Whoa. Does it really matter that the Celtics let a 24-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter? Nope – because they still lead the series 2-0. So we'll ignore the fact the C's played zero defense in the final 7 minutes and focus on the positives, starting with Leon Powe. Our favorite bench player dropped 21 points in 15 minutes. He did the dirty work in the first half, working inside, drawing fouls and getting to the line. He played a key role in the 3rd quarter (finishing 2 fast breaks with dunks) as the Celtics pushed the lead to 22 points. The play of the night came early in the fourth when Leon went coast to coast and threw down a monster jam. For the second night in a row, the Celtics bench outplayed LA's Bench Mob. We're not surprised but the national media might be.
-The Lakers can't play defense. We tried to tell everyone before the series, but no one outside of New England wanted to listen.
-Be prepared for the Lakers to bitch about the officiating (As I type this, Phil Jackson is whining about it to the media). Leon Powe shot more free throws (9-13) than the entire Lakers team (10-10). The Celtics went 27-38 from the line because they were the more aggressive team. (I believe that's the line I heard after bitching about the lack of calls for the Celtics against the Hawks and Cavs.) The Celtics defense is also forcing LA into jump shots.
-Paul Pierce (28 pts, 4-4 3 FG, 8 assists) looks fine. I didn't see him limp once. He continues to score at will against Radmanovic. Phil "the greatest coach of all-time" Jackson might want to re-think that match-up.
-KG (17 pts on 7-19 FG, 14 reb) struggled offensively all night. He started painfully slow. Pau Gasol posterized him with a dunk in the 1st quarter. He will get better.
-Gasol (17 pts, 10 reb) disappeared again in the 2nd half. He started strong (13 first half pts) but did nothing after that.
-Rajon Rondo (16 assists, 2 TO) was awesome again. On one sequence, he blocked a three-point shot by the 6-10 Radmanovic, released, caught a KG touchdown pass and slammed it home.
-Kobe Bryant (30 pts, 11-23 FG) didn't do much until the final 7 minutes. The Celtics team defense is keeping Kobe away from the rim.
-Mark Jackson had the line of the night in the 4th quarter with the Celtics up 24. Seconds after a close-up of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jackson says "If you're DiCaprio, you're thinking this is the Titanic now."
According to Stu Scott, of the 29 teams to fall behind 2-0 in the finals, only 3 have managed to come back and win the series.
More pictures after the jump…