Missing the point of Celtics-Lakers Game 2
Posted by sanityinjection on June 9, 2008
Reading the various sports columns today analyzing the Boston Celtics’ Game 2 win over the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals, it strikes me that most of them are missing the point. So far the columns I’ve read fall into one of the following categories: 1) Paul Pierce had a great game, 2) The heartwarming story of Leon Powe, 3) Rajon Rondo had a great game, 4) The Lakers really poured it on at the end and nearly pulled off the win.
Without denying any of the above, what is missing from all this genius analysis is something that should have been obvious to anyone who actually watched the game or even listened to the TV commentators covering it. The main point of Game 2 was this: The Lakers’ total, inexplicable failure to play anything resembling defense. For most of the game, the Celtics were practically scoring at will. On drive after drive, the Lakers made no attempt to obstruct the Celtics’ shots, and when they did, it was usually with a clumsy foul. The Celtics, on the other hand, played very good defense for three quarters, then went to sleep early.
Given how close the game was at the very end, the conclusion is clear: Had the Lakers played even marginally better defense, by just attempting to contest shots, they would have won this game on the road and the series would be tied 1-1 heading back to LA. Somebody needs to point this out to Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson, who is whining that the officials wouldn’t call fouls on the Celtics. Phil, your team didn’t need to hit more foul shots to win the game (both teams scored over 100 points in the game, considered high scoring in the playoffs.) They just needed to do what high school and college teams are taught to do every day – defend the hoop. The Lakers have no one to blame for this loss except themselves – and the Celtics should consider themselves lucky to have escaped with a win.