June 9, 2008


Celtics Maintain Hold on Series: Pierce Hits Two Crucial Free Throws As Boston Derails Lakers' Comeback (Michael Lee, 6/09/08, Washington Post)

Paul Pierce, playing on one good leg, was a marksman from beyond the three-point line and moved around as if the brace and bandage on his right knee were there for decorative purposes. Point guard Rajon Rondo was blocking the shots of 6-foot-10 forwards and dunking on the other end. And Leon Powe, a little-used and little-known reserve, was driving the length of the floor and dunking -- and being serenaded by the crowd in the fourth quarter.

For the Boston Celtics and their fans, it was 40 minutes of fun, the kind that results in 24-point leads and premature celebrations. But the thrill of an apparent beatdown was replaced by angst, then horror, as Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers took little more than seven minutes to trim that big lead to just two points.

In a town that has experienced some professional sports heartbreak, the Celtics almost added to the agony with an incredible meltdown in the NBA Finals -- until Pierce finally calmed down his team and its fans. First, he got to the foul line and hit two free throws to stem the tide, then he forced Lakers reserve Sasha Vujacic into a bad miss on the other end, setting up two James Posey free throws that secured a 108-102 victory.

The Celtics now lead this best-of-seven series 2-0, with Game 3 Tuesday in Los Angeles.

If the Lakers weren't so obviously over-rated, you'd almost believe they'd tried rope-a-doping.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2008 6:35 AM
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