Not Bedtime for Rondo: Ray Allen shoots down L.A. with a Finals Record EIGHT Three-point ICBM’s, and Rajon Rondo launches Boston with a Triple-Double and a late Push of The Button, as the Celtics tear down the wall of Home Court Advantage, silence Staples, and book a fifth chapter to this 2010 Series of Star Wars
Game Two of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles started out with a Moment of Silence, and ended with several more.
Right before the game, Hall of Fame Bruins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton took over the spotlight together, and paid sincere tribute to the Late, Great John Wooden. Then the entire crowd paid their respects by observing a Moment of Silence. Shockingly, the Silence was NOT broken prematurely by an immature and jealous trojan from the “Laker” Band. At least on TV you couldn’t hear the likely attempt. If you think I’m underestimating the Class of trojans in the aftermath of Wooden’s passing, then I shouldn’t have deleted the letter that I received right after the story broke. It was from a trojan masquerading as a Bruin, but calling into question Wooden’s accomplishments and Integrity. Typical trojan sleaze, at the sleaziest time possible… and too cowardly to even admit that he’s a usc fan.
And speaking of usc fans, next time some trojan spews the nonsense that the L.A. Times is a Bruin front, ask him where the Front Page coverage of the Passing was. The time of death was 6:45pm, but my Morning paper relegated the event to the Sports page. Only THERE did you get to read how the Legendary Teacher transcended Sports and affected millions outside of Sports. Seems like 9 hours is enough lead time to re-set the Front Page. Maybe some other editions in other neighborhoods got an altered version, with a Wooden insert on “the cover.” There WAS a small blurb on the Front Page of the FOLLOWING day’s Times, directing readers to the Sports Page for more coverage. The overall content of the coverage was great, even from T.J, Simers — I just think that the news warranted Front Page exposure, the morning after it actually occurred.
At least Wooden’s Moment of Silence was actually broadcast live by ABC. Kareem and Walton spoke on the Air some more at Halftime, and UCLA was mentioned, in a very positive light, of course. Not bad for recruiting. It figures that even in Death, Wooden is helping the Program.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Pre-game Moment of Silence was foreshadowing of some more Staples Center Silence, as the Boston Celtics evened up the Series 1-1 with a 103-94 Game 2 Victory, sending a stunned Laker crowd home speechless. Boston now has Home Court Advantage, and could conceivably wrap up the whole Series without coming back to L.A. Games 3, 4, and 5 are back East, with Games 6 and 7, if necessary, back at Staples.
The Team with the 3 Home games in the middle is supposed to be at a disadvantage, but all they have to do is get “splits” on the Road (.500), and take 2 of 3 at Home (.667). The Team with 4 Home games needs to sweep (1.000) at least one of the back-to-back Home game sets, and if they don’t, they’d have to take 2 of 3 (.667) on the Road. Of course they could win by going .750 at Home, and .333 on the Road, and that’s exactly what should happen, but the Lakers will now have to win two in a row at Home — Games 6 & 7 — to pull that off, that way.
The Lakers are suddenly Series underdogs, due to some adjustments by Boston, two hot Celtics, and some questionable Zebra action:
The Celtics brought the energy that was missing in Game 1, so right from the start, their effort matched that of L.A. So the game was close, until Ray Allen caught fire. While the Celtics were closing out much more tenaciously on Laker shooters, Allen kept getting wide open looks. He hit 7 straight 3’s in the 1st Half, as the Celtics built a 14-point lead. Those 7 Three’s tied his own Record, shared with Scottie Pippen and Kenny Smith, for a WHOLE game. He ended the Half 7-for-8, and broke the Record later in the Game with his 8th (and final) Three of the night.
The 14-point lead didn’t last long, as the Lakers closed out the Half on a 7-0 run, with Kobe getting a steal and a 3 with 0.2 seconds left. The score was 44-38 at the Break, and the Lakers continued their run in the 2nd Half. They opened with a 5-0 spurt, and soon had the lead, at 57-56. The game stayed close the rest of the way, until the very end.
The only reason why the game was close at all was that the Referees took Kobe completely out of his rhythm with a bunch of bogus foul calls, seemingly designed to debunk the conspiracy of Stars getting all the calls at Home in the Postseason. He even got one on a complete Phantom foul, on a flop by Ray Allen. Kobe tallied only 21 Points and 6 Assists, and 5 of those Dimes came in the first 9 minutes of the game.
It was 72-72 at the start of the 4th Quarter, when Kobe got his 5th foul. He came back in with 6 minutes to go and got an immediate “and 1,” but he never got into a shooting rhythm, and his hands were completely tied on Defense. Down the stretch, when he is usually the deadliest closer the game has ever known, he missed several shots that could have kept the Lakers alive, and on Defense he was forced to allow a couple of easy buckets. And the Refs missed one call that also could have kept the Lakers alive… and they even used replay before deciding on the wrong call. With 1:59 left and the Lakers down only 3, Kevin Garnett — who had another lousy game — knocked a ball out of bounds, but they said that Pau Gasol did. After a Review, the call was upheld, despite all the Announcers declaring that it should have been overturned. Rondo hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to make it 95-90, and the Lakers never caught up.
With Garnett struggling again and with Paul Pierce having an unpredictably bad performance, Boston survived off of Ray Allen’s Record-Setting night. Allen finished with 32 Points, but only 5 after Intermission. It was Rajon Rondo who carried the Celts in the 2nd Half. With 19, 12, and 10 on the night, he was the difference-maker, and it was allowed to happen first because Kobe had to go cool off Ray Allen, and then later, Kobe was in foul trouble.
Rondo’s outside jumper with 1:50 left was the crucial shot, and he put the game away by making 2 of 4 Free Throws in the final minute. To the Lakers’ credit, they COMPETED hard until the final buzzer, unlike the Celtics in Game 1, who (understandably, but not admirably) threw in the towel before time had expired. The other bright spots for the Lakers were their Big Men and their Back-up Point Guard. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol definitely picked up the slack for Kobe, scoring 21 and 25 respectively. Gasol added 8 Boards, and ‘Drew got 6. Somehow, in 4 less minutes than Bynum played, Derek Fisher got 1 MORE Rebound, with 7, than Andrew did. But Fisher and Ron Artest eash socred only 6 Points, and Lamar Odom was a no-show with only 3 Points, so it was nice that Jordan Farmar brought some “O.” Farmar had two separate drives to the hoop for scores: The first one stopped a Laker streak of 10 straight missed shots, and the second one was a highlight-reel REVERSE lay-in. In the 4th Quarter, with the Lakers trailing by 3, Farmar took and sank a Three that tied it. He followed that up by diving for a loose ball to try to keep a possession alive. I think Farmar’s effort in Game 2 earned him more minutes in Boston this coming week. Of course, if Kobe stays off the pine, the Lakers shouldn’t really have to RELY on Jordan… But wouldn’t it be a great way to CELEBRATE the recent passing — To have a Bruin play a key role in bringing another Banner to L.A.?
John Wooden’s influence goes beyond Basketball, of course, and the good karma right now is guiding the Lady Bruins’ Softball Team. UCLA just made the World Series Finals, where they face Arizona in a Best-of-3 Series for all the marbles. The Bruins are wearing “JRW” black armbands, and that might be just enough mojo to bring home NCAA Championship #106. And then the Men’s Baseball Team will be next in line, also doing great in the Playoffs, so far, also wearing the armbands with an unstoppable pride.
Go Bruins. A couple of back-to-back National Titles this Month would be a most fitting tribute.