Up by 24 with less then eight minutes to play last night, the Celtics appeared to have things well in hand. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Boston was holding on for dear life as Kobe Bryant and the Lakers stormed back to within two points with under a minute to play. Four free throws allowed the Celtics to escape with the 108-102 victory and take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.
Marc J. Spears has the Celtics sweating out the late LA rally to beat the Lakers. In the Herald, Mark Murphy has Leon Powe proving to be a super-sub in the Celtics victory. Kevin McNamara has the Lakers unable to close the deal on what would’ve been one of the greatest escapes in NBA history. Dan Shaughnessy has the front-page game story in the Globe, as the Celtics sit two wins from a championship. Bill Doyle has the Celtics able to (barely) hold off the Lakers surge and emerge with the victory. Paul Doyle writes that there isn’t too much good that can be taken from the final minutes of this one. Scott Souza has Powe helping provide the Celtics just enough of a lead to keep the Lakers at bay. Jeff Howe has the Celtics hanging on in this one.
Bob Ryan has Leon Powe proving to be the X-factor last night as the second year forward came off the bench and lit the Lakers up for 21 points. Steve Bulpett notes that Powe’s work inside is what allowed the Celtics to have a big enough lead that ultimately proved to be too much for the Lakers to overcome. Robert Lee has Powe proving to be a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court last night. Mike Fine has Powe stealing the show from the bigger stars last night.
Jeff Jacobs says that the Celtics are lucky that last night was only a scare. Steve Buckley has Doc Rivers and the Celtics not satisfied with just having the 2-0 series lead, especially with how they ended the game last night. Lenny Megliola has the Celtics able to defend their house in the first two games of the series. Julian Benbow has the Celtics disappointed in their four quarter letdown. Lee has Ray Allen saying that the Celtics will need to be better finishers in LA. Jim Fenton says that the Celtics cannot afford a repeat of this late game collapse out in LA.
Tony Massarotti comes dangerously close to gutless hero worshiper territory in fawning over Paul Pierce’s performance in the finals thus far. Monique Walker has the knee proving to be no problem for Pierce last night. Jason Whitlock says that Paul Pierce is an original, you can’t really compare his game and skillset to any other player in NBA history. In that piece, Whitlock closes by taking several shots at Kevin Garnett. Bill Reynolds says that the Garden angels were clearing watching over Pierce last night.
Jennifer Toland has Kendrick Perkins’ ankle feeling well enough to allow him to start and contribute last night. Dan Ventura has Rajon Rondo and his teammates finding success in assisting others. Lee looks at the bench play of the two clubs, an area where the Celtics had a big advantage last night. Buckley says that the Celtics for the most part don’t mind the late starts, and has Big Baby providing a movie review of “The Prestige.” Massarotti also chimes in with a piece that examines the contrast between the coaches in this NBA Finals.
Spears’ Courtside chatter segment has Big Al Jefferson among those at the Garden last night supporting his former teammates. Laura Crimaldi has fan reaction to Paul Pierce’s injury and some other items from the series. Benbow has a look at some of the global media converging on the NBA finals these days. Ventura has Cedric Maxwell claiming that the “Climb on my back, boys” story from the 1984 Finals, game 7 is a myth. Howe tells us that this rivalry has changed over the years.
In Vega’s notebook, Doc Rivers dishes out some praise to Rajon Rondo, who piled up 16 assists for the Celtics. Over in Murphy’s notebook, Jefferson talks about his good friend Perkins, and about the support of the Boston fans. McNamara’s notebook has the Lakers claiming that the Garden was a bit too cold.Doyle’s notebook has Rondo clearly grasping his role in the first two games of the series. Doyle’s notebook has NBA Commish David Stern talking about the start times.
Shira Springer has Kobe Bryant channeling his anger and frustration into the fourth quarter comeback by his team. Tim Weisberg says that there hasn’t been much sizzle on the Kobe steak thus far in this series. Steve Conroy has the Lakers irate over the discrepancy in foul shots between the two clubs last night.
Walker has Memphis GM Chris Wallace still hearing criticism about the Pau Gasol trade which turned the Lakers season around. Barbara Matson has the Lakers bench proving to be a disappointment last night. Matson also has a look at former model and actress Bonnie-Jill Laflin, who is serving as a scout for the Lakers.
Springer’s notebook has Lakers coach Phil Jackson unhappy with the disparity at the free throw line between the clubs.
Amalie Benjamin has Justin Masterson and J.D. Drew providing the elements of another Red Sox win at Fenway. Michael Silverman has the Justin Masterson story looking more and more like a full page novel. Jeff Goldberg has Masterson keeping his cool in the heat at Fenway. Steven Krasner takes note of another great all-around game from Drew in this one. Bill Ballou has the Sox depth proving itself once again.
Rob Bradford has Terry Francona taking another chaotic week as Red Sox manager all in stride. Sean McAdam has Masterson continuing his mastery of the majors. Baxter Holmes has Masterson becoming the first Red Sox pitcher since 1912 to make his first four starts at Fenway and be unbeaten in all of them.
Krasner has more on the recent hot streak from J.D. Drew. Bradford has Jon Lester a bit perplexed by MLB’s logic in handing out suspensions. He also has Sean Casey introducing a cry from Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair into the Red Sox clubhouse culture. Joe McDonald has Chris Carter fulfilling several dreams in his short stint in the majors.
Benjamin’s notebook has David Ortiz downsizing the cast on his wrist. Silverman’s notebook has Dustin Pedroia doing more of the dirty work yesterday. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the lighter cast for Big Papi. The Projo notebook has Kevin Youkilis’ streak of errorless games coming to an end. Ballou’s notebook has more on Papi’s recovery and the news that Jacoby Ellsbury could be back in the lineup tomorrow night.
The Patriots wrapped up their mandatory mini-camp yesterday. Christopher L. Gasper and Mike Reiss have Tedy Bruschi excited for the new season and glad for some new help inside. Mark Farinella has Bruschi ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of a new season. Karen Guregian’s notebook has more on Bruschi.
David Heuschkel notes that with a year of experience in the system under his belt, Adalius Thomas is feeling a lot more comfortable. Karen Guregian has Thomas comfortable both inside and outside for the Patriots. Farinella’s notebook also has Thomas feeling settled in on defense.
Shalise Manza Young looks at Tank Williams, who hopes to be a big hit in the Patriots secondary this season. Rich Garven has the Patriots new defensive backs getting their work in at camp this weekend. Dan Pires takes a look at Laurence Maroney, who is clearly now the Patriots’ undisputed No. 1 running back.