Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers asked for just 1 volunteer during halftime to step up and score the basketball in the 2nd half of game 2. I’m sure he didn’t think Ray Allen would be the man after scoring just 2 points in the first half. However, Ray Ray was the man in the second half scoring 28 points and hitting the game winning jumpshot with just 2 seconds left on the clock.
Welcome to the series Ray… He Still Got Game!
Before this series began a week ago, everyone gave the coaching advantage to the Lakers. Phil Jackson has won 9 out of 10 championship series and Glen “Doc” Rivers had yet to advance a team beyond the first round prior to this year. Now that four games have been played it is clear who is the better coach in this matchup… Doc Rivers.
Doc has been brilliant with his substitutions and rotations. He has also overcome injuries to 3 of his starting 5 players (Pierce, Jenkins, Rondo) and has shown unshakeable confidence in his bench. The Celtics have responded to just about every move Doc has made.
Game 4 will be the defining moment of the 2008 NBA Championship. The Lakers were running the Celtics out of the gym for two-and-a-half quarters and were easily headed for victory. In fact, ABC commentator Jeff Van Gundy (Mr. Comic Relief) opened his pie hole during the 1st quarter and proclaimed the Lakers would win the game. The Celtics fought back by allowing just 33 second half points (58 pts. in 1st half) and finished off the hometeam 97 – 91 to take a commanding 3 – 1 series lead.
Aiiiight…..yea I said it, aiiiight and that is how I meant it when it comes to the NBA Finals moving west to Cali. First this game is a grown man business, and you better keep your eye on the ultimate prize, Bostons’ big 3 left 2/3rds of that group on the tarmac in Massachusetts in Pierce and Garnett, well the good news is its about time Walter Ray Allen showed up. Grown folks tend to do better in an environment that they are use to, comfortable, and confident, that was the case for the Lakers on Tuesday night in Staples Center at they closed the deal on their first win of the 08 NBA Finals. Kobe Bean Bryant (always remember, great athletes and serial killers use their middle names) did his thing and dropped 36 pts on the “Cs” while helping shut down Paul Pierce on 2 of 14 shooting. It has been said and will continue to be said by this observer, when it comes to the “glorious association”, and most sports the great ones can carry their game on the road and close the show…the great ones always do.
Think about anyone who has won dat ring in recent times in the NBA, they usually have their greatest performances in their road jersey, from Magic in the Boston Garden in 87 to D. Wade killing Dallas in 06, and of course Michael Jeffery Jordan in just about every final he laced them up, it is no coincidence those teams got it done. Even some honorable mentions from Reggie Millers’ 25 point 4th quarter in Madison Square Garden to Lebrons’ epic explosion on Detroit in the Eastern conference finals last year stand out more because of the hostile environment in which it was accomplished. Notice the free throw attempts tonight…hmmm, I did too.
The fix is in Tim Donaghy NBA refs blog is on the way. “That being said”, enjoy the Lakers showing up at least in terms of Kobe and SASHA Vujacic (What?) in game 3, and lets see how those other guys in the green uniforms respond to the second guessing of their skill, heart and competence the next 48 hours. Remember you have to be special to perform in any environment, and blessed with talent and hard work ethic for the results to consistently enjoy success. Great teams and athletes, porn stars and race horses come to mind when I try to emphasize this point. Tell me its not true…what did brown do for you?
God I love my job.
Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee
It really begins in earnest when you can’t wait for the game to come on. You start getting fired up around mid-afternoon at whatever you are doing in life, school, work or being a useless food eating, excuse making waste of someone else responsibility, also known as children, you start getting “that buzz” that you cannot explain. Then it is that time where you sit down in front of the TV and the music starts, the graphics and the visuals of all the main characters in the real-life tv drama that is “The NBA Finals.”
As a true NBA knucklehead it has taken me back to my teenage years when the Bucks were the 80s’ version of the Detroit Pistons modern day, the 76’ers and the Celtics used them as a just a passable obstruction to get over on their way to the Lakers and the finals, (damn it hurts to say that, but it is true). Then it happened, just like you thought it would with several current hall of famers doing their thing and a number of very great players accompanying them, it was always…and I mean always was worth everything to watch. The Boston Garden, The Forum, The Spectrum and all the pomp and circumstance would be replaced by the game, and the game would live up to the hype in these match-ups of the early to late 80’s. As a hard core Laker fan rarely did it happen, but when they lost to the Celtics or the Sixers it was not a good summer for me because it didn’t sit right.
Now let us look at it from a modern day era. We have had some semi dynasties in Isiahs’ bad boy Pistons, Shaq and Kobes’ Lakers, Duncans’ Spurs, Dreams’ Rockets and of course the real dynasty that was Michael Jordans’ Bulls of the 90’s. The one thing missing is the rival that pushes you to the limit. That doesn’t exist today like it did then and here is why I say that: everybody won and everybody lost that were the best in the league at that time in the finals. Today, the finals are interesting because of the players stories and their quests for the ring. In Boston for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen it validates the ultimate team success to go along with their great individual careers if they win, while Kobes’ quest to shine out of Shaq’s shadow in a Laker uniform is a great sub-plot.
Boston wins game one in a forgettable contest that lacked “sizzle”, except for the Pierce near-death experience, but was bringing back that buzz I had as a teenager in those great matchups at those great venues. It has all the potential to be one of those finals match-ups you never forget and I hope it turns out that way, but my experience in living tells some things don’t repeat themselves and generate that same feeling after it has been established. I rarely wish that a thought is proven wrong that I have…this is one of those rare occasions I hope that is the case. Stay tuned for more blogs on the actual games in the NBA Finals.
Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee
I have always like Kevin Garnett… always!!! Tomorrow he needs to win period. Not the Celtics, but Garnett. The Celtics have already won more titles and big games than any other NBA franchise. This is about KG… no more excuses. Doc Rivers needs to get him 30 shots tomorrow and forget about trying to get Ray Allen going. Allen needs to find offense in transition, but the ball needs to touch KG hands much more than it has. When Doc gets KG the ball he needs to shoot it.
If Boston cannot win this game look for Doc Rivers and Ray Allen to be somewhere else next year. If Ray isn’t making shots he has no value. Paul Pierce is playing very sound defense on LeBron, but he needs to find his offense as well.
LeBron James may just drop 40 points and close the Celtics out… it almost appears that the stage is set for a Big Performance from the best player in this series. I have to admit, it’s hard watching him at times due to his terrible shooting. He Must improve that jumpshoot if he is going to take this team (or his future NY Knicks team) to a championship victory. Let’s see if King James can go to Boston and put a stake in the fans heart.
The NBA season is only 25% complete with many ups and downs left for teams to endure. However, the Boston Celtics have exhibited evey sign of being a legit title contender. After today’s victory against the Toronto Raptors, the Celtics’ winning streak has reached nine games. Boston is now 20-2, which is the best record in the league. It will be interesting to see how many total wins they finish with because the Eastern Conference has a lot of bad teams. In fact, the Celtics are 1 of only 5 teams (15 total) in the Eastern Conference with a winning record.
The 3 Kings of Boston aka Paul “The Truth” Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin “Big Ticket” Garnett have delivered ridiculous early returns. The trio of royalty is averaging 59.1 ppg and are a nightmare matchup for any team. Other coaches are stymied coming up with the appropriate game plan to attack and defense this team.
If you speak with any of the 3 Kings they’d tell you that collectively they’ve all made the impact to turn this Charter NBA team around. If you ask me, it’s because of KG… not only is he so damn good, but he plays out of his mind every minute he’s on the court. That effort and enthusiasm rubs off on everyone in the organization.
Doc Rivers can start drafting his Coach of the Year acceptance speach now because that award is in the bag. Team President Danny Ainge should also be a lock to snag the award for Executive of the Year.