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NBA finals Lakers Celtics Game 2: Can Pau Gasol keep it up

Jun 6, 2010, 10:00 AM EST

Gasol_Garnett.jpgTalking to a Celtics blogger last night, he was pretty candid about how Gasol-Garnett I wound up. “(Gasol) murdered him.” Reds Army was still confident the Celtics would rebound naturally (both literally and figuratively), but the cold hard facts can’t escape even the most stout Boston fans.

Pau Gasol railroaded Garnett on his way to eight offensive rebounds and a masterful offensive performance, showing every component you could ask for from your power forward. The question will be in Game 2, after all the jibber jabber, how both of these players respond to how Game 1 went.

If Gasol gets confident, feeling he’ll be able to repeat his Game 1 performance without a fight, he’s probably got another thing coming. KG may not be as “explosive” as he once was, but he is as tough, physical, and savvy as he’s ever been. Combine that with the new Bulls head coach’s work, and Gasol could be in for a rough day.

On the other hand, there’s nothing surprising about what Gasol did, not really. He’s the most skilled big man in the game (while Dwight Howard may be the best all around, I doubt anyone would argue that Gasol’s skill level is off the charts), and everything he did was well within his wheelhouse. We can get wrapped up in all the talk about toughness and pride, but at the end of the day, Gasol’s skills are in their prime while KG’s are on a down slide.

Perhaps most concerning for the Celtics is their lack of an alternative. Glen Davis can’t properly check Gasol’s length, speed, or versatility and would foul out before he could even order his tenth hotdog. Rasheed Wallace is somewhat of a better fit, but again, physically doesn’t have it in him to match up. The Celtics are facing a problem they may just have to live with. Which is fine, that’ usually an element in any playoff matchup. You can let a great player be great, as long as you shut down the rest of the team.

The problem is that the Celtics already are facing a guy like that in Kobe Bryant. Having two guys you just have to “accept” are going to kill you changes things from vulnerability management to “pain therapy.”

Gasol could very well have an off night tonight. But if he doesn’t, it’s difficult to see from here how the Celtics would be able to counter. That’s what happens after every game in the playoffs. We can’t see things shifting from how they were ten minutes ago.

  1. rufe - Jun 6, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    On Thursday all I had seen in this section was Celtics articles. Now this is the only one. You know, about pride and hard work and toughness. And of course everybody commenting on it. Now, just this one lonely article. Wonder what happened? Oh yeah. Now I remember.

  2. ccs714 - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Well there isn’t much to talk about when it comes to game I and CELTICS is there. We will see if there is something to talk about after game II. This is a big game tonight because of the 2-3-2 playoff. I wish they would keep it like the other playoff 2-2-1-1-1. No reason to change it for the Finals. BTW..GO LAKERS!!
    Carl

  3. zygoma - Jun 6, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    This series will be a bruising bloodbath because of how closely these teams are matched. Look for seven games, no doubt about it.

  4. Tom Merritt - Jun 6, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    I’m a Celtics fan but if Garnett could play 25% as much as he talks he would be better off. I don’t know what is wrong with him, if he is injured or if it is just high mileage on his legs but he is a shadow of what he once was and Allen is not far behind. They had two tough series in which they played great and overcame but I don’t think they have close to enough to beat the Lakers this time. I just don’t think there is much gas left in the tank.
    Garnett should save some of the energy he wastes banging his head against the basket support and apply it to guarding someone. He wastes so much energy it’s incredible. Never saw Bill Russell do any of that crap. I expect to see Garnett continue to get his hat handed to him for the rest of the series.
    Celtics have had an excellent year and have gone further than expected with a lot of old legs. It would be an incredible accomplishment if they came back and beat the Lakers.

  5. johnnywad - Jun 6, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    Well said Tom Merritt, I concur

  6. pma - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    You need an editor. Typos. Bad Grammar. You have got it all.

  7. Will Stevens - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    This a 7-game series, we Laker fans hope Pau Gasol and the team sweep the Celtics. I don;t think they can do it but that would be nice…we will see…Go Lakers!

  8. jason - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    I watched kg in mn for his whole career and he was nver as good as asol is now. kg could never score and still cant and thats is why we were never able to go over the top

  9. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    First off, I’m a Laker fan and I would love to see PAYBACK as we get Sweet 16.
    However.
    Cut KG some slack. I watched the game at least 4 times and I noticed that he did play well. Took shots, caused some shots to be affected on the defensive end and got some decent rebounds. People called into question his play because of those 2 chippies he failed to take point blank. Those two plays magnified everything the perception of his old legs.
    I know fellow Lakers fans, don’t wake up the sleeping dragon and give the Celtics motivation.
    But I’ll be damned. I rather skewer a livid dragon. Where’s the glory in killing a sleeping one?

  10. NRESQ - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Uh, ya think KG’s defense, or lack thereof, might have been on anyone’s mind? Gasol schooled him, and will do so throughout the series. Lakers in 5.

  11. Jude Sigler - Jun 7, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    I found the replay over here at sportssvideoss.blogspot.com
    It asks you to do a little survey but then it should get you right to the replay!

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