2008 NBA Champions: Boston Celtics

What a night for the Celtics. You could not have imagined a victory more dominant or more emotional than the Celtics’ 131-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday to win the NBA Championship. The Celtics dominated every facet of the game, out-rebounding the Lakers 48 to 29 and forcing 19 turnovers. The Big 3 had their greatest performance of the year. Kevin Garnett returned to regular season form with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Paul Pierce may not have had one of his greatest shooting performance (4 of 13 from the field), but he still ended with 18 points and 10 assists. Ray Allen completed his dominating Finals with 7 three pointers and 26 points, setting an NBA record of 22 three pointers made in an NBA Finals’ series. Rajon Rondo played the best game of his career, taking the ball to the hoop and forcing the Lakers to guard him. He had 21 points (8 of 20 from the field), 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals. The Celtics best bench player, James Posey, had 11 points, making all four of his shots including three 3 pointers, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. That is just on the offensive end.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the 2008 NBA season, everyone on the court, in the Garden, and in the NBA had learned a valuable lesson from these NBA Finals: Defense wins championships. The Celtics just overpowered the Lakers defensively and Kobe looked lost the entire series. The Lakers did score 92 points in the game, but that was only with a 32 point fourth quarter when the Celtics were no longer focusing on defense, but rather the seconds remaining in the game. Boston’s defense shined through in the first half where they held the Lakers to 35 points (15 in the second quarter), 30% shooting, and had a halftime lead of 23 points. The rest of the game was just one big party for Boston fans. Continue reading “2008 NBA Champions: Boston Celtics”

NBA Finals: Game 5

In an up-and-down game which had the Lakers blow a 19-point first half lead, Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson made the necessary moves to propel his team into a season-saving win. Criticized after Game 4 for not playing starting point guard Derek Fisher and power forward Lamar Odom enough in the fourth quarter, Jackson waisted no time inserting Fisher and Odom into the lineup in Game 5 as they played the final 6-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. Odom played 41 minutes, scoring 20 points, making eight of ten shots, and grabbing eleven rebounds. Fisher played 35 minutes and scored 15 points, including making a couple critical free throws down the stretch. While Jackson made the necessary moves to win, the Celtics’ players seemed unable to get the job done.

Kevin Garnett had his worst game of the postseason as he picked up fouls early and was visibly tired throughout the game. The most telling possession for KG during the game occurred with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Down by 5, Eddie House fired up a desperate 3-pointer from the corner, but missed badly as the ball launched off the bottom of the rim and into the air. As Celtic and Laker players madly converged under the ball, Garnett stood at the foul line, watching the scrum and refusing to get involved in the most important rebound of the game. KG played only 33 minutes and during that time played pretty well, scoring 13 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, but he made only 1 of 4 free throws in the final minutes of the game, costing the Celtics valuable points. While Paul Pierce scrapped for a every loose ball and fought furiously against double and triple teams, KG sat on the sideline, reduced to a mere cheerleader. Pierce played the entire game and scored 38 monster points for Boston, including making 16 of 19 free throws. Continue reading “NBA Finals: Game 5”

NBA Finals: Game 4

Wow. Really Wow. If you haven’t heard about the Celtics extraordinary comeback last night, you’re living under a rock. Down 21 after the first quarter and 18 at half time, the Celtics held the Lakers to 33 points throughout the entire second half to pull off one of, if not, the greatest comebacks in the history of the NBA Finals. After looking like an old, slow group of washed up veterans in the first half, Boston came out with intense defense that stopped Los Angeles right in their tracks. As the Lakers missed shot after shot, the Celtics became aggressive on the offensive end of the floor, drawing fouls, and making free throws.

After the first two quarters were completed, a Lakers’ victory was a forgone conclusion, but the Celtics refused to give up and it eventually paid off. Point by point, they chipped away at the Lakers’ lead until they were within two points by the end of the third quarter. When the fourth quarter rolled around, LA looked out of gas as they weakly strolled up and down the court, playing lazy defense and running miserable offensive possessions. On the few plays that the Lakers were able to get a good shot from they field, they missed. Role players such as Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, and Game 3 hero Sashs Vujacic shot a combined 3 of 18 from the field. Kobe continued to struggle on offense as Ray Allen and Paul Pierce shut him down the entire night. He ended up making only 6 of his 19 shots, scoring 17 points and dishing out 10 assists. Continue reading “NBA Finals: Game 4”