Why the Celtics won: The bench. Big Baby Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace dominated the fourth quarter with their hustle, defense, rebounding, clutch shot-making, and infectious energy. Despite some boneheaded technical fouls by Nate and ‘Sheed (Ray Allen, the only starter on the floor, looked like a 6th-grade teacher at the end of his rope), they couldn’t have done their jobs better. By the time Rondo, Pierce and KG returned, L.A. was too far behind to catch up. Where are all those people saying Big Baby isn’t a legit NBA player? For the second game of this series he was Boston’s toughest guy in the paint; scrapping, slobbering and scoring while Lakers bounced off him left and right.
Why the Lakers lost: Rebounding. The Celtics got 16 offensive rebounds and won the overall battle on the glass, 41-32. In the fourth quarter, L.A. surrendered too many offensive boards that helped Boston protect its lead and kill the clock. If Andrew Bynum had been able to play more than 12 minutes on his bad knee, maybe this would have been a different story.
Key numbers: Paul Pierce (18 pts, 6 rebs, 5 asts); Glen Davis (18 pts); Kobe Bryant (33 pts, 10-21 FG); Pau Gasol (21 pts); Bench Scoring (Celtics 36, Lakers 18); Rebounds (Celtics 41, Lakers 31).