Is it time to panic? Not quite. For as bad as the Lakers played, they battled back to lead by three with five minutes to go after being down by as many as 13 in the first half. With only one day off as well, there is no time to sulk over one game.
As Kobe Bryant stated before the commencement of this year’s NBA Finals, “we’ll see how much we’ve grown and matured”. The Lakers’ last trip to TD Banknorth Garden in the playoffs could not have spelled a more heart-breaking result than the 39-point thrashing we all endured and have never gotten over.
We may have failed to protect our home floor, but all that means is, we must give the Celtics the same gift over this next week of games. One thing to consider is that Boston went a relatively mediocre 24-17 at home during the regular season and lost many double digit leads in the fourth quarter en route to that mark.
It’s clear that we clearly have a tremendous advantage on all affairs involving the paint so it is critical that our back court, starters and bench included, execute competently on the offensive end and play defense with disciplined focus. Kobe is known to be one of the best, if not the best, bounce back players in the game today so there is no doubt that he will come out in Game 3 and look to set the tone early in what will be the most hostile environment he will ever have played.
Both games 1 and 2 were won via the boards and the hustle game. While it was the Lakers who injected their hearts and will into Game 1, the Celtics did the same in Game 2, winning the majority of 50-50 plays and controlling the glass. These teams are so evenly matched that it’s going to be those dirty little things that will go the longest way in determining the 2010 NBA champions.
Lamar Odom is going to be the key on the road. If he is going to allow Big Baby to outplay him, the Lakers could potentially be in a world of trouble. LO is the biggest mismatch that we have out on the floor and he has to take it upon himself to exploit the advantage. Eight points and 10 fouls in two games is unacceptable by any standard.
There’s really no mystery Laker fans, defense and rebounding is how the series is going to be won. Our effort and attention to detail will have to be at an all-time high from here on out as the series has become a best of five, with three to be played in Boston.
We will see how much we’ve grown – or not.