Celtics Have Golden Opportunity on Home Floor to Grab Series Lead Over Lakers

Celtics Have Golden Opportunity on Home Floor to Grab Series Lead Over Lakers It took a triple-double from Rajon Rondo and a record-breaking eight 3-pointers from Ray Allen, but the Celtics have stolen a game from the Lakers at the Staples Center. Now they're headed home with a chance to commandeer these NBA Finals.

If the Celtics can get one on the Lakers' home floor, there's no telling what they can do back in Boston. The C's and Lakers take the floor Tuesday night at the TD Garden, and if Rondo stays active and Allen stays hot, a 2-1 series lead could be in their future.

When and Where

Celtics vs. Lakers
Tuesday, June 8, 9 p.m. (ABC)
TD Garden, Boston

Head to Head

The Celtics and Lakers are all square, tied 2-2 on the 2009-10 season series. A 1-1 split in the regular season, followed by a 1-1 split in the Finals. The only wrinkle? The C's have yet to win one at home. They lost a close one in their only meeting at the TD Garden this season on Jan. 31. In that one, Kobe Bryant drained the go-ahead basket with 7.3 seconds left, and the Lakers won 90-89. Andrew Bynum gave the Lakers a double-double in that game with 19 points and 11 boards. The Celtics will look to reverse their fortune this time around, when it really counts.

Key Matchup

Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant
Ray may have carried the Celtics back into this series in Game 2 with his 32 points, but he may have done something else, too by awakening a sleeping giant. Kobe has never cared for Ray personally, and the bad blood between these two is about to reach a raging boil now. After Ray's monster game Sunday, expect Kobe to answer with a huge effort of his own, two nights later. Kobe will go for the kill early.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Lakers
Point guard: Derek Fisher
Shooting guard: Kobe Bryant
Small forward: Ron Artest
Power forward: Pau Gasol
Center: Andrew Bynum

Stat Sheet

Celtics

  • Ray Allen shot 8-of-11 from 3-point range for the Celtics in Game 2. With eight treys in a single game, he broke the all-time Finals record of seven, which he previously shared with Kenny Smith and Scottie Pippen. Allen also hit seven 3's in the clinching Game 6 of the '08 Finals.
  • Rajon Rondo had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 2. It was his fifth career postseason triple-double.
  • Rasheed Wallace has career postseason averages of 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

Lakers

  • Pau Gasol has shot 15-of-24 so far in this series. He's averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds per game.
  • Lamar Odom has scored a total of just eight points in two games.
  • Kobe Bryant has an NBA-best 522 points in these playoffs. This is the fifth time he's scored more than 500 in a single postseason.

Black and Blue

Celtics

  • Marquis Daniels suffered a concussion in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando. He has yet to play in these NBA Finals, but he maintains he's ready to go.

Lakers

  • Andrew Bynum continues to battle a knee injury, but he hasn't missed a game yet in this postseason.

Outlook

If the Celtics want to keep things rolling in Game 3 of this series, they can't count on the shots to keep falling. Ray Allen had an epic shooting night on Sunday in L.A., and the Celtics have to be prepared to win a game when he's not as white-hot. They've still got room to improve in other areas — they've got to keep crashing the boards, keep working for second-chance points, keep fighting the war down low against the Lakers' bigs. If the C's want a win and a 2-1 lead in these Finals, they've got to stay physical.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190,761 other followers