Nineteen points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. The Boston Celtics are gonna win the NBA Championship this month, and unlike last time around, it’ll have a whole lot to do with Rajon Rondo and very little to do with Kevin Garnett. My man had a triple-double and blew open a tie game midway through the final quarter, scoring 10 points in the final six minutes to lead Boston to a 103-94 road win over the Lakers to even the Finals at a game apiece.
Rondo and the Celtics led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, picking up eight threes and 27 points from Ray Allen in the first 24 minutes alone, before an LA run evened things going into the fourth. After six quality minutes from Tiny Robinson, Rondo re-entered and took over, scoring on a couple drives, knocking down a jumper and forcing a steal on a late Kobe Bryant three to help put it away. Bryant, for the most part, was un-Kobe-like offensively, finishing with just 21 points on 8-of-20 while playing with foul trouble all night, though the majority of the fouls on both ends were questionable to say the least.
The Lakers adjusted defensively and held Allen to just five second half points, but his 32 for the game was enough to offset brutal nights from Garnett and Paul Pierce, who combined to score 16 points on just four field goals. Like Bryant, KG was plagued with foul trouble, but was extremely inefficient when actually on the floor. This guy is a former Defensive Player of the Year and he can’t even guard the other team’s top big man? He finished with six points and four boards in 24 minutes but managed to chip in six of the Celtics’ 28 assists — a category they finished plus-10 in.
While Allen set a Finals record with eight total threes, the Lakers set one of their own: They blocked 14 Boston shots, 13 of which came from big boys Andrew Bynum (seven) and Pau Gasol (six). Gasol’s 25 points were a team-high, while Bynum matched Kobe’s offensive effort with 21.
The win bumps the Celtics back into the driver’s seat with the next three in Boston, starting with Game 3 on Tuesday night. Assuming they don’t take all three, they’ll likely have to come back to Los Angeles to win it, with the only question being whether it’ll be one or two they’ll have to take. I’m gonna stick to what I called in the beginning — Boston in six, with the Lakers taking Game 5 and the Celtics closing it out on the road.