NBA Finals: Defense Wins Championships?
Well, it wins Game 1s, at least. Just ask the Lakers who were held to their lowest point total of the Playoffs, scoring only 88 points. Furthermore, LA got contributions from players that normally propel them to a win. Lamar had 14 and 6 while Gasol posted 15 and 8. Hell, even Derek Fisher — one of my keys to LA’s chances of winning — had 15 points. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Kobe, while scoring 24 points, was only 9-26 from the floor.
For the Celtics, the second half was all about Paul Pierce — well, spiritually and emotionally, anyway. After spraining his knee midway through the third quarter, he came back out of the locker room to the roar of an approving Boston crowd and proceeded to score eight points to end the stanza, including two 3-pointers in the closing minute. Riding the emotional wave of Pierce’s return and the hefty contributions of KG, Rondo, and Ray Allen, the Celtics protected their home turf quite well. The Game 1 victory was punctuated by this KG put-back slam:
Game 2 is Sunday evening and while the Celtics are undoubtedly feeling pretty good about the win, they also have to be ready for the fact it’s extremely doubtful Kobe will continue shooting the way he did in Game 1. If the Mamba has a breakout game and gets contributions from his team similar to last night, the Celtics will have a much harder time securing the win.
Like they say, we’ll see.