2010 NBA Finals Game 2: What The Celtics Need To Do To Even Series

Shaun WeissmanContributor IJune 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics looks to pass against Ron Artest #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game One of the 2010 NBA Finals 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 Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Game 1 of the Finals last Thursday was a rude awakening for the Boston Celtics - an organization that is 9-2 all time against the Lakers in the championship round.

The damage was mostly done by a party of two for the Lakers - Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

It was visible to even the blindest of bats that KG isn't the player he once was, he isn't even the player that he was two seasons ago when the Celtics punished the Lakers en route to their 17th title.

Garnett has to be less tentative offensively and much more physical defensively, especially against Gasol who finished with 23 points, 14 boards and 3 blocks.

If Gasol puts up numbers even remotely close to that for the duration of this series, the Celtics might as well forget about keeping the series alive and start packing for whatever beach-house they rest at for the offseason.

Kobe went for his usual 30 points, 7 boards and 6 assists...that's OK.  Kobe's determined, arguably playing the best basketball of his life and he'll tie Magic Johnson with 5 rings if the Lakers win this series.

On top of that it would be against the Celtics - the Lakers biggest rival!

But as I said before, Kobe getting his is fine.  In fact, it's a given.

To beat the Lakers on their home court in Game 2 the Celtics need to limit the players in supportive roles.

Lamar Odom was kept in check, but Ron Artest was finally able to do what professional basketball players are paid for...he knocked down open jump shots.

Alvin Gentry said last round he could live with Ron Ron making jumpers, but when he's the X-factor in the game there's a problem.

The Celtics have matchup problems particularly with Gasol and Bryant, and they'll need to do a better job on team defense, like they did in the 2008 Finals.

The rotations need to be more crisp and with a greater sense of urgency so that the role players on the Lakers will be taking contested shots - infinitely more difficult than the wide open jumpers Artest got and the clear lanes to the basket that both Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown exploited.

Offensively the Celtics need a bigger game from their big 4.  

Yes, Pierce went for 24, but he really struggled with the defensive play of Artest.

Ray Allen was in foul trouble all night and will need to figure out how to stay on the floor for more than 27 minutes.  Just his presence on the court is a threat because of how quickly he can compile points together.

KG needs to be more aggressive and play the game with the confidence that basketball fans have become accustomed to over the past decade.

And finally, the floor general, Rajon Rondo, needs to live up to the hype and do a better job of creating for his teammates.  

Rondo only had 8 assists in game one.  The Celtics are 5-5 this postseason when Rondo doesn't have double digits in dimes.

The role players for the Celtics also need to play better - the bench combined for only 16 points, one point more than the Lakers bench.

The Lakers starting five is better than the Celtics starting five, especially at home, and if the bench play is level the Celtics have very little chance of winning this series.

It's a game of will - the team that plays harder and wants it more usually comes out on top.


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