The Los Angeles Lakers struggled again on defense as the Boston Celtics now have a two game advantage heading to Los Angeles. The Eastern Conference champs did it by shooting nearly 53% from the field including 64% from behind the three point line.
In his best shooting night against Boston all season, Kobe Bryant went 11-23 for 30 points, but has continued to shoot poorly from the field against the tough Celtics' defense. In the other three previous games, Bryant has shot only 33% and averaged only 24.6 points per game.
This certainly shows that the NBA's Most Valuable Player doesn't always fair well in the NBA finals.
Since the 1999-2000 season only two regular season MVP's won the Championship, Shaquille O'Neal won both in '99-'00 and Tim Duncan won both in '02-'03 season.
Could Bryant be the third? Statistics say otherwise as the team with a 2-0 series lead has gone on to win the Championship 93% of the time—not a stat that the Lakers want to hear.
So what do the Western Conference champs need to get back in this series?
It starts with the defense as Bryant and company are letting the Celtics bench come in and provide too many points. In Game two alone, the bench scored 35 huge points and is averaging 26 points per game in the series.
Next, of course, would be to get some home court refs. The Celtics went to the line 28 more times in game two as Leon Powe, or Leon Powell according to Phil Jackson, went three more times than the entire Lakers team.
The third thing would be for Bryant to somehow fire up his teammates and having the home crowd in the next three games should help. But it would only take one win out of the next three for Boston to go back home with a 3-2 lead.
What can we expect with the rest of the series? We'll have to wait and see, but the Celtics are 7-0 all time when leading 2-0 in the NBA finals. Also, the Lakers have never come back from a 2-0 hole to win the finals and L.A. is 4-5 on the road this postseason.
Game three is at the Staples Center in L.A. on Tuesday, June 10.