Thursday, May 8, 2008
Boston's Bench Leads the Way
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
After an ugly game one win, the Celtics were able to follow that up with a more convincing performance and win in game two. Things were ugly in the first quarter, but bench guys like Leon Powe, Sam Cassell, and James Posey were able to pick up the slack of the starters. Powe came in for Kendrick Perkins after he picked up his second foul and scored 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the first half. Leon finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds, but it was probably his defense that was most important tonight. There were a lot of times where Powe got matched up on Lebron and was able to handle the quicker James very well. Not a lot of people are aware than Leon and Lebron were teammates for a couple years on the same AAU team in Oakland when they were younger. So it probably wasn't the first time Leon had to guard James. I'm sure that helped a little bit.
Leon's really getting the hang of playoff basketball now. He led the Celtics with a +20 +/- rating. That really shows his value and how important he's becoming. Kendrick Perkins was last on the team with -9 so it was crucial that Leon could step in for the struggling Perkins. The bench is starting to become a strength for the Celtics. Doc can call on just about anyone and they don't really miss a beat. Now they just have to figure out how to get the job done on the road.
Quick stat for everyone... The Celtics are 22-2 when Leon scores over 10 points.