Posts Tagged ‘NBA championship’

Ray Allen broke a NBA finals three point record by hitting on 8 of 11 from behind the arc.

I am not one to say “I told you so”, but I will. The Boston Celtics 103 to 94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers was a game that was a tale of two halves. The first half was about a shooting clinic that was put on by Ray Allen as the Celtics played tough, fundamental basketball and dominated the Lakers at times. The Lakers became the team that we have all become accustomed to seeing for stretches during games if not a whole game or games. L.A. played uninspired basketball on both ends of the court and could not figure out a way to slow down or stop Ray. The second half was a very close, grind it out, defensive type of game that was nip and tuck throughout the second half with the Celtics winning by nine as I had predicted earlier yesterday in my Sunday sports notes blog. In both halves the Celtics played how most people expected them to play in game one but didn’t for some odd reason. Rajon Rondo did what I expected him to do and played aggressive, smart basketball throughout the whole game and ended up with his fifth playoff triple-double. Rondo really came up big defensively in the last three minutes of the game by stealing the ball from Kobe twice and blocking one of his shots which ended up being a key moment in the fourth quarter. Ray Ray or as his mama named him, Ray Allen, played extremely well and set the tone in the first half by breaking an NBA finals three point record by hitting eight of eleven from behind the arc. Paul Pierce was pretty much ineffective as expected with Ron Artest guarding him most of the time last night. Kevin Garnett was not himself again. I don’t know whets going on with him except that maybe it’s time for him to hang it up after this year. Kendrick Perkins was okay at times when he wasn’t embarrassing himself by trying to do things with the ball that he had no business doing. On four separate occasions, Kendrick received the ball on the baseline two feet away from the three point line, and he would try to face up the opponent and drive to the basket. That isn’t your game Perkins, know your role and play it!

Kobe Bryant had a Kendrick Perkins moment of his own last night. He seemed to be content with not asserting himself into the game until the last two minutes of the first half. I understand that he wants to get his teammates involved early, but he still needs to be assertive throughout the whole game and not just when the Lakers are down by fifteen. Kobe may have Jesus like abilities on the court and would make one think that he can walk on water and perform miracles. But imitating LeBron James by not having his presence felt on the court as he did in the first half is inexcusable for a superstar in the NBA finals. I am not pinning the loss of the Lakers on Kobe, just stating what I saw and what the game film shows. Andrew Bynum played great last night and I have been impressed with him answering the bell and playing through injuries and standing toe to toe with the Celtics front line. Pau Gasol also played well at times but wasn’t consistently effective throughout the game. But we have become accustomed to seeing this from him. Pau is a good but not great player who has issues consistently playing tough and well during games. Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar were not much of a factor except for Artest on the defensive end. Odom and Farmar barely even saw the floor once they got routinely “handled” by one the Celtics. If the Lakers want to have this series comeback to Los Angeles, everything I have typed in this paragraph needs to be corrected or they could once again be walking off the court, watching the Celtics celebrate winning a NBA Championship in Boston.

One thing that is a little painful to watch is the horrible calls that the referees have made in both games in this series. Some of the calls in game two were some of the worst I have seen in a long time. On two calls late in the fourth quarter, replay should have been used to determine the proper call but wasn’t. Why even have instant replay and the ability to use it if the referees won’t use it? I would hate to see this series decided becasue of a pivotal call that tips the series in either the Celtics or Lakers favor. It seems like not only are the refs making bad calls on who knocked the ball out of bounds or if a block shot was goal tending or not. The refs have been calling some ticky tack fouls in both games that have put several players in foul trouble and have caused them to spend more time on the bench than on the court. Rasheed Wallace had four fouls by the middle of the third quarter and I don’t even remember him even checking into the game. I know the refs want to keep it clean, but let the players play and stop being so quick to blow the whistle. People are watching the NBA finals to watch the star players compete in the game, not the star players watching the game from the bench.

My intentions were to have this blog entry posted on Tuesday, but I decided to wait and think about this Lakers/Celtics series a little longer before I actually started stroking the keys on this one. I have also been busy writing football blogs for the sports website that I write for which one of my entries this week was the topic of someone’s article in a Denver magazine that gave me a little publicity. With all of that said, I am sorry for the delay if you were looking for this Lakers/Celtics blog. If you weren’t looking for it, then I guess there are no hard feelings. As I once said on twitter, football is my wife and basketball is my mistress. So today I am going to spend time talking about my mistress since I talk about my wife 24/7.

Tonight is the beginning of part two in what some Laker fans and the Lakers themselves consider being unfinished business from two years ago. This is the NBA Finals in which NBA fans and Laker fans around the world have been waiting for since the lost in 2008. Maybe only the media and Nike hyped LeBron vs. Kobe NBA Finals has been anticipated more. Back in 2008 the Lakers not only lost in the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, but they were manhandled the whole series and embarrassed in the closeout game. We all remember Kobe Bryant scowling at the podium after every loss agonizing over mistakes and missed shots that he and his team had during the loss. We also vividly remember the comments in which Bryant made after the blowout loss which ended the series. He commented on how soft the Lakers were and that he vowed that they would come back the following year a tougher team mentally and physically. During the Lakers championship run last year, the Lakers were never really tested mentally or physically until they reached the second round of the playoffs and had to go up against the Houston Rockets who had Ron Artest and Shane Battier on their roster and accepted the challenge of going toe to toe with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. After a grueling seven game series with the Rockets, Kobe commented on how he felt that the Rockets had really made the Lakers prove their toughness and the Lakers were ready to win it all after that series. The lakers succeeded in doing what Kobe said they were poised to do after the Houston series by defeating the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. But after the Houston series, no one really tested them from a physical standpoint the way the Rockets had done in the semi finals and the Celtics did in 2008.

Fast forward to today; the Lakers are coming into the NBA Finals for the third year in a row and as the defending NBA champions. Despite the impressive resume over the past three years, this is the series in which many people want to see whether or not the Lakers are a mini dynasty, or the product of a watered down, soft league. Unfortunately the general public has almost discredited last year’s championship since it came against a soft, young Orlando Magic team that wasn’t as talented as the Lakers nor the Celtics team that beat L.A. in 2008. People also remember the Lakers/Rockets series last year and remember how the Rockets were able to take that series to seven games without Yao Ming, which is something that shouldn’t have happened if the Lakers were so great of a team. Many people including Laker fans who watched last year’s Lakers/Rockets series, all say that if Yao wouldn’t have gotten hurt, the Lakers wouldn’t have won that series. So there is still a question as to if the Lakers can beat talented teams who play physical on both ends of the court.

To add to the Lakers new found toughness, they added Ron Artest during the offseason after Trevor Ariza left for Houston. The Lakers acquired Artest not just for the playoffs, but to win a second consecutive NBA championship. He has had his ups and downs during the season and during the playoffs, but as of late he has been playing great ball. Ron brings a level of toughness that he hasn’t shown yet in L.A. this year, although it is expected to come out in this series against Boston. The Celtics are a team that plays basketball the way it used to be played back when most people in their thirties and older were growing up. The NBA is an extremely soft league comapred to what it uesd to be back in the 80’s and 90’s. Boston plays physical, tough, and aggressive and is long and athletic which are all things that have bothered the Lakers in the past. Phil Jackson has done what he always does before every playoff series by commenting on what he feels is a disadvantage to his team. He called out the Celtics as to how they play defense and how Kevin Garnett defends players. Before the last series he singled out Steve Nash by saying how he felt that Steve carried and palmed the ball at times. Phil does these things to plant a seed in to the official’s heads so that they will look for it during games. Does it work? Who knows, bottom-line is that the Lakers still have to execute on both ends of the court. Looking for calls or complaining about how the Celtics play defense wont get them their second ring in three years.

After the Lakers advanced to the 2010 NBA Finals I predicted that the Celtics would beat the Lakers in seven games. I wavered during the week thinking that the Lakers may actually pull it off, but I am going to stick with the Celtics in seven. Kobe has always had trouble against the Celtics and if Kobe goes, so goes the Lakers. Rarely does anyone on the Lakers step up and perform on the big stage when Kobe is not his usual self due to tough defense or not playing well. In addition to that, I just can’t logically see how the Lakers can consistently win key matchups during this series. Sorry Laker fans, if I am wrong I will admit to it. If you feel that Iam wrong please comment as to why via on this blog site or on my twitter page which is linked below.

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