Heroes and Goats from Game Two of the NBA Finals
What a strange game. The Lakers looked like they were comatose, or scared, or something, for about the first three quarters, then suddenly they come to life and the Celtics go into one of those tortoise shell routines we've seen them do before in the postseason. Kickin', stumblin', fumblin'... generally treating the basketball like it was stolen merchandise. Not a championship act.
This is about the second or third game in these playoffs where the Celtics should have won easily but nearly lost because they couldn't find any reliable inside scoring, or anyone who was willing to step up and take command down the stretch. Thus they cannot seem to close games efficiently. That is a trait that might hurt them in LA. Anyway, they got a little lucky tonight. But right now I'm just disgusted with Kevin Garnett. Pau Gasol dunks right on top of his grille in the first quarter and he responds with what exactly? Another night of lame jump shooting? Come one Dude!! Where's your manhood?
There, I wrote my peace, now here are the Win Contribution numbers from Game Two of the 2008 NBA Finals (negative Win Contributions are in red):
Total Win Contribution (the sum x 5 + 43.5): 41.9
Actual Team Win Score: 41.5
Total Win Contribution: 56.2
Actual Team Win Score: 56.4
Heroes from Game 2
1. The P Posse
Pierce, Posey, and Powe. Those three dominated the game. Pierce has been excellent all series, and if he carries it to Los Angeles, the Celtics will take at least one game out West. Posey has been hot and cold and last night he was hot. Powe has been hot, but Doc Rivers has refused to acknowledge his existence. He's fortunate he found his name on the roster last night, because Powe changed the game.
2. Pau Gasol
He humiliated Kevin Garnett. He's showing Garnett the type of take it to the basket aggressiveness Garnett ought to be showing him. Garnett's response: more frickin' jump shots. I'm beginning to believe Garnett would essentially be the same player if he were 6'7'' because he refuses to take any advantage of his length. Why would you shoot from the perimeter when you can literally play above everyone else? Its the "Be like Mike" mentality run amok. Its okay to be tall and dominate Kevin.
3. Rajon Rondo
This series turned around at halftime of Game One when Rajon Rondo stopped being dominated by Derek Fisher and started dominating him. Rondo whooped the veteran in the second half of Game One and it was more of the same tonight.
4. Kobe Bryant
Kobe found himself and this time clearly bested Ray Allen, for one of the few times in their career matchups. He had to shake off some phantom fouls the refs were calling on him (haven't those refs ever heard of he superstar double standard in the NBA?). He came to life, and that bodes well for LA in LA.
The Radman has been The Man for the Lakers so far in this series, but Mr. Philipo is too Zenned out to realize it. Once again he got his foreigners wrong, as he played Vujacic way too many minutes and the Radman too few. At least he did give Rad at least 30+ tonight, unlike Gamne One, and as a result Radman was able to put up a +1.000 Win Contribution. Big night for him.
6. Doc Rivers
Sort of. He finally gave playing time to Leon Powe, which we've been calling for here at Bucks Diary since the Detroit series. But, still, he needs to give him much more. Powe has been spectacular, and he only gets 15 minutes? That's gotta change, Glenn!
Goats of Game Two
1. The Lakers Defense
What defense? A shorthand, dirty (but pretty much effective) way to assess defensive effort is to look at the other team's assist totals. If they're 20 or below, you've put in a nice defensive effort. If they're plus 25, you haven't. If they're +30 you didn't even try. The Celtics registered 31 assists last night. That's three consecutive poor defensive halves for the Lakers. Maybe the alleged defensive improvement we thought we were seeing from the Lakers after the San Antonio series was just the Spurs offensive incompetence. It sure looks like it thus far. I mean, the Celtics are an okay offensive team, but not a 56+ Win Score team. They win with defense, with some offense mixed in. Last night the Lakers made them look like the Suns.
Time to walk up and start coaching and stop thinking about your next clever soundbite. Phil's having a bad series. He's not recognizing which Lakers are contributing and which ones aren't. Last night he needed to play Radmanovic and Farmar more, and Odom, Walton, Vujacic, and Fisher much less.
3. Kevin Garnett
I've been over this ad nauseum, but why is a 7 footer with his athletic ability shooting 20 foot jump shots? The central irony of his game is he'd be a better player if he didn't have a good jump shot because it (presumably) would have forced him to develop a post up game when he was younger. Right now he has ZERO post-up game, and for a guy with his height and ability that's a crime. He's still a great player, one of the better all-time, but with his ability he should be stepping up to one of the BEST all-time and I'm not seeing it yet.
4. Sasha Vujacic
Maybe he'll find himself in LA. He's just gotten run over in Beantown. Two terrible games.
5. Lamar Odom
If Garnett is frustrating, what is Odom? At least Garnett produces every night. Tonight Garnett put up just below average numbers, and for him that's a terrible game. At this point, that would be a great game for Odom.
Concluding thoughts on a strange game
The Lakers served notice at the end that this series isn't quite over yet. But they're letting it slip away. I'll have the new odds out by morning, but basically they're going to say that the Lakers have an uphill fight. Duh, right? Well, I think they probably could have won either of the first two games had they played anywhere near Laker basketball.
Look for a blowout Laker win in Game Three. Its a guaranteed Laker win, because the Celtics will take that game off. Games Four and Five will be closer.
Oh, and the Celtics better not expect to get the same favorable treatment from the refs. Those bumps will be shooting fouls in LA, mark my words.