Referees for tonight: Scott Foster, Ed Rush & Dick Bavetta
The Celtics run a montage of new and old highlights to the tune of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” pregame before running out to the same song the Lakers use on occasion, “Roc-Boys” by Jay-Z. This is an early intro considering the game won’t tip for another 45 minutes.
The Lakers take the floor to a chant of “Beat LA”, I’m already tired of that and “Let’s Go Celtics”.
Thank god the STAPLES Center sound crew doesn’t play “Stronger” anymore. Has a song ever gone out of style quicker?
They’ve shown the McHale/Rambis clothesline three times already.
James Taylor just rocked the national anthem by not rocking at all.
It’s cool that they introduced everybody that was active, but making them come up to the platform next to the giant trophy was lame.
After all the pomp and circumstance of the intros we are treated to more layup lines by guys in warmups. The magic of ESPN/ABC ladies and gentleman. Everyone ready to settle in for a three hour NBA game? Awesome. Maybe for Game 2 we can do intros at 7pm for the 9pm start.
Lakers fans are speckled throughout the crowd. Their gold outfits stick out like sore thumbs against the sea of green and white. The two guys in Lakers jerseys sitting courtside next to the Celtics bench are my heros.
Oh man the Rudy/Dan Devine “No one comes into our house” clip? They’re trying to rip the kitchen sink off the wall and the game hasn’t even tipped yet. A bad omen for the rest of the evening.
The Lakers double Paul Pierce the first time he touches the ball with Odom coming over to help Radmanovic and DFish sliding down to cover Lamar’s man. This leaves Rondo open which is going to be the case a lot tonight. He clanks his first.
The game is knotted up at 10 a side through the first six minutes of the game. KG had a sequence where he got back-to-back offensive rebounds that made me sick. Lamar has done a good job of drawing Garnett deep under the basket, but hasn’t been able to capitalize on it yet.
Vladi picks up his second foul and is replaced by Sasha as the Lakers go small. Kobe is now on Pierce with Sasha sliding over to defend Ray Allen. Vujacic is a lock to annoy Ray Ray. A lock.
A lot of questions entering the series centered around the Celtics turning Kobe into a jump shooter and so far he has obliged that request. The closest he’s come was a 10-footer from the right baseline and is currently 1/6 on the night. Posey enters with two minutes left in the quarter to lock in on Bryant.
The quarter ends with the Celtics holding a slight edge at 23-21 and both teams shooting around 50% from the floor. The Lakers did a good job of taking care of the ball, but the Celtics were able to stagnate the triangle offense and keep the Lakers from moving the ball on the inside. On the other hand the Celtics took 12 of their 19 shots inside the painted area.
Sam Cassell is playing like the guy they thought they were signing and not the guy he’s been over the past two months. Because of this Kobe is now being matched up with Sam and Fish is over on Ray Allen.
Gasol is playing well on both ends, but isn’t getting enough touches on offense and has Garnett sinking 18-footers with a hand in his face on the other end. KG has got off for 16-points on just nine shot attempts. We’re talking sixteen points in the first eighteen minutes for a guy that has only touched the 30-point mark twice this season. Seems like a pace he can’t keep up.
Pierce gets tagged for his 3rd personal with more than 5 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. Pierce’s contributions have been limited thus far and will continue to be as he sits the rest of the quarter.
Here we go, here we go, here we go. Pau and Kobe finally start getting the two man game going that has helped them be so successful since Gasol’s arrival and it’s leading to uncontested dunks for the Spaniard and a lead for the Lakers. 45-42 with 3 minutes left.
A 17-minute halftime, but at least my old pal the Red Panda is here for the entertainment. She was at STAPLES towards the end of the regular season and I’ve seen her twice in the playoffs already. Panda is making bank this season.
Sporadic internet outages make this job a lot tougher… and for once my computer isn’t the culprit.
Like Pau Gasol’s offense I’m just taking what the Celtics will give me as far as internet goes. Since we last tuned in, Paul Pierce has gone nuts and converted a four point play, Radman made a nice trey from the corner but also picked up two quick fouls and had to leave the game, and Kobe is doing a lot of Kobe type things. 60-58 Lakers with 7:52 to go.
Paul Pierce just went down hard clutching his knee in a bad bad way. Terrible to see such a good player go down like that when he’s playing so well. The crowd rallies behind him with a “Let’s Go Paul” chant, but he is going to have to be carried back to the locker room by his teammates. Lakers lead 62-58.
Coming into the night Eddie House and I had one thing in common–Arizona State. As the night wears on we gain more and more in commons. Points–Zero. Rebounds–Zero. Minutes–Zero. This is the perfect situation for me as both a Laker fan and Eddie House supporter. In the “Children on the Floor” category Eddie has a stranglehold at 1-0.
Pierce bumps out of the tunnel like Willis Reed and comes right back into the game after just three minutes in the locker room and the Celtics now having the lead 63-62. Huge ovation from the crowd.
Kendrick Perkins comes back out to the bench as well, but he doesn’t look as ready to play as Pierce did.
Not having any lift is actually helping Paul Pierce as long as he’s completely open from behind the arc.
The Celtics take that quarter (31-22) as decisively as the Lakers took the second (30-23). Celtics 77-73.
Paul Pierce spends the quarter break in the Celtics tunnel riding the stationary bike. I’m calling him a grandstander and leaving it at that.
The lead yo-yos between 5 and two as Boston hasn’t been able to distance itself and the Lakers haven’t been able to close the gap. If the C’s don’t push this to double-digits I’d be very worried about Kobe snatching it from them. Bryant might not have to take a break the rest of the way with the extended TV timeouts.
How does PJ Brown grab a rebound as he’s sandwiched between two Lakers and two other are in the vicinity?
An extremely stupid foul by Lamar with 3:43 left. Not only is it the fifth Lakers foul of the quarter and send Pierce to the line, but that gives Odom five personals as well. Pierce gives the C’s their biggest lead of the game at 90-82.
1:54 left in the contest with the Lakers trailing by six and Gasol going to the line. First one-Miss. Second one-make. 91-86 Celtics. The Celtics have their starting lineup on the floor except for PJ Brown replacing Perkins. The Lakers have their starting unit with Sasha in place of Radman. The lineup they’ve closed games with most of the playoffs.
That emphatic Garnett dunk gives the home team another 8-point lead. It’s not easy to come back against such a good defensive team with just 81 seconds left, but sending Kobe to the line is a good start.