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Don’t blame refs for Lakers loss to Celtics in Game 2

What happened to the Lakers in the final few minutes of game two of the NBA Finals? Rajon Rondo is the answer. But that’s starting at the end of the story.

The Celts 103-94 victory wasn’t inevitable. The game could have gone either way down the stretch, but let’s just go back to the beginning.

Ray Allen created an NBA Finals record of seven three-pointers in one half. He left the court at half-time with 27 total points. The rest of the big four were lagging way behind with most of it due to foul trouble and some Lakers defense.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were ineffective offensively and Rondo had not begun the heroics. The entire front line of the Celts was in foul trouble including back-up Glenn Davis, and yet the Lakers needed a three-pointer from Kobe Bryant to bring his team within six at half-time.

Thoughts for the home team at the half?

Well, how about putting a body on Allen, slow up on the outside shots that don’t drop and cause fast breaks led by Rondo, keep giving the ball to Bynum who was effective on both ends of the floor, send a search party for LO and tell Ron Artest to get his head in the game.

How did the boys in purple and gold do with that to-do list? Allen only had five more points the entire game, but managed another three-pointer, breaking the existing record of seven in an NBA Finals game.

Odom was still MIA, Bynum had a career night in a playoff game, Gasol and he blocked 13 shots between them and despite Artest dribbling more than a teething infant, the Lakers kept it close, even leading with five minutes left in the contest.

And then the Rondo show began. Kobe had five fouls and had to be as delicate as possible. The inside game of the Lakers was thwarted, turnovers were committed at the most inopportune times and Rondo was absolutely everywhere.

He was like Batman in “The Dark Knight”. You didn’t know what angle he was coming from but he was there to hurt you with scoring, passing and rebounds. With his second triple-double of the post season, Rondo made the Lakers pay.

Don’t listen to the critics who claim the officials tilted this game the Celts’ way. They punished both teams with fouls that were not there.

This was about no contributions from Odom and Artest, very little from Fisher, Kobe unable to score his average in the playoffs and Rondo emerging as the guy who can make the difference when two of the Big Four are absent offensively.

Now the scene shifts to Boston for Games 3, 4, and 5. The Celts haven’t defended home court as well as the Lakers this post-season and the Lakers have shown, against all their opponents in previous series that they can win on the road.

Game 3 starts Tuesday at 9 pm ET.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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