The Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals looked lopsided after Game 1. But, the NBA Finals needed a Lakers-Celtics classic to redeem an often short postseason. Yet, given how Boston underperformed on Thursday, and how Los Angeles couldn’t be beaten at the Staples Center, it looked like a tough task. If the Celtics went down 2-0, they could still hold serve at the Garden to get back in it, but they would still need to win in LA. However, they actually got that out of the way early, as the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals now looks like a series again.
Boston’s 103-94 win finally knocked home court advantage away from Los Angeles, for the first time in this postseason. Now that they are in uncharted territory, and have to go on the road for Game 3, the defending champions face real adversity for the first time.
From the start, the Lakers-Celtics Game 2 was far different than the NBA Finals opener. For one thing, the Eastern Conference champions actually held a lead. For another, Ray Allen put on a historic shooting spree, tying a Finals record for three-pointers in just one half. His seven threes’ put the Celtics up by six at the half, although it wouldn’t take long for the Lakers to respond.
Kobe Bryant helped put the Lakers back up, although he was playing with foul trouble throughout. As such, the complexion of the Lakers-Celtics Game 2 changed, since he couldn’t be as aggressive as usual in the end. However, Los Angeles still looked likely to survive, going up 90-87 late.
But the NBA Finals momentum shifted thanks to Rajon Rondo, who scored eight points in a decisive run. Allen got a record eight three-pointers to dominate the early going, but clutch time was Rondo’s moment. With that, Boston got the much needed split they needed in L.A., which the Thunder, Jazz and Suns before them could not get.
Thanks to the Lakers-Celtics Game 2, the NBA Finals may now be the long series everyone projected at the start. Now the Celtics carry momentum and home court, having rallied back yet again from long odds. With three games in Boston, they can take the series lead going back to L.A., or finish things altogether. Paul Pierce, for one, was caught saying in the final minute that he thinks they’re not going back to L.A.
The NBA Finals probably won’t end in Boston, one way or the other. The Celtics can at least take a 3-2 lead, and only need to win once at the Staples Center to clinch. After last night, this may not be the tall order it was for much of the playoffs.
The Lakers-Celtics showdown now shifts gears, momentum and locations, for Game 3 in Boston tomorrow night at 9 pm.
CBS News- “LA Lakers Get Stapled by Celtics’ Rondo and Allen”
Slam Online- “Paul Pierce: We Ain’t Comin Back to L.A.”