June 9, 2008
Zip! Bang! Crank! POWE!
It was like an old episode of Batman last night in Boston, with the hometown team collectively assuming the role of Adam West and the visiting Lakers playing the part of hapless bank robbers in for a comedic ass-whoopin’. For three quarters the Celtics reduced the Lake Show to a Sideshow, hinting at a possible wrap-up of this year’s NBA title in as little as five games by asserting themselves on both ends of the floor in dominating fashion.
It wasn’t until the fourth that the Lakers decided to punch back and show they belonged in staging one of the greatest comebacks in NBA playoffs history… but unfortunately for Lakers fans it was too little, too late.
Before this series began I opinioned that the real NBA Finals had already come and gone when the Celtics eliminated the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals; I’ve still not seen anything from the Lakers to prove me incorrect. For all the hullabaloo made about the Western Conference this season, none of those teams match up to the East’s top two squads. Prove me wrong, Lakers, prove me wrong.
Leon Powe Photo Credit: Icon SMI
The stars shined for Boston in Game 2: KG went for 17 and 14, Paul “Walk on Water” Pierce had 28 points and 8 assists, and Ray Allen dropped 17, including 3 triples. Starting PG Rajon Rondo—if he wasn’t a household name before the Finals began, he’s quickly becoming one—was superb in logging more minutes than any of his teammates (41:50) and dishing 16 assists while only committing 2 turnovers and attempting just 4 shots. The young man knows his role and is doing it incredibly well to this point.
But this night belonged to another young Celtic, Mr. Leon Powe. You’re going to be reading a lot about this kid today and tomorrow, and with good reason. At one point the second-year bruiser out of California had notched 16 points in just 10 minutes of action, including two massive-big dunks in the face of hapless Lakers who wanted no part of what Powe was bringing (yes, I’m talking to you Pau).
On the night, Powe played just over 14 minutes and walked off the floor with 21 points on 6-7 shooting from the field and 9-13 on free throws. That’s three more attempts than the Lakers shot as a team. Indeed, the 38 to 10 free-throw attempts disparity between the Celtics and Lakers is something Phil Jackson is no doubt very displeased with.
The second black eye for NBA officiating during these playoffs aside, Game 2 belonged to Powe, who basically fell out of Doc Rivers’ rotation against the Pistons but, apparently, never let it get to him. The man was not to be denied last night, driving to the hole like a possessed demon time and time again and throwing it down like he was all by himself on a deserted court in his hometown of Oakland… not on the biggest stage the sport of basketball has to offer.
It was awesome—there’s no other way to put it. We all assumed Boston’s All-Stars would carry the load in the Celtics march towards a title, and so far they have. But it just might be efforts from the supporting cast, like Leon Powe’s in Game 2, that ultimately seal the deal.