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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: The good news and the bad news for Boston's offense

Jun 9, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

Celtics_bench.jpgAs the Celtics look to move on from their Game 3 loss, they can find some redemption in how much they were able to accomplish with so little going right. As much as I’d like to say that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were smothered by the Lakers’ defense, that doesn’t quite do justice to just how much the shooting of the two left to be desired.

L.A. clearly learned a few things after Ray Allen turned Game 2 into a resume-builder, as the Laker bigs did a better job of preventing open looks and the guards a superior job of chasing him down. But even a team of the world’s most disciplined defenders won’t prevent Ray from getting open at some point, and on numerous occasions Allen found himself open beyond the arc or within it.

Clearly, something was different in Game 3. Allen elevated in idyllic form — his back a straight, steady, and perfectly vertical support from which his arms would heave yet another faultless attempt — but his shots met a less idyllic result. Ray just…missed. Quite a few times, actually. There weren’t flaws in his mechanics, but only the reality that no matter how good of a shooter Allen is or could ever hope to be, he’s going to have nights like this one. Obviously it’d be preferable if those nights didn’t come during the NBA finals, but what are you going to do.

Pan to Paul Pierce, one Celtic capable of making up for Allen’s poor shooting with a three-point assault of his own or another well-timed scoring explosion. Yet Paul wasn’t much help, either. He too missed some very makeable shots — some of them wide open — and finished with just 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. His three hits from outside were much-needed, but this is the second straight performance in this series where Pierce has failed to produce in the scoring column, with his only fault being his inability to hit the shots he’s worked so hard to get.

This is Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, two fine scorers, both going cold at just the wrong time. They’re getting open, they’re getting the shots they want (on some occasions, but not all), but the ball just can’t find its way through the net. Factor in a decent but somewhat uninspired performance by Rajon Rondo, and it’s easy to understand why the Celtics lost in Boston: they were waiting on the arrival of two heroes that never showed.

Still, the nature of the Celtics’ struggles should leave Boston fans somewhat optimistic. Everything that transpired in Game 3 can be fixed with some troubleshooting and a bit of luck, and should Pierce and Allen return to form for Game 4, we could see another tiebreaker as both 2-2 teams square off in Game 5. You’d have to think that both Celtics would be able to rebound from their poor Game 3 performances in one way or another, and if not, Boston will have to get creative in using the mere threat of their offense to open up opportunities for Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace, and others.

That’s where things could get a bit dicey. The bad news is that the Celtics don’t have a ton of weapons, and thus they need the scorers they do have to produce. The good news is that the scorers they do have are so experienced and so skilled, that it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be kept down for a significant portion of this series. Even if Ron Artest is playing tough defense and the entire Laker team is aware of Allen’s cuts and streaks, Paul and Ray are plenty capable of rebounding in Game 4.     

  1. Anonymous - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Hahaha.. Idiot Paul Pierce may have actually predicted correctly when he said that Boston wouldn’t be going back to L.A in this series.
    That could come true if the Lakers play like last night and sweep the Celts at home. I can’t think of a sweeter ending to this season!

  2. Dan_TM - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    The same thing you say about Allen and Pierce can be applied to Kobe Bryant. He can shoot better. Though I give a lot of credit to the Boston D, there were some shots that were Open for Bryant as well that he simply didn’t make.

  3. DCLAKERFAN - Jun 9, 2010 at 4:43 PM


  4. Steve - Jun 9, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Kind of a dumb article. Yeah Ray Allen won’t go 0 for 13, but he won’t go 8 for 11 either. Garnett played so far over his head that I think he’s done for the series. To his credit, he gave everything he had, just like Allen did in game 2. Paul Pierce is making some nice shots, but he’s having to work hard to get them. Celts are flat worn out. They’re a good team, but they will not be able to stay with the Lakers in this next game. My prediction: Lakers game 4, Celts rally for last gasp game 5, lakers take care of business at home in game 6

  5. MD - Jun 9, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    I’m so happy that people are getting to know that The Lakers are not a team to just be push around. It is a PAY DAY time Boston get use to it!! Suppoters of Celtics do yourselves a favor and stop saying “BEAT LA”. Instead, it should be “BEAT CELTS”. Coach Rivers, please stop the crying for now, because you need to save your tears for the D-Day, which is going to be Sunday, 06-13-10. Jerry Buss just sent our vetory T-Shirts by way of a chater Jet Blue flight to Boston! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  6. MD - Jun 9, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    I’m so happy that people are getting to know that The Lakers are not a team to just be push around. It is a PAY DAY time Boston get use to it!! Suppoters of Celtics do yourselves a favor and stop saying “BEAT LA”. Instead, it should be “BEAT CELTS”. Coach Rivers, please stop the crying for now, because you need to save your tears for the D-Day, which is going to be Sunday, 06-13-10. Jerry Buss just sent our vetory T-Shirts by way of a chater Jet Blue flight to Boston! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  7. Lakers Fans Suck - Jun 9, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    For all of the Lakers fans on here giving their “OPINIONS” I’m glad to know that yall have faith that you might win it by Sunday BUT unfortunately Jack Nicholas is not a ref in Boston so you won’t get that call. Keep hope alive that Bynum will become Shaq and that Gasol will not be Gasoft next game. We own yall and always will. I will pray for yall because apparently yall missed church this past Sunday.
    Boston 9 – 2 over the Lakers!!!!!
    You do the math!

  8. avomonster - Jun 9, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    You must be joking.
    The Celtics poor shooting had nothing to do with the Lakers defending the crap out of them? Really? What game did you watch? Maybe you were wearing the Chowd-Vision glasses, the Boston version of rose-colored-spectacles. But, seriously, this is more bulletin board material for the Lakers. They get no respect, from you, or any of the meathead writers.
    But, let’s give credit where it is due. Paul “The Psychic” Pierce, what an effing prediction dude. You are not going back to LA. It’s the Lakers in 5, TD Garden Sweep, and maybe “The Psychic” and “Doc” can find a nice fishin’ hole in the Hamptons.

  9. mike - Jun 9, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Writer of this article does not appreciate the defence of Lakers.HE has not mentioned anywhere that laker did a great defence that why ray and paul cannot make their shots. Go lakerssssssssssss

  10. mike - Jun 9, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    The writer of this article does not appreciate the defence of the lakers. The defence that make them miss the shots. Just watch laker will finish the things in 6 games. They will bring celtics back to LA and beat them in LA. Go Lakerssssssssssssssssssss

  11. Kathy - Jun 9, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Celtics will take game four, know why? Whenever Ray Allen has an off night he goes out and shoots and shoots for hours. He is going to be great on Thursday. Garnet is feeling great now too. Ray didn’t have that bad of a night, half of his missed shots were blocked. I love Derek Fischer- he did great!

  12. Jason - Jun 10, 2010 at 1:40 AM

    Who the f**ks Jack Nicholas. Its Jack Nicholson, you re-taahd. Jack Nicklaus is a golfer.

  13. Omnius - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Maybe that Boston Tabloid rag could put out an APB on the Celtics offense. Sorry but the Ancient Celtics don’t have an offense, not one that could compete in the Wild Wild West but muddles them through the Eastern CreamPuff Conference. So far we haven’t seen the Lakers offense playing smart ball but as we saw it gets better as the series moves along and the Lakers figure out how to attack the defenses against them. Better watch out Boston because Kobe has yet to have a breakout game where he scores in the high 30’s or even low 40’s. Odom hasn’t had his good game yet either. I’m sure Ray Allen will shoot better but will Garnett? It will be interesting to watch tonight to see which team prevails as Boston has a must win game and the Lakers want to put their boot heels on Aging Gang Green. Lakers in 6 games, though 5 would be Sweeter Revenge!

  14. Lion Woods - Jun 10, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Paul Pierce is a player that seems to talk a little to much trash. He mentioned that Boston has more knowledgable fans because in LA the fans just show up to get out of the house. Pierce was raised in LA and I have attended more than a few championship series at the Forum and Staples. Pierce is a decent forward but he just doesn’t have that extra something that Kobe and the gang seem to have this season. I’ll pick the Lakers tonight in Game 4 unless the refs pander to the League Bigwigs and their craving for a 7 game series. As for Ray Allen… did he take Game 2 off or what? Good player but I have to question his motivation. Check his bank account because 0 for 13 or 0 for 14 sounds awfully like someone who had his mind and jump shot elsewhere. Maybe he left it in the locker room at Staples… lol; oh and Pierce mentioned after Game 2 that Boston wouldn’t be coming back to Staples this season. He just might get his wish.

  15. AllenFORTHREE - Jun 10, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Are you from Mexico? – looks like that from how you write.

  16. dragonsscape - Jun 10, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    That’s Jack Nicholson!!!!!!!!!!!! Figures a Celtic fan wouldn’t know that. Not sure who are Boston’s celebrities unless its the bunch of regulars @ Cheers

  17. dragonswizardz - Jun 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Aw, come on!!!!!! Be fair, fella!! Give some credit to the Lakers defense. Their team defense has been superb throughout the entire playoffs & never more so than during the first 3 games with the Celtics. The Celtics are an outstanding basketball team no question. But the fact remains indisputable ~~ the Lakers are out-playing them at all positions on both ends of the court. The reason for the Lakers 2-1 series lead has as much to do with their defense as it does with their offense. I’m a die-hard Laker fan (have been since 1962) but I don’t seriously expect (a) the Lakers to sweep the remaining games in Boston, (b) the Celtics to win it in 4 or (c) that this will be a less than 7 game series. Why? The teams are just too bloody &, if the refs stop blowing so many whistles, this can be another knockdown Laker-Celtics final (Lakers in 6).

  18. Wolfen - Jun 10, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Are you from Alabama? Looks like it from how you write.

  19. Beantown - Jun 10, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    The Celts ARE old,and worn down. But they have more mental toughness that the fakers. They will not quit,and unless the refs are intent on making the whole series a patty cake festival,they will win. Hats off to D.F., he saved the fakers single handedly,because like he usually does,the rapist reverts to thinking he’s Jordan,only lacking the clutch shots.
    Should go 7 games. And for the record,the soft as marshmallows fakers could have never won the last 2 series Boston did.

  20. Pat - Jun 10, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    9-2 is correct… But were not for a league with few quality teams and a ton of hall of famers on the celtics, do you really think in the modern era any team could win 7 or 8 titles in a row???? Props for the past( way, way, way past ) but really?? you own a 1-2 hole right now and nothing matter but the next couple games. Good luck to you Boston fans ( showing respect )it should be a great game tonight.. Reality Check!!!

  21. Joe - Jun 10, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Really? Creampuff East? Yeah, because two years ago Boston DIDN’T win the title? Or before the Spurs it was DETROIT taking home two in a row? REALLY??? Oh wait, let’s not forget about MIAMI. Outside of LA and San Antonio, I think the East’s top teams have proven stronger. The bottom may be weak, but the top is better than the top in the West. Boston will prove that again this series.

  22. Bob Nance - Jun 10, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    Hey Smeltic fan! We got 9 championships since 1980…you only got 4…those championships before the brothers got in the league don’t matter…oh yeah…Boston SUCKS…you’re done in 6!

  23. bnance - Jun 10, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Hopefully the refs aren’t pulling for the Smeltics…Fisher was fouled on every one of those shots…un-freaking believeable!

  24. PITA - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    what could be sweeter than beating the Celtics this year? Beating the old boys in front of their obnoxious fans. Sweeter yet, sweeping the green weenies off their front porch.

  25. yo - Jun 19, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Jack Nicklaus got lucky Garnett didn’t run him over!

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