HDLR Tonight; Celtics Take Game 1

Since it’s been a few days, I’ll open up the HDLR for tonight’s game against the Royals. I hope that interested people can drop by. Lots of digital leather recliners available.

After getting home from the emergency room last night and settling GLG in with some pillows, medicine, candy, and love, I got to watch the fourth quarter of the Celtics-Lakers game. I was impressed with how well the Celtics clamped down defensively in the second half, not for the first time this playoffs. The Green allowed only 37 second-half points Pierce did an excellent job on Kobe, all the more impressive considering his somewhat sprained knee. For the game, Kobe shot 9-26. While KG hit only one shot while I was watching–a blistering put-back dunk that had me shouting almost as loud as Giambi’s walk-off homer did earlier in the day–he was outstanding defensively, contesting shots all around the lane. A few additional points on Game 1:

There is no way the Lakers will win the series getting out-rebounded by 13 (46-33). That Ray Allen had as many rebounds as the Lakers’ leading rebounder Pau Gasol (eight) is a sure sign that the Celtics outworked and out-hustled the Lakers.

Ray Allen is back. Although he only shot 5-13, he hit 2-6 3’s and was just excellent on the boards, some of which were effectively loose balls ending up as statistical long rebounds.

Rajon Rondo is maturing at the right time. His minimizing the turnovers (2) and effectively distributing the ball (7 assists) is nothing short of essential for the Celtics’ chances. By the way, and not the first time I’ve said it, Sam Cassell was a very good pick-up for the Celtics. He’s won titles before, can shoot and handle the ball well, and provides back-court stability off the bench. 8 points in 13 minutes? Impressive.

While KG is the team’s unquestioned defensive leader and has much of the offense run through him, the offensive leader continues to be Paul Pierce. His two 3’s upon returning from being carried off the court with a knee sprain were huge, and his ability to do it inside and outside make him a tough match-up for anyone guarding him, and opens up the floor for others. As a side note, KG relied too heavily on the jumper in the fourth, and should have taken the ball to the rack for easier baskets and potential fouls on the talented but slower Gasol.

The stat line wasn’t full, but PJ Brown was crucial to the victory, grabbing six rebounds and providing lots of hustle on both ends of the floor. He and Cassell helped the Celtics’ bench outplay their Lakers counterparts, no small component of the Finals.

Two days off between Games 1 and 2 will provide the Celtics–who have now played 21 playoff games–with an extra day off, and give Pierce an extra day to rest his knee. Look, however, for the Lakers to respond with better hustle effort and better board work, something Phil Jackson both harps on and knows is vital to his team’s chances for winning the Finals.

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Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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