Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NBA Finals: Boston Celtics (1-0) @ Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) - Game 2

While the Boston Celtics still shot 50% to the Lakers' 44%, Los Angeles learned from their mistakes in Game 1 and came out with a much stronger and fluent effort in Game 2.

Kobe Bryant & Pau Gasol both scored 22 points and powered the purple and gold titans, hitting clutch shots down the stretch in what became a do-or-die finale in the STAPLES Center. Several lead changes, including a 3 point lead at one point by LA, and a dramatic finish made this one an instant classic.

Paul Pierce led Boston's charge and seemed to hit the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer on the right wing after a hectic possession by Boston that narrowly escaped a turnover. After a timeout, the Lakers threw the ball to Steve Nash, who drained a responsive 3 of his own, evening the score at 92 in the highly contested showdown.

Instead of calling a timeout of their own, the Celtics raced the ball up court, threw the ball inside and then dished it back out to Kevin Garnett, who raised his arms and drained a mid-range jump shot, leaving scarce response time for the Lakers, who immediately called their last timeout.

Anxious, Boston, not wanting to lose the game, guarded the three-point line. "Overtime or victory" was the mantra in Kevin Garnett's mind as he ran out to guard the perimeter. Reading the defense, Steve Nash threw the ball into Dwight Howard, who elevated like Superman, with the intent of throwing it down over Roy Hibbert. But the ex-Pacer had other plans and as Howard attempted his flashy dunk, Hibbert extended an arm, somehow swatting the ball out of Howard's hands in mid-air. The ball fumbled, fell into Rondo's hands and the buzzer sounded, 94-92, as the Celtics went up 2-0.

For Los Angeles, this intense defeat may spell the end for their championship hopes because the next three games will be played in Boston. The Celtics only need to win 2 of them before the series shifts back to Los Angeles for a faraway Game 6.

This win reveals the intent Boston had since the genesis of this series, to utilize the 2-3-2 format as their only answer to LA's home-court advantage. The victory was achieved by stellar play once again by Josh Howard, who didn't have 29, but had enough, knocking down 3's, along with Kenyon Martin who spent most of Game 1 on the bench. Tonight, every Boston Celtic, including Rajon Rondo and Kevin Martin, hit a clutch shot that insured whatever lead Boston had throughout this competitive game.

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