2010 NBA Finals Game Two Handicap: Waking the Green Giants

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics directs a play in Game One of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on June 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Finals Game Two

In game one of the Finals, the Lakers dominated the Boston Celtics and won going away.  They beat the Celtics to every loose ball and dominated on the boards.  After the game it had many of the experts wondering if this was going to end being a competitive series after all.

When betting on sports, one of the hardest things to handicap for is emotion.  In game one, the Celtics were flat and the Lakers were the team that looked inspired and focused.  The question is will that be the same in game two?

The Top Ten Online Sportsbooks have the Lakers posted as 5.5 to 6 point favorites, matching the same number from game one. The total opened at 191 in several places and has a taken a slight move.  To get a good feel for the outcome in game two it is important to look back at game one.

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The Lakers owned the Celtics inside and played more physical.  This seemed like it was done in an attempt to remove the “soft” label that they were tagged with when the faced Boston in 2008.  No player showed more of a transformation than Pau Gasol.  He had 23 points and 14 rebounds and looked like he was easily the best big man on the floor.  After the game he went a step further and even called out Boston’s big man, Kevin Garnett.

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“On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness,” said Gasol, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds. “He’s more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then.

"Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he’s still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”

Oh boy.  Did this comment awaken the sleeping giant before game two?  When asked about the comment KG had this to say.

“I have no comments for his comments.”

This is just one aspect of the game that has to be considered.

Game Two Preview and Pick

Latest Lines: The line is solid at Lakers -6, but if you look around you can find a slight difference.  For example if you want to bet on the Lakers then Bet Phoenix has LA -6 +100 . If you want to bet on the Celtics, then BETUS.com has the Celtics at +6.5 points. Shop around for the line to take advantage of the best line.

When it comes to the NBA playoffs it’s not considered a series until the home team loses.  Since the Lakers held serve in game one this is still a series that has the potential to go seven games.  The Celtics do need to make some adjustments if they have any hopes of stealing game two.

They need to get back to playing big physical basketball.  This starts with Garnett.  Pau Gasol provided just enough motivation to get the big man going.  Kendrick Perkins, Big Baby Davis and the rest of the front line will feed off his energy.

Rajon Rondo has to shoot first and pass later.  In game one Rondo penetrated into the paint plenty of times but always looked to pass and so the Lakers were able to pull off on defense and wait for the pass.  Once he starts making a few of those teardrop shots on the way to the hoop the passing lanes will open up for easier baskets.  Derrick Fisher cannot cover Rondo and he will get help from Kobe and company.

The Celtics also have a few trends that favor them to play well in game two.

Play on a dog off one loss exact in the championship round, as they are 20-15 ATS.  Take 5.5 or more points in this role and they increase to 12-5 ATS, including 10-2 ATS if they own a win percentage of .636 or more.

Road teams in the Championship round when the total is posted at 181 or higher are 48-2-1 against the spread. If they are coming off a loss that is straight up and against the number then they are 17-4 ATS.

The Celtics were embarrassed in game one and know they can play better in game two.  Paul Pierce found ways to get to the lane and get fouled and will put some good numbers in game two.  KG will play a significant role down low and that will open outside shots for both Pierce and Ray Allen.  Game two will be tightly contested and come down to the wire.

Get ready for a sight on Sunday night in game two of the NBA Finals.

Celtics +6.5

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