Sunday night’s Game 2 was looking to become a boring blowout, as the Celtics were up on the Lakers by 22 after three quarters of play. But before we had a chance to flip over to the “Family Guy” repeat on Channel 11, Kobe & crew stormed back, coming to within four with 20 seconds left. But they couldn’t close the deal, and L.A. fell to Boston 108-102.
Now the Lake Show returns to Staples Center with an 0-2 series deficit - all thanks to some foul play & a wealthy night from a Powe player.
When the clock finally hit zero at TD Banknorth Garden, the Celts had taken 38 trips to the line, while the Lakers ventured up only 10 times. At one point in the 3rd quarter, the foul shot differential was 26-2. Kobe even got himself a nice ‘T’ after sharing a few quick post-basket words with the ref.
When asked about the Game 2 officiating, Vladimir Radmanovic gave the most sensible answer - “No comment.” (And no comment means no fines from David Stern.)
L.A.’s poor play wasn’t helped by Leon Powe, the Boston benchwarmer who pitched in 21 points for the victorious Celtics. In just 7 minutes of play in the 2nd quarter, Powe registered 8 points while shooting what seemed like just as many free throws.
What might have inspired Powe’s big night was an ABC (OK, technically ESPN) halftime feature on Leon, which described the player’s rough and sometimes homeless upbringing in Oakland, complete with mentioning his mother’s jail time and eventual death - all set to haunting, somber music. (Surprisingly, Chris Connelly wasn’t narrating. Maybe this wasn’t an ESPN-produced sob story, after all.)
PARQUET PRIDE was certainly proud of Powe’s performance, but not everyone was so smitten (besides the Lakers). Analyst Mark Jackson has just praised a monster jam from Leon, comparing him to Julius Erving in a slam-dunk contest. For some reason, co-analyst Jeff Van Gundy took exception to MJ’s comments, even offering an on-air apology to Dr. J:
(Clip courtesy of ODENIZED)
Guess Jeff switched channels during Leon’s halftime tear-jerker.
Anyway, it may look like the Celtics have their sights set on a sweep, but keep in mind that the Lakers are undefeated at home in the playoffs, while Boston couldn’t even win one away game against the likes of the Hawks or Cavs (but they did get their traveling act together against the Pistons). We’ll find out what happens when Game 3 tips off on Tuesday.
Just to be fair, ABC should do a heartfelt halftime story like Powe’s on one of the Lakers’ players who survived terrible conditions to make it to the Finals. We suggest Pau Gasol and his time with the Memphis Grizzlies.