Celtics 103, Lakers 94
It certainly wasn't pretty, but the Celtics could care less. All that matters in their minds is the fact that the NBA Finals are all knotted up at 1-1.
Ray Allen's record-setting shooting display looked like it would be the key moment(s) of the game throughout the first half, as he almost single-handedly led the Celtics to a 14-point lead. But the Lakers didn't quit, put together a strong run to close the half and eventually took the lead less than two minutes into the third quarter.
The teams battled back and forth from that point on, with neither team opening up a lead larger than four points for the next 15 minutes. That's when Rajon Rondo decided to take over the game and will his team to a victory and critical split of the first two games of this series. He scored eight of his 19 points in the final five minutes of the game and put together the biggest sequence of the series to this point.
With the Celtics leading 93-90 and just 2:14 remaining in the game, Derek Fisher threw a pump fake that Rondo bit on, leaving him out of position as Fisher rose up for a huge shot attempt near the top of the key. But Rondo's All-Defensive First Team instincts took over, telling him to extend his arm from behind Fisher and block the shot from an unorthodox position. He did it, and he did it perfectly clean. Not only was the shot blocked, but Rondo kept it inbounds and it wound up in Paul Pierce's hands.
Pierce tossed the outlet pass to Rondo, who was sprinting toward Boston's basket, that ignited a 2-on-1 fast break for the C's. Allen eventually wound up missing two straight shots for Boston, but luckily for the Celts, a video review held up a call and allowed them to retain possession for a third attempt at a score. The Celtics took the ball out of bounds underneath their basket, and on the ensuing possession Allen found Rondo for a great look at a 20-footer that he drilled to put his team ahead by five with only 1:50 remaining in the game.
That's all the Celtics needed, as the lead would eventually swell to 10 in the final minute. Rondo's critical back-to-back plays sealed the deal for the C's, and now they're heading back to Boston with home court advantage in their back pocket.
Key Box Score Line
How do you outperform a triple-double? Just do something that's never been done before in NBA history.
Rajon Rondo's night was incredible, but Ray Allen's was historic. He was electric tonight, drilling 3s left and right throughout the first 24 minutes of the game. When the Celtics went into halftime with a six-point lead, they could thank their lucky stars that Allen was on their side, because he had already tied an NBA Finals record with seven made 3-pointers. He would eventually nail his eighth in the second half, putting him all alone in the Finals record book.
Allen finished the night with 32 points while shooting an astonishing 8-of-11 from downtown and 11-of-20 overall. He was absolutely unstoppable in the first half, and his night will easily be as one of the greatest 3-point shooting performances of all time.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for 16 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
- Three Lakers starters (Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest) were each whistled for at least five fouls. Artest fouled out of the game.
- Los Angeles took 41 free throw attempts to Boston's 26.
- The Celtics outrebounded the Lakers 44-39.
- Byant scored 21 points for Los Angeles, but shot only 8-of-20 from the floor.
- Ray Allen set an NBA Finals record with eight 3-pointers made. He scored a game-high 32 points.
- Andrew Bynum (seven blocks) and Pau Gasol (six blocks) combined for 13 blocked shots. The Lakers blocked an NBA Finals record 14 total shots.
- Rajon Rondo was the only player to grab at least 10 rebounds. He finished with a triple-double of 19 points and game-highs of 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
- The Celtics shot 42.9 percent and the Lakers shot 40.8 percent.
- Gasol took a game-high 13 free throws, making 12. Bynum took 12, making nine.
- Bryant finished with a game-high five turnovers.
- The Celtics assisted on 28 of their 36 made field goals.
- Boston outscored Los Angeles 36-26 in points in the paint and 11-4 in fast break points.
- Glen Davis (eight points), Rasheed Wallace (seven points) and Nate Robinson (seven points) all played well off the bench for Boston.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on the team's composure in the second half after blowing an early lead: "For us to weather that storm with guys in foul trouble, we had to use every big. I'm just really proud of all of them."