- The Season's Over -

Leon Powe Flexes Muscles, Smacks Lakers

June 9, 2008

Leon Powe, Unlikely NBA Finals Game 2 HeroZip! 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.

Related: Leon Powe, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Postcards from LA

2 Comments »Posted by Brian Spencer on Jun. 9, 2008 at 11:54 am in NBA

2 Responses

I’ve wanted to go against the prevailing wisdom all year that LA had one of the better benches in the league all season. I didn’t see enough Western Conf. basketball to say so without feeling like I was talking out of my ass.

So far in the finals, the bench has looked meek and overmatched. We’ll see how they respond in LA, but at this point I think its not Kobe’s perimiter game or the calls that have been LA’s downfall, its been been the Celtics bench outplaying the LA bench.

Posted by: phil anselmo on June 9th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

“Powe always seems to make good things happen when he’s on the court with relentless hustle and work ethic. Leon is undersized at 6-8 and his 8 points with 4 boards a game this season won’t wow anybody. The Boston faithful know he can have an impact on games though. Powe has a knack for getting tough rebounds, keeping balls alive and making timely put-backs.

With Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant relentlessly attacking the Boston front line they will be in dire need of big bodies who can provide quality minutes… and a few fouls. I expect the offensive prowess and speed of the Lakers to negate the lumbering Glen “Big Baby” Davis, making the more agile and versatile Powe a more attractive option. If given more minutes all Powe needs to do is show up with his excellent timing, boxing out and hustle to make a difference.”

I found that prescient analysis on this great article previewing the series:

http://www.emptythebench.com/2008/06/03/steppin-2-electric-boogaloo-five-potential-unexpected-heroes-for-the-boston-celtics/

That Andrew Thell, he must be, like, clairvoyant or something.

Posted by: Andrew Thell on June 12th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

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