The Finals, Game 2: We have a series.

The Lakers withstood a lights-out shooting clinic by Ray Allen in the first half (7-for-7 from long range) and only trailed by six at halftime. They actually led by three with 5:20 to play, but the Celtics rattled off 11 straight points to take an eight-point lead with just 1:12 to play. They went on to win, 103-94.

The Boston backcourt was the key to the game. Rajon Rondo posted his fifth career playoff triple-double (19-12-10) and Ray Allen poured in 32 points on 8-of-11 shooting from long range. Nate Robinson also came off the bench to score seven points in a crucial six-minute stretch early in the fourth quarter. His play gave Doc Rivers an opportunity to rest a winded Rondo, which made him fresh for the stretch run (where he made several key plays to win the game).

Kevin Garnett (6-4-6) didn’t play very well but had a few nice assists in the second half. Likewise, Paul Pierce went 2-of-11 and scored just 10 points. In the pregame, Mark Jackson stressed that the C’s had to outplay the Lakers at the forward positions, but it was the Boston guards who decided the game. When the Celtics were able to get stops, they were really pushing the ball via Rondo, and that led to open shots.

Kobe finished with 21-5-6 but shot just 8-of-20 from the field and was saddled with foul trouble the entire game. His fifth foul, a charge drawn by Glen Davis, was a bad call. Davis was not even close to set when Kobe was in the air. The announcers get so caught up at looking to see if the feet are outside of the restricted area that they ignore the fact that the player’s feet are still moving.

Pau Gasol (25-8, six blocks) had another nice game and was incredibly efficient, scoring all of those points on just 10 shots. There was some media-created controversy over some comments he made about how both he and Garnett have lost a step, but Gasol clearly got the better of KG again tonight. Andrew Bynum posted 21-6 and had seven blocks, so how did the Lakers lose?

Well, Ron Artest shot 1-10 from the field and had a couple of bad plays down the stretch, including a terrible post feed that rolled out of bounds and a possession where he dribbled the ball around and forced up a double-clutch three-pointer. He did play good defense on Pierce, however. Lamar Odom was a no-show, scoring just three points in 15 minutes. He finished with five fouls and Bynum’s fine play kept him on the bench.

You have to hand it to the Celtics. The chips were down and their backs were up against the proverbial wall, and they pulled out a much needed win. Now the series heads back to Boston for Game 3 on Tuesday, and I’m a little worried about how the Celtics’ old bones are going to deal with the cross country flight and quick turnaround.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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