Boston is up 2-0 in the best of seven series. What's the reason? Paul Pierce playing crazy-good? Shots not dropping for Kobe? Odom and Gasol not showing up? Home court? Rondo killing Fisher? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. All that is much too obvious and written about. How about...
Hustle. Defense. Intensity. Intangibles. Grit. Guts. Gutty grits. Gritty guts.
Lakers need to blame defense, not refsThey should probably blame the refs, at least a little. 38-10 free-throw differential is insane. And it was like 38-2 until the fourth quarter.
So let me let me identify another cause: defense.
Sound argument. I can't wait for the stats Mr. Kriegal will use to back this up! (spoiler alert: they never come)
And yet another: hustle.
The reason for Boston winning is because they simply tried harder than those fairies in LA. Not a ridiculous FT diff. or better rebounding or Kobe notching as many points as shots taken or KG being unguardable.
To this point, Boston has been vastly superior in the coachable, if under-measured facets of the game.
They're not under-measured, they're immeasurable. But I suppose that's why you have a job - telling me, part of the unwashed masses, that a team is winning by some mysterious way that only you, the sportswriter can see.
I'm not pronouncing the Lakers dead, not yet. I covered the '93 Knicks, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Bulls with John Starks dunking over Michael Jordan. You know how that one turned out.
No, I don't know how "that one turned out." It was 15 years ago. I assume Jordan won.
But the Celtics — and I didn't think too much of them going into the Finals — have played as if they want it more.
Things sportswriters can intuit that mortals can't: who "wants it more."
Take Ray Allen, the weak link in Boston's so-called Big Three. A few weeks ago, it seemed as though his star status was about to be permanently revoked ... But he never took a possession off on defense.
Never. Not once. In "possessions taken 'on' on defense," Allen is a perfect 120-for-120.
He's also allowed Kobe to score 30 and 24 points. Did Kobe take a lot of shots? Yes. But Allen hasn't suddenly morphed into Bruce Bowen.
The league's Most Valuable Player went 9-for-26 in Game 1 and 11-for-23 in Game 2.
9-for-26 is pretty bad, but 11-23 is like 50 percent, which is not.
Fact: the Lakers are getting out-toughed and out-hustled by Ray Allen. The tough team that beat the Spurs in five games has gone soft.
The Ray Allen Hustlers: 2
The Kobe Braynt Loafers: 0