In my previous article, I presented three arguments in defense of the atypical nature of Game One of the Celtics-Bulls series. It is only fair that we look back at Game Two and ascertain whether or not the facts sustain my arguments.
First, Derrick Rose did not score 36 points again, not even close. He was a shadow of his opening-game self.
There's no question that he is a great ball player, but this is the NBA Playoffs, and he's playing against the current World Champions. Sooner or later, the poise that marked his performance in Game One would (and did) give in to the nervousness. Sure, he had a couple of good plays in the rematch, but overall, you could sense that he was feeling the heat.
Second, Ray Allen didn't go 1-for-12 from the field again; quite the opposite. Allen served up a trademark performance, going 6-for-10 from behind the arc and 1-for-1 on game-winners.
Game One was the exception and Game Two the rule for Ray. I expect him to keep on performing close to this level throughout the series, especially in light of the conclusions regarding my third argument, which follow.
In my earlier piece, I stated that Paul Pierce would take a leading role in the second game and get involved as the true leader that he is, thereby pulling the team together. Well, he didn't. At least, not on the level that I was expecting.
He appeared tired midway through the third quarter and never really got back into the contest. Looking at his face during timeouts, I noted not only his apparent exhaustion, but also some sort of distance from the game. It was almost like he was thinking that he had "been there and done that."
As Meat Loaf would put it: "Two out of three ain't bad."
Well, it depends on the perspective of the overall picture that you take.
Ben Gordon's performance last night more or less compensated for the fact that Derrick Rose wasn't the factor that he was in Game One, and what Ray Allen did was what everyone is expecting him to do every night. That leaves us with the troubles of "P-Dub."
In my view, either he pulls out of whatever type of hole he is in or the Bulls are going to pull an upset here.
A few additional words of acknowledgment:
First, to Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins, who were close to perfection in executing their respective roles; second, to Rajon Rondo, for his "silent" triple-double; and, last but not the least, to Kevin Garnett, for managing to pull himself together enough to sit (actually, stand, for most of the time) on the Celtics bench for the entire game.
Finally, after watching Games One and Two of this series, one has to say that "amazing is happening" right from the start.
My advice to David Stern: Start negotiating a contract extension with Kanye West. When it comes to sports, I tend to get very superstitious!