My NBA Finals watching was interrupted by weather and family Thursday, but suffice it to say when Paul Pierce went down in the first half, I thought the series might be over right there. While I think the whole Willis Reed/Knicks comparison is a little much, if Pierce doesn't strap it on in the third quarter, the Celtics probably lose the game, despite Kobe's off night.
Two keys to this series: Boston's bench and Rondo. Veterans Cassell and PJ Brown gave a measure of toughness and stability to the Celtics last night off the pine. Rondo didn't shoot well, but his +9 for the night reflected his ability to move the ball and penetrate at critical times of the game. If they get consistency from Rondo and anything from their bench, I think this series goes more than five. I can't see the Celtics losing four straight.
KG had good stats and the poster dunk on Gasol, but missing nine shots in a row in the second half is not the stuff of championship lore. And, did you read in ESPN's Daily Dime that his new basketball shoe--slated to sell in October--will retail for over 1000 dollars? You can read all about it here, and get some great analysis of Game One as well. I have to admit, the more items like this that come out about KG, the less I'm pulling for him. One would think that the man who contributed so much to the Katrina relief effort and has attained contractual greatness in his sport could at least pull a Marbury in these troubled economic times and put out an affordable shoe, for Pete's sake. My goodness.
The bottom line: Boston's defense won this first game. We'll see what Grandmaster Phil has up his sleeve in adjustments for Game Two. Kobe won't be off-target the whole series, and if they can obtain a split, everything that went wrong in Game One will be forgotten.
I emailed adidas and they indicated that the $1017 "retail" price of the Team Signature KG Commander mentioned in the ESPN blurb is for the charity shoes only, the October price has not yet been determined. More info:
"adidas will be releasing up to 57 pairs (minimum of 33) of these special edition KG Commanders. Eight pairs will be released for every final's game (up to 7 games) at a price of $1017 (for their 17th run), and one special signed pair will be auctioned off after the playoffs.
The details of the shoes will feature a profile of KG on one side and the coveted Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy on the opposite. There are also tributes to 2 friends and mentors in KG's career incorporated into the shoes; "2 Malik" located under the strap for Malik Sealy, and "KP 34" on the back of the shoes for Kirby Puckett. Aside from these special editions the regular Commander KGs will be released later this year in October."
Now I'm pulling for him again...