Just as they did in '08, the 2010 series had an extra day off in Los Angeles before rushing the teams across the country to play another game less than 48 hours after the previous one ended. Go figure.
Scheduling aside, the basketball part of it doesn't always make sense either. Kobe Bryant posting a minus-9 in Game 2? Kevin Garnett registering a mostly ineffective 24 minutes? Shelden Williams doing his best to help the Lakers win? How could any of that have been predicted with any shred of confidence before the game was played?
Easy — with a little bit of chutzpah. Guts. Gall. Whatever you want to call it, it's time to lay down some bold predictions for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Andrew Bynum will not be a factor.
The 7-foot-tall thorn in the Celtics' side has given some validity to the argument that the Lakers might have won the '08 Finals if he was healthy. Maybe.
He has been at times dominant, too fast for Kendrick Perkins and too tall for Glen Davis, and he's got 31 points, seven blocks and 12 rebounds in the first two games of the series. He's firing on all cylinders, his Game 2 performance was one of the best of his career, and all signs point to him continuing to terrorize the Celtics in Game 3 … except for one thing. He's got a bum knee.
Bynum's performance thus far has been incredibly gutsy. He's had his knee drained in hopes of reducing the swelling, but to no avail. Now, he's forced to fly cross-country overnight on Sunday, run through some form of practice on Monday, then suit up and play with power on Tuesday night? Uh-uh. Bynum won't be a factor on Tuesday — at least not a positive one for the Lakers.
Kendrick Perkins will pick up his seventh technical.
The Man Who Has Never Committed a Foul has kept his cool through two games. He's thrown on his Frylock face plenty, but he's yet to get T'd up (though the "warning" from the refs early in Game 2 should count as one-half).
That will change, unfortunately for the Celtics, on Tuesday night. Why? Well, Perkins is a big man. He is proud. He is a Texan. He stands up for himself — it's just in his nature. So when Pau Gasol takes his liberties with Perkins, throwing the Celtics' center to the ground in the closing minutes of Game 2 and not even drawing a technical foul or a flagrant, Perkins is going to be upset. So much so that it may finally boil over in some capacity. Whether it will be an elbow to Gasol's chest, a verbal spat with Ron Artest or a not-so-friendly word sent in the referee's direction, Perk will be assessed technical No. 7 of the postseason and will thus be suspended for Game 4.
After that shove from Gasol, would you even blame him?
No celebrities will touch Doc Rivers.
Seriously? Jack Nicholson can just touch opposing coaches whenever he wants? Is that really what goes on in L.A.? It won't in Boston.
Kobe Bryant will go off.
Looking at the Game 2 box score, the 21 points next to Kobe's name look like a typo. The world's most dangerous player was largely neutralized by the whistle in Game 2, with his five personal fouls preventing him from driving to the basket for most of the fourth quarter. He's still a tremendous shooter, but when you cut his game in half, you've tamed the beast.
Don't expect that to happen again.
Kobe is too proud and too competitive to have such a little effect on a game's outcome twice. He'll come out firing, and he won't miss. Whether it's enough to win for the Lakers, we don't know, but remember Kobe's last trip to the Garden ended rather well for No. 24.
Shelden Williams will not play.
In all honesty, the Candace Parker jokes are lame, but Williams' play in Game 2 has to be some of the worst in Finals history.
The stat line is bad, but it only scratches the surface. He played four minutes, gave the ball away twice, grabbed one rebound, scored zero points and was a minus-4. Pretty bad, but considering the situation he was in and the momentum he lost for Boston, it was closer to devastating.
Williams entered the game with 4:13 left in the first half and the Celtics up by 12. Garnett, Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace all had three fouls apiece, and because Clifford Ray is ineligible to actually play, Rivers had to insert Williams.
Williams then helped Gasol collect an offensive rebound, then fouled him. Williams then helped Artest collect an offensive rebound, then fouled him. Williams then was late with help to Perkins on a driving Gasol, who went up and under the basket to score. Perkins fouled Gasol, and because Williams was so far out of position, Gasol was able to finish and make it a three-point play.
Then Williams did something good. He grabbed a rebound. Then Williams did something bad. He passed the ball to Kobe Bryant. Of course, Kobe nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six, and of course, Williams threw the inbound pass right to Kobe. The Lakers' star missed that 3-pointer, but the damage was done.
The point of all this is simple: Shelden Williams will not play a meaningful minute ever again for the Celtics.
The refs will be a story.
In Game 1, Ray Allen was kept out of the game due to foul trouble, and in Game 2, Bryant and Garnett suffered the same fate. In total, there have been 112 personal fouls called in two games. For folks trying to stay awake on the East Coast, the constant whistle-blowing has made that endeavor rather difficult.
You can't say how just yet, but the refs will be a factor in Game 3. Maybe they'll make up a bit of the free-throw discrepancy from Game 2 (Lakers shot 41 free throws to the Celtics' 26), maybe clean blocks will be called clean blocks instead of fouls, maybe we'll all get to see Dick Bavetta. Whatever happens, we'll be talking about the refs on Wednesday morning.
The winner of Game 3 will win the series.
How's that for bold?
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