Thursday, June 12, 2008
Big Game, Bigger Problem
For all intents and purposes, tonight's the Big One in this series. A Celtic win puts LA in a tough hole; a Laker win results in a complete momentum shift, with another game in Botox-land. It's as simple as that. In terms of storylines - and we'll get to the whole referee mess in a minute - there are plenty.
Most seem to believe that we won't see another 8 for 35 combined from the field for KG and Pierce. I concur. Shank Shaughnessy actually pens a pretty decent article this morning imploring KG to work more inside. He's been nailing his mid-range jumper throughout the playoffs, but he was cold the other night. But when you look at the Laker bigs - namely Gasol and Odom - it's hard to believe KG can't assert himself more in the paint. I think we see a return of the jumper falling tonight, mixed in with some slashing to the net. As for Pierce, we'll settle for half the guy we saw in Game 2. You also have to wonder about the fatigue factor, flying to LA, etc. Hopefully a little rest does these two some good.
Rajon Rondo is another question mark. He rolled his ankle pretty good the other night, and spent most of the remainder of the evening wearing warm-ups and watching Eddie House fire away. He told the media that he's ready to go for Game 4, but we'll see how much it affects him. Kendrick Perkins is on record as saying that Rondo's the key and I agree wholeheartedly. When he's penetrating, dishing, hitting that baseline jumper, and agitating the other team's ballhandlers, the C's win.
Next topic: Sasha Vujacic. Damn, he killed us the other night. Bet Doc didn't dream that he'd have to put some specific thinking into how to stop this dude. He's been the balance between the disappointing performances so far of Gasol and Odom. I'll just reiterate here what I've been saying to a few buddies all along. Personnel-wise, from 1 to 12, this Boston Celtics team is flat-out better than this Lakers team. I truly don't think there's much room for debate. It's up to Doc and the C's to make that play out in the end result.
Ok - now turning to the giant elephant in the room. First off, who would have thunk that bumbling Bud Selig would show more command and balls in a time of crisis than David Stern? I understand that the stakes are incredibly high and Stern has to reject everything Tim Donaghy says. The NBA is his baby and it's surely done well under his watch. But the commish must know that at the very least, he's got a huge perception problem on his hands with the credibility/integrity of his refs. In my humble opinion, he's doing himself and the league a huge disservice by not staying out in front of this and offering solutions. Maybe he takes a different tack when the Finals are over.
Oh, and by the way - why isn't ESPN devoting the same amount/level of coverage to this scandal as it did to Spygate? And where's Senator Sphincter? (Oh right - the Sixers weren't involved). This latest sports scandal is far more serious than Spygate, steroids, Pete Rose, maybe even the Black Sox throwing the World Series in 1919
And with that, one more note on tonight's game - the focus on the refs in the last few days should help the Celtics. Will there ever be a more scrutinized group of officials than the ones who will ref the next few games?
9-2 ... Question of the night (in the spirit of Bartolo Colon's performance so far) - Best Fat Pitchers.Post a Comment