Celtics 103, Lakers 94: Finals Game 2 Diary

60664509Lakers – Celtics Gameday Page
After an impressive 101-89 Game 1 victory, the Lakers looked to hold home court heading to Boston for Games 3-5. We were there to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Inactives
Lakers: Adam Morrison
Celtics: Tony Gaffney

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Game 2 Video Preview
Assistant coach Frank Hamblen joined us to preview Game 2 against Boston, explaining why he expects a much better all-around effort from the Celtics, citing the importance of again controlling the glass, detailing how the Lakers want to better move the basketball on offense and more. CLICK HERE to watch.

Coaches Pregame Pressers
Phil Jackson spent the initial moments of his press conference discussing Tex Winter’s receiving of the NBA Coaches Association 2010 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award along with Dr. Jack Ramsey. “It’s heartwarming to see two guys you looked up to as a coach receive an award,” he said. Jackson also said he expected Game 2 to be much tighter than Game 1 down the stretch.

60664191First Quarter
8:35 The Lakers looked terrific in the first two minutes, forcing tough Celtics’ shots while scoring seven straight points to take a 7-2 lead. It was then good news, bad news for Boston as a 6-0 run featured two straight transition layups, but Garnett was called for his second personal foul.

4:38 Wasn’t this supposed to be a tough, grind-it-out defensive battle? Instead, offensive execution was the story of the opening minutes, as both teams checked in at over 60 percent from the field. Ray Allen carried Boston by making 4-of-5 shots for 10 points (including two threes), while Bynum and Gasol combined to make 5-of-6 shots for 12 total points in an 19-18 Lakers’ lead.

0:27.7 In Game 1, the Lakers noticeably missed the presence of Lamar Odom, who picked up three fouls off the bench almost immediately, getting called for a charge on Pierce for his third with 10:20 left in the second. Unfortunately for L.A., Odom last only three minutes in the first quarter before picking up his third yet again, fouling Pierce twice on defense and then – again – getting called for a charge of Pierce at the other end. Meanwhile, the Celtics went on a 9-2 run and smiled as the Lakers got away from running their offense crisply to close the quarter up 29-22.

60664238Second Quarter
9:52 While Odom’s output off the bench hurt L.A. for the second straight game, quick offense from Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown while attacking the hoop produced a 4-0 run. However, Farmar and Brown followed up by taking deep perimeter jumpers, and Boston used the second miss to get Allen a wide-open three in transition, which swished through to put the Celtics up 36-26. While L.A.’s offense had completely stalled, worse was the nine fastbreak points for Boston after just five in all of Game 1.

6:53 Time for the proverbial NBA JAM “He’s on fire!” reference. Allen continued to punish the Lakers in a big way, nailing his fifth three in as many attempts after Brown sagged off Allen to help on non-offensive threat Kendrick Perkins. As L.A. continued to struggle at the other end, Boston built its lead up to 14 points at 42-28.

3:47 After making just one of his first seven shots, Bryant hit a deep jumper, missed pull-up three, stole an outlet pass to draw two free throws and finally hit a pull-up jumper. Clearly, he was trying to assert his will offensively after L.A. struggled considerably early despite his five first quarter assists. But moments later, it was more bad news for the Lakers as Allen flopped to draw Bryant’s third personal, about which the fans were furious. To rub it in, Allen hit his seventh three – tying an NBA Finals record – in seven attempts to reach 27 first half points.

0:02.7 After a really poor all-around first half, L.A. got a lifeline as in-the-game-only-because-of-three-fouls-on-Perkins-and-Garnett Shelden Williams threw away a rebound with four seconds remaining to a crashing-in Bryant near midcourt. Kobe took a step, pulled up and drained a deep three to make it just a six-point Celtics lead (54-48) at the break. Seven Allen threes, foul trouble for Kobe and Odom, lack of Gasol touches and poor shooting, but just a six-point deficit? L.A. would certainly take it.

60664232Third Quarter
10:02 It was almost as if halftime didn’t exist as the Lakers rolled off an immediate 9-2 run to build on the 7-0 spurt that closed the half (16-2 total). Back-to-back hoops from Bryant and Gasol followed a corner three and 1-of-2 free throws from both Artest and Bynum to do the damage.

6:50 One player who’d been terrific throughout and a huge matchup problem for Boston was Bynum. He used his size advantage inside first for an alley-oop dunk from Gasol, then drew KG’s fourth foul (he’d drawn No. 4 on Perkins earlier) before hitting both free throws to reach 16 points, putting L.A. up 63-61.

3:28 Allen’s eighth three made him the sole holder of a new NBA Finals record, but Fisher’s pull-up J in transition tied the score at 68 heading into a time out.

0:36.7 Fittingly, Gasol hit the final shot of a terrific individual third quarter in which he scored 10 points to reach a team-high 24, but Boston played the Lakers even after L.A.’s initial burst, which produced a 72-all tie heading into what promised to be a terrific fourth quarter.

60663918Fourth Quarter
11:15 Well, that wasn’t what L.A. had in mind. Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul on a charge drawn by Big Baby, but Phil Jackson decided to trust him enough to leave him in.

9:12 A Vujacic three and Bynum dunk erased Boston’s brief four-point lead, but just-checked-in Lil’ Nate Robinson pulled up for a three, then scored off a Tony Allen steal to give Boston an 83-80 lead.

6:16 Bynum somehow caught a lobbed pass from Odom between two defenders and promptly laid the ball in to match a playoff career-high with 21 points, not to mention his playoff career high seven blocks and six rebounds, putting the Lakers up two, as the teams traded blows.

1:12 Then things went drier than the Sahara for L.A., who had not scored a single point in over four minutes. Bryant’s jumper with 5:21 remaining was literally the team’s only bucket of that stretch, as Boston reeled off a 11-0 run over that period to take a commanding 98-90 lead.

0:47.1 Bryant finally stopped the drought with a deep three before Rondo made 1-of-2 free throws, but Kobe turned the ball over on the next possession as Rondo poked it away from behind. Bynum then fouled Rondo at the other end, and he hit 1-of-2 again to make it a 100-93 lead with 33 seconds left.

0:00 That would be all for the Lakers, who’d lose their first home playoff game of the 2010 campaign, 103-94. Stay tuned for postgame coverage on Lakers.com.