Of course the Paul Pierce injury is the critical storyline
tonight but everyone is focused on that. Here are some other issues that bear
1. Is Kobe in Ray Allen’s head?
In Game 1, Allen had a run out with Kobe and another Celtic
trailing the play. Even though Kobe had just picked up his fourth foul, Allen
refused to take the ball to the rim and instead threw an awful, complicated
pass that was predictably swiped. I wondered at the time if we’d look back on
that play as a turning point. Fortunately for the Cs that turned out not to be
the case but I wondered what caused Allen’s ridiculous decision. I think I
found the answer here.
At one point in the second half, Allen stripped Kobe and went
in to shoot a layup. Kobe caught up to him and spike-blocked his shot, knocking
Allen to the floor with the force of the play, then stood over Allen and
glared. No matter that Rashard Lewis had gathered up the loose
ball and was dunking it at the time, Kobe was making a point.
Oh. Tonight, we can expect to see a hyper aggressive Black Mamba
and since Pierce won’t be asked to check him, Allen will have a tremendous task
in front of him.
2. Will the Lakers get a consistent 3 point threat in Game
Several players can
fill this role but none are consistent enough to be counted on. DFish, Vujacic
and Vlad are the leading candidates and Game 1 made it clear that the Lakers
will have lots of chances to take easy 3s. Especially if Odom or Gasol
struggles to score on the interior, open jumpers may make the difference in how
well the Lakers can score.
3. Which Garnett will show up offensively?
If the Celtics get first half KG (drives to the hoop setting
up jumpers, high FG% and frustrating Gasol) all game long, they’ll be very
tough to beat. If they get passive aggressive KG (lots of long jumpers, low
FG%, bailing Gasol out defensively), it could be a long difficult night in