Before the Boston Celtics could make a stand in the N.B.A. finals, Doc Rivers literally took a stand, in the middle of the court, with the game still
live and the clock still running. It might have been the most
demonstrative timeout in finals history.
The Celtics had a 5-point lead, and the Los Angeles Lakers were on their heels, when
Rivers rushed onto the court with 86 seconds to play, his eyes wide and
his arms flailing, a blur of excitement and urgency. He got his timeout
— avoiding a backcourt violation — and the Celtics kept charging to a
103-94 victory Sunday night, tying the finals at 1-1.
“You know, I’m glad they saw me,” a calmer, sheepish Rivers said later,
referring to the officials. “I don’t think they had a choice but to see
There was no mistaking anything about the Celtics’ channeled fury, as
they rallied behind Ray Allen’s brilliant shooting and Rajon Rondo’s
frenetic energy and changed the tenor of the series.
Allen set a finals record with eight 3-pointers (on 11 attempts) and had
a game-high 32 points. Rondo had a triple-double, with 19 points, 12
rebounds and 10 assists, and dominated the final six minutes, when the
Celtics turned a 3-point deficit into an 8-point lead.
scored 21 points but was limited throughout the second half by foul
trouble, picking up his fifth in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
So the Lakers’ series lead and their home-court advantage lasted just a
few days. The next three games will be played at the new Boston Garden,
where the Celtics celebrated their 2008 title after clobbering the
“There’s no doubt it’s a blow to us to lose the home court,” Lakers
Coach Phil Jackson
said, “but we anticipated this might happen.”
A Jackson-coached team has never lost a playoff series after winning
Game 1, a streak that covers 47 prior series. But there is another omen
to consider now. The last time the finals were tied at 1-1 was in 2004,
when the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons.
Artest was erratic down the stretch, with a costly turnover and a
mind-numbing sequence in which he dribbled out most of the shot clock
when the Lakers needed every second.
“It’s one of the most unusual sequences I’ve ever witnessed,” Jackson said.
The only saving grace was that after Artest missed an off-balance
jumper, the ball was tapped back out to Bryant, who hit a desperation
3-pointer. The game had already slipped away, however.
The Lakers had a 90-87 lead with 5:21 left, before disintegrating at
both ends of the court. Rondo got loose for back-to-back layups, blocked
a Derek Fisher 3-point try from behind and poked the ball away from
Bryant, fueling a game-turning 11-0 run.
In the midst of this all-important rally, the Celtics nearly committed a
backcourt violation when the shot clock reached 17 seconds. That sent
Rivers bounding onto the court for the comical timeout. As an added
bonus, it helped ease the tension.
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