Kevin Garnett, Celtics Look to Rebound From Game 1 Beatdown


Kevin Garnett, Celtics Look to Rebound From Game 1 Beatdown Paul Pierce
told the media Thursday night that he knows his team, and he believes in their ability to bounce back from a tough loss.

All of Boston is hoping he's right.

After taking a 102-89 beatdown in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center, the Celtics take the floor again Sunday night to take on the Lakers in Game 2. If they win, they salvage a road split; if they lose, they're coming home down 0-2 and forced to do the unthinkable.

It's the biggest game of the Celtics' season — they better have a lot more than just faith.

When and Where

Celtics at Lakers
Sunday, June 6, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

Head to Head

What changed? In the regular season, these two teams played two nail-bitingly close games, with the visiting team each winning on the road by a single point. The C's lost 90-89 at the TD Garden on Jan. 31, and they got revenge on Feb. 18 in the form of a 87-86 victory at the Staples Center. Both games were decided on the final possession. But then this one, on the game's biggest stage, was a laugher. The Lakers led by 20 at the close of the third quarter, and the final outcome was never in doubt from there. The Celtics have some work to do if they want to keep things respectable.

Key Matchup

Kevin Garnett vs. Pau Gasol
Talk about a role reversal. Think back to two years ago — Garnett was the dominating big man on both ends of the floor, and Gasol was seen by many as too soft, too timid, too unwilling to bang with the big boys down low. Now what? Pau went off for 24 and 13 in Game 1 against the Celtics, while KG was slow and ineffective. Either two years has made a humongous difference, or we've simply witnessed a one-game fluke. KG will need to turn things around in Game 2, or the Celtics are in real trouble.

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

  • Paul Pierce had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics in Game 1. He shot 6-of-13 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
  • Rajon Rondo has played an NBA-most 742 minutes in this postseason.
  • Rasheed Wallace has 1,071 career playoff rebounds, fifth among active players. Kevin Garnett is sixth with 1,037.

Lakers

  • Ron Artest made three 3-pointers for the Lakers in Game 1 (the entire Celtics' roster combined to make just one).
  • Pau Gasol has 65 offensive rebounds, tops in the NBA this postseason. Lamar Odom is second with 51, and Andrew Bynum is fourth with 43.
  • Kobe Bryant has 4,882 career playoff points. The only active player with more is his former teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, with 5,248.

Black and Blue

Celtics

  • Marquis Daniels is out with a concussion.
  • Rasheed Wallace has been slowed this past week by back spasms but continues to play.

Lakers

  • Andrew Bynum had his right knee drained on Monday, but he played 28 minutes in Game 1 and finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

Outlook

If the Celtics want to put forth a strong effort in Game 2, they'll have to fix a few of the mistakes they made in Game 1. Crashing the boards, for instance — you can't beat the Lakers in the Finals if you let them have every offensive rebound. You also can't do much damage if you're unable to score in the paint. It's up to the Celtics' bigs, especially KG, to step up and play a stronger, tougher game in Game 2. If the Celtics can muscle up against the Lakers, force some mistakes, and capitalize with some transition buckets for Rajon Rondo, they'll be in business. Otherwise, they're in trouble.

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