I have been underestimating the Celtics for quite some time now (I'll sheepishly admit I had them exiting in the first round), but can this continue? Let's consider some facts.
- Ray Allen is exceedingly unlikely to hit his first seven three-pointers of the game. If he shoots a more reasonable percentage, it's likely the Lakers win.
- The Celtics got nothing from their frountcourt, and worse than nothing (2-11 shooting) from Paul Pierce.
- While the Celtics shot an unreal 11-16 from three point range, the Lakers were a paltry 5-22.
- Unless they get some serious home cooking, the Celtics aren't going to register the same number of fouls as the Lakers if they continue to play the way they have.
- The Celtics weren't much better at home than the Lakers were on the road.
- The Celtics have been substantially better (+5.6) in the playoffs with three or more days of rest than with two (+2.8). Four of the next five games will be played on two days rest.
- The Celtics have been substantially better (+6.4) in the first two games of a series than the remaining games (+2.3).
All of the information would seem to indicate that the Lakers are in an excellent position to win at least one of the next three games, which is all they need to take back home court advantage. It's also worth noting that the Celtics haven't even faced a game seven. Will they have enough gas in the tank, should the need arise?
Paul Pierce has promised Laker fans that the series won't be coming back to Los Angeles. If his teammates want another ring, they'll do well to make good on that promise.