Archive for June 5th, 2010
The Boston Celtics fell 102-89 to the L.A. Lakers in the first game of the NBA Finals series at the Staples Center. The dominant team that had managed to make it pass the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Orlando Magic en route to their Eastern Conference Championship was nowhere to be seen Thursday night. It’s hard to say but the Celtics looked soft all around. And once again, after such a crush in game 1, fans out there had to ask themselves: Are the Celtics too old to just yet win another championship.
The L.A. Lakers have learned a valuable lesson from the title run back in 2008. The Celtics outshot, outpower and outrebound the Lakers. They were swift and precise. Most of all, the Celtics were as aggressive as a team can be, just enough to take the title in 6 games. And then there was the 131-92 blowout. That’s the biggest winning margin in any NBA Final’s game. You can trust me on this one: Kobe Bryant, Head Coach Phil Jackson and any truehearted Lakers fan still remembers this one.
For starters, Kobe Bryant was extremely effective in defense. At least he was able to keep the talented Rajon Rondo under the radar. And that’s a major problem Phil Jackson and his crew had to fix before the series started. Rondo is some sort of catalyst in the Celtics offensive end. If he is not moving the ball around, if he doesn’t have the freedom to attract two defenders and clear space for his other teammates, then thing don’t run as smoothly as they have for the Celtics.
For game No. 2, the Lakers are now a -6 point favorite on the spread. The NBA Finals betting odds are pointing to a clear favorite. As of press time the Lakers are a ML-330 favorite in the odds to win the series. If you are a die-hard fan and really think the the Celtics are going to turn things around in game number two, and that their 3 games at home streak should be what Doc Rivers and his boys really need, well, this might be the right time to take some action on the C’s. At Boston ML+330, it’s still one heck of a payout for a team that has proved that they can deal off the best teams in the nation. They have also squared off players like Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Dwight Howard. It will only seem fit that the great Kobe Bryant is up next.
Now, there are a couple of things that the Celtics need to clear up before they can actually expect to take this series. First, Rondo. He’s got the huge responsibility of guiding the offensive-defensive transition of the Celtics. He’s a talented point guard, a great distributor, and has the dribbling skills and the fast hands to penetrate into the paint and steal balls that have guided the Celtics all the way into the finals. But he was not there last Thursday.
Second: Ray Allen is got to find a way to guard Kobe Bryant without getting into so much foul trouble. He only scored 12 points and saw 27 minutes of action because of his inability to match Bryant’s movility.
Third: The Celtics lack of presence and toughness in the paint. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce kept pushing around the 7-footer Spaniard Pau Gasol. This time around, Gasol stood his ground and scored 23 points and recorded 14 rebounds. And there is even more issues here. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics 42-31. This was also the second time in the last 10 Celtics games that they have give out 100+ points.
If the Celtics cannot find a way around these issues, the Lakers are going to take their second consecutive NBA Championship Title with not much opposition. Just for the sake of the show, let’s really hope that the Celtics can get back in to their A-game.