5 Reasons Why the Celtics Can Still Win the Series
Let's look back at something I said in my preview before last night's blunder of a game, "In NBA Finals history, Game 3 has been a deciding factor in series knotted at 1-1. Since the 2-3-2 series was introduced in '85, the Game 3 winner has won all ten of such series. Out of all 32 NBA Finals tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has taken the series 28 times." As hopeless as that sounds, I'm not convinced this series is over. Boston has a lot of fight left and I don't think L.A. can beat them twice in a row. In fact, not only do I think the Celts will take Game 4 Thursday, but I think they can still win the NBA Championship this year, and deny Kobe and the Lakers of a repeat. Here are 5 reasons why the Celtics can still win the series:
1. Ray Allen will not have a repeat performance. After his historic performance in Game 2, Allen looked flat out terrible last night. He shot 0-13 from the field, 0-8 from downtown, and scored only two points. After his best ever performance in Boston's lone win in the series, this was undoubtedly the worst of his career. Personally, I think there's no way in hell that happens again. If Ray makes four of his shots from the field and a two of the treys, the Celtics win that game. The fact that the game was so close and the Celtics were essentially playing without one of their top scorers, tells me Boston can easily win this series. The rest of the starting five were solid. None of them had a negative +/-. L.A. guard Derek Fisher knows this was a one time thing, "Ray Allen's not going to miss all of his shots, Thursday night, that's not going to happen."
2. KG is finally back. Don't write off the Big Ticket yet. It looks like the Boston big man has found his legs again and resembled vintage KG last night scoring 25 points on 11-16 shooting. Doc was equally impressed with Garnett's play, saying, "KG was great. He didn't get it (the ball) enough. We talked about 20 shots before the game. He shot 16, and he should have had 25 as far as I was concerned. I thought there were a lot of times we still should have gotten the ball to him." As much as I agree that Garnett should have gotten more looks, the shots Boston got late in the game were good looks. I do foresee Rondo making a conscious effort to give KG more opportunities Thursday throughout Game 4. A revitalized Ticket is just what Boston needs to dethrone L.A.
3. Games 4 and 5 are in Boston. I realize L.A. just won Game 3 in the Garden, and I realize home-court advantage hasn't done much for the Celts so far this year. I know Boston can win on the road, but a packed TD Banknorth Garden will show them the support they need to take these next two games. More importantly, the referees may actually give them a few more calls than they did in the first two games in Los Angeles. The Lakers shot ten more free throws than the Celtics in Games 1 and 2. In Game 3, both teams had 24 attempts from the charity stripe. Hopefully the trend continues and the C's can get some more points while the clocks not running.
4. Fish won't be left open again. Derek Fisher is not a playmaker. He is unable to create off the dribble, but he does knock down open shots. The Celts gave him those open looks and as Doc put it, "Derek Fisher was the difference in the game." Most of his points came off of the 1-2 pick and roll he was running with Kobe. It's really a great play as the Celtics can't really switch as that would leave Rondo on Bryant. However, if Rondo could just get over the screen a little quicker and the big man on the block would step up; this play would not be nearly as successful. Those "chase" type plays are perfect for guys like Big Baby get in position and take a charge. Unfortunately, in Game 3, the big man always watched the play and got stuck under the basket. I'm sure Doc is hitting on that play repeatedly in the film session, and the C's will come out prepared for it Thursday night.
5. Rondo has yet to take over a game. Although he played well in Game 2 and recorded a triple-double, Rajon has yet to really break out and win a game for Boston. We've seen him hit fifth gear in both the Cleveland and Orlando series, but thus far in the Finals I'd say he maybe touched fourth for part of Game 2. He needs to attack the paint and rack up some fouls on L.A.'s twin towers. Now that KG and Ray have each shown that they are capable of scoring big points, I expect Rondo to have many more opportunities to drive in Games 4 and 5. If he takes advantage of those chances and creates contact attacking the rim, with the way the refs are calling the game, he will at the very least come away with a pair of free throws on most occasions.
Stephen Bailey designed Beantown Banter, writes the majority of the pieces for the site, and controls the social networking among other things. Bailey is currently a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Sport Management. He is a diehard Celtics and Red Sox fan, but also actively follows the Bruins and Patriots. Additionally, he serves as a contributing writer at Celtics Life. Earlier in 2010, Bailey interned in the Sports Department of the New Haven Register, interviewed multiple athletes, including ex-Celtic Ryan Gomes, and worked as part of a team to get the section done every weeknight. He covers both Swimming & Diving and Women's Tennis for The Daily Orange, SU's school paper. In his free time, Bailey enjoys playing pickup basketball, beating his floormates in NBA 2K11, and sporcling for hours on end. Although he is unsure exactly what he wants to do for a career, it has always been his dream to cover the Celts and Sox.