Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 2 Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (57-25 SU, 34-46-2 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, June 6, 2010, Staples Center, Los Angeles, Cal. TV: ABC
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Celtics +6/Lakers -6
Over/Under: 190

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The Boston Celtics did not look the same in Game 1 of the NBA Finals as they did in the previous three rounds of the 2010 playoffs. In the first three rounds of the playoffs, they played dominant defense and used an all-around team effort to win games. But they struggled against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1. They couldn’t stop the Lakers and they couldn’t score, as the Lakers won the game, 102-89. Now, the Celtics need to come up with a win in Game 2 or they will be down 2-0 in the series and be virtually forced to win all three games at home in the middle of the series.

In the Game 1 loss, the Celtics shot 43 percent from the field and 1-for-10 from 3-point range, while the Lakers shot 49 percent from the field and 4-for-10 on 3-pointers. The Lakers held a 42-31 rebounding advantage and had one fewer turnover than the Celtics. The Lakers controlled the game the whole time, leading by five after the first quarter, by nine at the half, and by 20 after the third quarter. The Celtics made a run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to single digits, but it wasn’t enough.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points on 10-of-22 shooting from the field. He also had seven rebounds and six assists. Kobe was spectacular, hitting some incredible shots for the Lakers. He has now scored at least 30 points in five straight games and 11 of his last 12 games. He has also dished out at least six assists in five of the last six games.

Pau Gasol was terrific down low with 23 points and 14 rebounds. The Lakers are 11-1 in the playoffs when Gasol grabs at least 10 rebounds and they are 10-1 in the playoffs when Gasol scores at least 18 points.

Ron Artest scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and Andrew Bynum added 10 points.

The Celtics were led by Paul Pierce, who had 24 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Garnett scored 16 points, Ray Allen scored 12 points in 27 minutes while being stuck in foul trouble the whole game, and Rajon Rondo had 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Rondo tried to do too much himself at times in the Game 1 loss. The Lakers know he isn’t going to shoot jumpers very often, so they were playing off him and focusing on the cutters down the lane and keeping the ball out of the post. When Rondo drove to the basket to try and score inside, he was blocked three times. Without having much of a jumper and not being able to finish well inside, Rondo isn’t much of an offensive threat. He is a great pure point guard but the Lakers are playing him smart. They’re willing to let Rondo beat them if they can limit everyone else on the Celtics.

The Celtics have to figure out a way to defend Kobe better. He was doing whatever he wanted to do in Game 1. They can’t let him beat them by himself. They have to force him to give the ball up and make Artest, Bynum, Odom and Fisher beat them. Most of Gasol’s points came on offensive rebounds (he had eight of them), so the Celtics just need to focus on boxing him out. Also, when they allow penetration, the Celtics big men are coming over to help and leaving Gasol for the offensive rebound.

In three games this season between the Lakers and Celtics - two regular season and Game 1 - all three games have gone under.

The Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last five games after allowing 100 or more points in their previous game and 4-0 ATS in their last four games on two days rest. The Lakers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six meetings with the Celtics in Los Angeles. The Celtics are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games overall against the Lakers. The Celtics are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings with the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Ryno’s Pick: Boston looked like crap in Game 1. Expect them to come back in game 2 fired up and ready to compete. Take the Celtics to cover the spread.