake Show return home down in this series trailing by the same margin.
As much of a dream as Game 1 may have been for us, Game 2 was just as much of a nightmare. Rajon Rondo systematically dismantled the Lakers’ defense with his first NBA Finals triple double (19 pts, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), even doing what Kobe couldn’t by closing the game out late in the fourth. He controlled the entire flow of the game by executing fast break opportunities with surgical precision.
The man Rondo continuously found on the break was none other than, old reliable, Ray Allen, who reprised his role as Jesus Shuttlesworth to show us all that he’s still got game. Allen sucked the air out of the Staples Center by going 7 for 8 from three-point range in the first half, finishing the game 8 of 11, setting an NBA Finals single-game record for threes in the process.
While Allen’s damage was largely contained in the second half, being held to just five points, by then, the Celtics had already figured out how they were going to win the game and perhaps, the series.
The Lakers just had no answer for Rondo in transition, but more so than poor transition defense being the culprit, as Assistant Coach Frank Hamblen pointed out to ESPN’s Doris Burke during halftime, the impetus was more so our inept offensive execution. The Lakers took bad shot after bad shot (5-22 from deep), failing to move the ball on too many possessions, leading to easy rebounds and run-out opportunities for Boston.
This game however, was not solely lost through the running game. The Lakers blew one defensive assignment after another and were also handily out-rebounded 44-38 (13-10 offensive) by the C’s, 12 of which as aforementioned, belonged to Rondo. If the Lakers are going to give up four offensive boards to the smallest guy on the court without much resistance, then brown smog will not be the only dark cloud hanging over Los Angeles in a little over a week.
NEXT: Big Waste