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.
Celtics at Lakers
Sunday, June 6, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
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.
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.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point guard: Derek Fisher
Shooting guard: Kobe Bryant
Small forward: Ron Artest
Power forward: Pau Gasol
Center: Andrew Bynum
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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