These two days have been spectacular in NBA games. Well some have. Let’s take a look at a few games of the week.
Boston Celtics (107) vs Philadelphia 76ers (91)
Celtics lead 2-1
This game was a blow out. As a Celtic fan, this was as good as it gets. Everything was clicking. KG looks like his 25 yr old self. Rajon Rondo dominated and Paul Pierce looked better than he has in the previous games. The defense was swarming, consuming and frustrating the Sixers.
As a Sixer fan, this is not what you wanted to see. After gaining a lot of momentum in Boston (losing Game 1 in which they could have won and winning Game 2 in close games!) you would think they would come out rocking on their home court. And they did. For one quarter. They scored 33 points, including a buzzer beater three by Lou Williams. Only problem was, when the second quarter began, the Celtics just turned on full steam and nothing the Sixers could do could slow or stop them. The Sixers looked young, inexperienced and lack of confidence. They looked like, for the first time, the 8th seed, a team that barely got enough wins to sneak into the post-season. The Celtics? Well everyone thought they were too old. O.J Mayo ( who I might add is at home fishing) didn’t want to get traded to Beantown. He didn’t care about the championships, the history, the legacy. David West spurned the Celtics, cause he didn’t want to play for a rebuilding team. Well, as much as the Pacers are having success, the Celtics are flourishing as well. And wouldn’t it be something if the Pacers beat the Heat and the Celtics beat the Sixers to end up meeting in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Celtics look to continue their roll on Friday as Game 4 takes place in Philly. Get there early. There might be traffic as the Red Sox are also in town to take on the Phillies.
OKC Thunder (77) vs LA Lakers (75)
OKC leads 2-0
This game was much better than Game 1. At least this was closer. The good, was that the Thunder proved, that while young, they can play and win close games. The bad, the Lakers ran their game plan and it still wasn’t enough. The ugly, was the lack of execution the Lakers showed, especially their super star, Kobe. This loss is placed squarely on Kobe’s shoulders. In the last two minutes of the game, he missed two shots and had two turnovers. Kobe did mention that the turnovers were in part because the Thunder took gambles. Large gambles and they paid off. But ultimately, the black mamba didn’t show up, but rather the human Kobe, who made human mistakes.
A lot of talk was about the last play. In recap, the Lakers had the ball with about 14 seconds left in the game. They were only down one. Kobe ran down the clock looking for the last shot. But the Thunder had one foul to give and they gave it with about 6 seconds left. After a time-out, the Lakers had the ball on the sideline. Two screens and a flare screen set by Pau Gasol for Kobe was set. Steve Blake was just hanging out in the corner, ball side, by himself. Metta World Peace took the opportunity and passed it to Blake instead of Kobe. Again, Blake instead of Kobe.
Suffice to say, Blake missed the shot. They fouled the Kevin Durant who sank the first and missed the second to seal the game.
The game was within the Lakers’ reach. They pretty much executed their game plan. They ran their half court game, they slowed the game down, they made the Thunder bark at one another, they made them just a jump shot team. Yet, their closer could not close. It was their closer who was the reason why they lost their game. Asked if he wanted the last shot of the game, Kobe smiled wide and said, “Of course.”
While he may have failed in one game, his confidence does not. And it can not. With the Lakers down 2-0, you’ll need Kobe’s resilience to help these Lakers crawl back.
Staples Center will be quite busy, as both the Lakers and Clippers head home for two games. The Lakers will host back to back nights on Friday, Saturday, while the Clippers play home team on another back to back night, starting Saturday and ending Sunday.