The Boston Celtics went into Los Angeles and did what they needed to do; split the two road games and head back home with a chance to close out the series after a 103-94 victory.
While it is debatable whether or not the Celtics are capable of winning the next three games at home, they have certainly given themselves a chance, and that's all you can ask for.
For the second straight game, both teams were hindered by the awful officiating. Ray Allen set an NBA Finals record with seven three pointers in the first half, totaling eight for the game. Despite Allen shouldering the load, the Celtics only lead by six at halftime and were tied after three quarters. Garnett being sidelined by some phantom calls, along with Pierce failing to show up, kept the Lakers in the ballgame.
However, LA had problems of their own when Kobe Bryant was hit with three personal fouls in the first half, five in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, and Lamar Odom was again ineffective due to foul trouble.
Now I know some of you are going to think I’m about go on a rant because, admittedly being a Lakers fan, I am bitter. But that’s not the case. The fact of the matter is, Boston played better in the final five minutes of the game when everything was even. They executed better down the stretch, hustled for loose balls, and created turnovers. That’s what it takes to close out games on the road, and they did it.
But that’s not going to keep me from pointing out the fact that the referees and their officiating have been atrocious in the first two games of the series — BOTH ways. Boston was abused in game one with Ray Allen saddled on the bench, and then in game two with Garnett. LA was abused in game one with Odom picking up phantom fouls, and then Bryant and Odom (again) in game two.
For as much hype as this series has received, rightfully so, the officials are doing a hell of a job of turning away any potential new NBA viewers or casual fans. Making a series with so much star power into a battle of benches is not the way these Finals should be played. I don’t think we even know for sure who the better team through two games has been because so many stars have spent huge chunks of minutes on the bench. There has been no flow, for either team, and that’s on the officials.
Game three will be a pivotal game for the series and the winner will have a significant advantage heading into the final stretch of the Finals. Let’s hope that the whistles are swallowed, and we get to see two juggernauts fight it out, the way it should be.
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