As always Adam has some good thoughts about the game. When watching a game like that, the mind wanders as to who is to blame – was it the Lakers efficacy or the Celtics lack of the same? What was most striking was the Lakers defense and sheer effort – an intensity level the Celtics just did not bring. Really, the game is sometimes that simple. The Celtics, as it showed in the rebounding stats (Gasol out offensive rebounding the entire Celtics team??!!), the fast break points (12-5) and the points in the paint (48-30). It was a physical mauling. The good news is it is just one game but there are some systemic concerns.
Garnett’s Docileness – Garnett was held to 7-16, which is not good but not awful. But only 4 rebounds and getting eaten alive by Pau Gasol. Combine this with a very poor offensive showing in the previous round against Rashard Lewis and one worries about whether he has just been fried or not.
Rondo’s Health – Rondo also put a decent line up (13-6-8) but was not explosive or transformative. Having Kobe guard him may have seemed like a factor but it wasn’t. As Rivers pointed out, Rondo has seen this sort of defense before. But Rondo seemed to lack jump. Is this his various ailments coming together?
Kobe’s Amazingness – Adam observes that Kobe has taken the conch from LeBron for now. A lot of experts have made this assertion too – but LeBron’s performance the last two years belie this. Since LeBron does not have a Top 10 player like Gasol as a post teammate, it is hard to make a fair comparison. But suffice to say Kobe has had a marvelous playoff. The Celtics let him get to the bucket pretty easily, far easier than they did at any point of the 2008 series.
Ultimately, it is but one game – and so perspective is in order. The problems mostly were in the energy and effort categories – which is easily fixable as disturbing as it was. One expects a much better performance in Game 2. One does not expect any less “Kobe is a transformational epic movie hero” hooey from Van Gundy and Jackson – unless you are talking Lawrence of Arabia.