Since I've been calling for him to get more time since the Atlanta series I feel vindicated by Leon Powe's performance. 21 points (6-7 from the field, 9-13 from the line), 2 rebounds, and 4 fouls in close to 15 minutes of time. I'm not sure if he got more time because Kendrick Perkins was hurt or if Powe simply caught lightning in a bottle and Doc Rivers let it happen. Either way Powe got after the Lakers in Game 2. He was Boston's second leading scorer.
Over the next couple of days a lot will be made about the Lakers impressive comeback. And it was impressive. I definitely noticed that it was a lot easier for the Lakers in general (think Ronny Turiaf on lobs) and Kobe Bryant in particular to get to the rim when Perkins is on the bench. As much as I like Powe, Perkins' health is important to Boston's defensive efforts.
Anyone who reads even a couple of NBA blogs, Green Bandwagon included, eventually comes across people complaining about the referees. So it's odd to be on the other side of it. I'm sure Lakers fans are not happy. And it's hard to argue with them when Powe shoots more free throws than all of LA's roster. In fact Boston's free throw advantage was staggering - 38-10. In a way it is reminiscent of Boston in earlier rounds when the Celtics simply shot jumpers and didn't get to the line. That definitely happened a bit for the Lakers tonight. But I thought Boston benefited from some weak calls, while simultaneously bumping Lakers all over the defensive end of the court. Of course Vladimir Radmanovic benefited from a loose translation of the traveling rules, which is a NBA tradition.
I'm not going to call Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom soft. However, I can understand the argument that you can punch those guys in the mouth and they'll disappear. They both came out strong in the first quarter. Yet later on I thought, "What are those guys doing?" And yet Gasol finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
I was impressed by how unflappable LA was in the second half of the 4th quarter. Great comeback. Still let's not overlook the fact that they fell into a hole that was too deep to escape. Sure they hit some clutch shots, made some impressive defensive plays, refused to back down, and ultimately made it downright frightening. Yet Powe's dunk show, in particular when he dribbled right through Gasol and Sasha Vujacic, should not be forgotten.
Paul Pierce. Still the Truth.
Kevin Garnett is one of those players that scores 17 points and grabs 14 rebounds and he had an off game.
I'm watching Kobe Bryant face the media right now. He looks furious. It just occurred to me. He has a great "mean face". He also just pulled off a great sarcastic, "I didn't notice" when asked about the foul shot discrepancy.
Heading into the series I was incredibly concerned about the how the benches would match up. Right now Boston's subs are taking it to LA's. And Powe was definitely a big part of that in Game 2.
If you're looking for a new catch phrase "play the score", courtesy of Jeff Van Gundy, might be it.
That's if for now. Plenty more tomorrow.