They must make a stand

June 09, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Now for the really hard part.

The Lakers return to Staples Center, hoping, if not needing, to win three consecutive home games, though history hasn't smiled favorably on the concept.

Since the NBA adopted the 2-3-2 format for the Finals in 1985, the home team in the middle games has won all three only twice -- Detroit in 2004 and Miami in 2006.

As if being down 2-0 to Boston wasn't enough of a challenge for the Lakers.

"The duration of three games on one court, those have always been tough to maintain," Coach Phil Jackson said. "I've had teams that have been on the road and won three games in a row, but I can't ever remember winning three the other way around as a home coach in the Finals. Those are always tough."

Not that the Lakers have a choice after falling behind the Celtics. Besides, they say they prefer the format.

"It's the only way to do it in the Finals," forward Luke Walton said. "That five-hour flight is crazy. It would stink to have to do the final three games 1-1-1, going back and forth between Boston and L.A. It's the best format as far as convenience for the teams."


Subs sunk again

The Lakers' reserves, a source of strength and vitality throughout the season, have been thoroughly outplayed by those of the Celtics.

Game 2 was no different from Game 1, the Lakers' second unit again failing to help.

Backup forward Leon Powe practically outscored the Lakers' reserves by himself, holding a 21-17 edge until he was given a well-earned rest with 5:56 to play, the Celtics ahead by 18.

Overall, the Celtics' reserves scored 35 points, while Lakers backups countered with 23.

"Well, they've heard how bad they were," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said of his oft-maligned bench players. "They have pride too."

Trevor Ariza had a chance to make a difference early for the Lakers, entering when Vladimir Radmanovic picked up his second foul with 10:06 left in the first quarter. Ariza, however, left five minutes later, a clear detriment on offense.

"I thought our offense got stagnant at that time," Jackson said.

Ariza was scoreless in seven minutes. Walton has two points in 27 minutes in the series.

Ronny Turiaf has two rebounds in 21 total minutes.

Jordan Farmar is averaging 5.5 points a game in the Finals, 3.6 points lower than his regular-season average.

Two games into the Finals, the Lakers are still awaiting a double-figure scoring effort from a reserve.

In Game 1, Lakers reserves totaled 15 points and 11 fouls.


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