In game 2 of the Lakers/Celtics series, the Celtics held a 38-10 free throw attempt advantage. In response to what struck Phil Jackson most about the Lakers coming up short, Jackson responded:
“I’m more struck by the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in (Powe’s) 14 minutes of play. That’s ridiculous.”
“You can’t play from a deficit like that; that we had in that half, 19-2 in the first half. I’ve never seen a game like that in all these years I’ve coached in the Finals. Unbelievable.”
“I think my players got fouled, I have no question about the fact my players got fouled and didn’t get to the line.”
Yet, despite these comments the NBA didn’t fine Jackson for criticizing the officials. Is it just me or is that an admission of guilt on the part of the NBA? How could they not fine Jackson for these comments? He is blatantly undermining the officials and unless the NBA is going to come out and say the officials didn’t do their jobs correctly, Jackson should be fined.
Would the tables be turned in Los Angeles for game 3? Well, the Lakers did get to the line 34 times to just 22 for the Celtics. But, this was not some attempt to right the wrongs from game 2. The Lakers were much more aggressive and Bryant finally realized he needed to penetrate into the paint and take the hits. Bryant settled for too many outside jumpers in Boston. He is not going to get the calls unless he welcomes the contact in the paint. Bryant was much more aggressive and got to the line 18 times. Were it not for his poor free throw percentage (11 of 18) Kobe could have reached 40 points in the Finals for the first time in his career. As it was, Bryant finished with 36 points on just 20 field goals. In the first two games in Boston, Bryant had just 54 points on 48 field goals.
What does this game prove? Absolutely nothing. The Lakers can look at the game and say they won despite just 13 combined points from Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. But the Celtics kept it close despite Garnett and Pierce going 8 for 35 from the field for just 19 points. Who knows what game 4 will bring, but it should definitely draw a big audience with the Lakers trying to tie the series in Los Angeles on Thursday night.