The issue of too much referee interference was all but guaranteed before the Finals even began. Phil Jackson made it his duty to point out that his team does not have a "smackdown" mentality.
He used the video of Kevin Garnett smacking Dwight Howard's hand away in Game 6 as evidence that he should be watched.
Thus began the myopic examination of any incidental contact in the first two games by the referees.
Kudos to Jackson for using all the weapons at his disposal to help his team win; his team has won the battle in the paint in both games.
It is a minor miracle that Boston finds itself going into Game Three with home-court advantage.
The Lakers received no help from Lamar Odom and Ron Artest.
Phil may have to go where he has never been before to resurrect the minds of Ron-Ron and Odom. He will have to forage through the wilderness of their minds in order to wake them up.
Perhaps he could dust off Adam Morrison and give him the opportunity to show his long range game.
I am sure he can step in like Nate Robinson did for the Celtics, and produce after not playing much.
That in itself shows how Doc Rivers has his team prepared to understand the importance of being ready to contribute.
Phil has never been known for developing his bench; he has always relied on his superstars to carry the day. I am not saying that he doesn't develop his bench, it is just that his bench is limited to Odom. He cannot look beyond his top six players and see anyone who has the potential to drop 23 points like Glen Davis.
Jacksons' individual success makes him the preeminent coach in NBA history with 10 championship rings.
Doc Rivers has one championship ring and in the company of other champions, that does not mean much. Anyone can stumble into one ring, the measure of success is if you have more than one.
By that definition alone Phil Jackson is royalty compared to Doc's peasant background. But we shouldn't forget that it is always the peasants who manage to bring down the mightiest of thrones.
Doc has his team believing in his system because he believed in them when others didn't. He was willing to sacrifice regular season glory for the health of his players. The Lakers couldn't get Kobe to sit, and his injuries may come back to haunt them in the Finals.
Doc's decision is proving to be a very shrewd move as they go back to Boston looking to either win it all or take a one game lead back to L.A.
It is not over by any means as the Celtics saved their season through sheer determination. Rivers' time out to save a Celtic possession shows his awareness of time in relation to the game.
Rondo's Game 2 performance showed that the Lakers made a major mistake with their game plan.
I am sure that Phil Jackson realizes by now that he should have hurled his mental volleys at Rajon Rondo and not KG.
He is far removed from the grit of his six championship roots in Chicago. His last four have been in the land of buttercups, sunshine and dating the bosses’ daughter.
Jackson has lost twice in the Finals to coaches who demand excellence from every member of their roster in Larry Brown and Doc Rivers.
Losing to Brown doesn’t bother him so much, but beating Doc Rivers and the Celtics may afford him a measure of personal satisfaction.
Doc Rivers can perform a faint accomplishment in his own right, and be the only coach whom Jackson has never defeated in the NBA Finals.
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