Jackson had D.J. Mbenga and Josh Powell rough up Pau Gasol in practice on Saturday to ready him for a tough physical game inside.
But Doc Rivers had a different idea.
Instead, the Celtics went outside with their guards doing most of the damage to build a 14-point lead early in the second quarter. Rajon Rondo was everywhere, grabbing rebounds and setting up plays for Ray Allen who hit seven straight three-pointers and scored 27 points in the first half.
Defense was where the Celtics played a tough physical game inside, boxing out Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum who had only five rebounds between them in the half.
As a team the Celtics out-rebounded the Lakers 23-19 in the first half. Thanks to who? Perkins? Garnett? Davis? No, Rajon Rondo.
But the Lakers cut into the Celtics lead in the last minute of the half with Gasol putting in a layup and hitting the free throw for a three-point play. Then Kobe Bryant stole the inbound pass and hit a three-pointer to cut the Celtics lead to 54-48 at halftime.
The Lakers came out firing in the third period and took the lead briefly 57-56. The Celtics came back to tie the game. Then Rajon Rondo stole the ball from Kobe Bryant and got Bryant to commit his fourth foul.
Without Bryant in the game, Rondo got the ball to a wide-open Ray Allen who knocked down his eighth three-pointer to go into the NBA Finals record book.
It was up to Pau Gasol to hold down the fort while Bryant was on the bench. Gasol finished the quarter with 24 points as the Celtics and Lakers ended the quarter tied at 72 and shooting 43% and 42% respectively.
The final period began with Bryant picking up his fifth foul in the first minute. He returned with six minutes left and the game tied at 85.
But it was Rajon Rondo who not only kept the Celtics in the game but got them the 103-94 victory with huge plays at both ends of the floor. Rondo who led both teams with 12 rebounds and put up a triple-double adding ten assists and 19 points.
As impressive as the Lakers were in Game 1, the Celtics were just as impressive in Game 2. Now those pundits who had all but crowned the Lakers champions after Game 1 must go back to their notebooks.
And Phil Jackson and the Lakers need to go back to the game film and figure out why no one could box out Rajon Rondo.
They also need to figure out what they are going to do if Paul Pierce (10 points) and Kevin Garnett (6 points) start playing the way they are capable of playing.
The Lakers might just ask themselves when Lamar Odom will show up. After an abysmal Game 1, Odom had an even more abysmal Game 2, committing three personal fouls in his first three minutes on the floor.
Odom finished the game with just three points and five rebounds. Ron Artest was not much better, fouling out in the final quarter with just six points.
Jackson probably will get hit with another fine for putting Bryant’s foul trouble squarely on the officiating as well as voicing concern over a couple of the fouls called on Derek Fisher.
Funny, I may be wrong, but I don’t recall Doc Rivers complaining about the officiating in Game 1. In any case the Lakers went to the line 41 times tonight to only 26 free throws for Boston.
Pau Gasol was high scorer for the Lakers with 25 points but only had one point in the final stanza when the Lakers could have really used some output. He did have eight rebounds and six blocks.
Kobe Bryant finished with 21 points. But it was Ray Allen’s night as he topped all scorers with 32 points.