The scene returned to the Gah-den. But…
#1 LOS ANGELES LAKERS 91 @ #4 BOSTON CELTICS 84
(Lakers lead series, 2-1)
First off, so I can get this out of the way, this was the best officiated game of the Finals. Yeah, they botched about three or four calls in a row at one point… but, for the most part, they did an adequate job refereeing the game. And they went to the replays when necessary. I’ll give the officials props for that.
So before I get bombarded from both sides, I should probably talk about the game.
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Kevin Garnett was pretty much sizzling the entire game. He scored on the first three Celtic possessions. But the problem was that he was the only player from Boston producing. We’ll get to that in a little bit.
The funny thing was that it was a Lamar Odom banker from downtown (HE CALLED IT. I SAW IT! Ha ha.) that ignited the Lakers. It gave L.A. the lead that they would not relinquish the entire night. The Lakers surged to a 37-20 lead early in the second as the bench gave them a nice spark. The Celtics managed to cut it down to 12 by the end of the first half but it was clear that the Lakers were scrappier in the contest as they were just beating the Celtics on the glass.
But, again, I just don’t know why the Lakers keep going back to a formula that doesn’t work. Can someone tell them that they’re just not a very good perimeter shooting team? Kobe Bryant put up a wrist-hurting 29 shots, mostly from the perimeter. That’s exactly how Boston wants to beat the Lakers. Boston’s bench (especially Tony Allen and Glen Davis) then helped cut the lead down to as little as four right before the third quarter ended.
While Kobe struggled and the Laker bigs didn’t get enough touches, Big Baby and Garnett mostly carried Boston in the fourth. The Celtics cut the deficit to one. Then a familiar face for the Lakers came to the rescue.
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Hook. Line. Sinker. Fish.
Derek Fisher added yet ANOTHER clutch game to his resume as he went for 11 points in the fourth quarter. If the Lakers go on to win the series, his coast-to-coast lay-up (he also got fouled) against three Celtics with 48 seconds left will be replayed in years to come. That particular three-point play put the Lakers up, 87-80, and was essentially the DAGGER (Mark Jackson, please use that word correctly next time) that stabbed the heart of Boston in Game 3.
Kobe led the Lakers with 29 points while Fisher finished with 16 (as mentioned, 11 in the last stanza). Pau Gasol didn’t get enough touches but he did finish with 13 and 10. Odom came off the pine to score 12. Ron Artest didn’t have a good offensive night but he has made Paul Pierce a non-factor. Pierce has averaged 16 points in this series (15 in Game 3) but he has really never gotten a rhythm going and has had to work really hard to get shots. Ray Allen had an incredible performance in Game 2 and had another surprising game in Game 3… although this time, it went the other way around. None of Allen’s 13 shots (8 from downtown) found the hole. I suppose it just really evened out his supernova night from Game 2. KG led the Celtics with 25 points. Rajon Rondo had a quiet 11-point, 8-assist effort. And, once again, the rebounds were a factor. L.A. outrebounded Boston, 43-35.
Boston hopes to even the series on Thursday. And they hope that Ray Allen can make more shots than me since I made as many shots as he did on Game 3.