Referees for tonight: D. Crawford, B. Delaney, K. Mauer
The Boston Pops handle the anthem. I miss James Taylor. Various part of the anthem are drowned out by cheers when a Celtics player is shown and boos when any Lakers are shown. Doc Rivers looked confused during the anthem as weather to sing or just stand at attention.
The Centerline that I wrote about yesterday appears much more visible from my angle up here in the hockey pressbox high above the arena floor. The distinction between centerline and trophy sticker is very apparent.
Just the starters get the intros tonight, the reserves had their moment in the sun.
Another evening of hype, intros, then more waiting before tip. Does America really need Stu Scott’s final thought before we tip? There’s things I miss about watching games on TV and this is not one of them. The crowd tries to carry the impasse, but it’s hard when we’re talking more than five minutes.
Both of the Celtics who sustained injuries in Game 1, Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins, are in the starting lineup for the home team tonight.
Phil calls a timeout to stop a four-point Celtics run with 5:07 to go in the quarter. The Lakers stretched the lead after Doc Rivers lost his head and drew a technical foul, but this quick run brings us back to a 15-12 Lakers lead. LA has converted on seven of their first 14 shot attempts, but 0-4 on jump shots. Not only that, but every make has been within four feet. Luke Walton replaces Trevor Ariza, whose four minutes of play weren’t stellar, but were only marred by getting burned by Pierce once.
I hated seeing Kobe take so many jump shots in Game 1, but his first one of the evening is a quality one, a 15-footer from the elbow on a Lakers advantage play. He missed, but it was a much better look than he had been getting.
Radmanovic committed to play Pierce close tonight. This led to a trey in his face and two fouls in the first two minutes of action. See ya next quarter Vladi. Glad to see Phil using Trevor Ariza in a meaningful situation for the first time in months. Ariza won’t be able to spread the floor like Radman, but anything he can do against Pierce on the defensive end should give the Lakers a big boost.
Pau in KG’s face and a whole lot of early emotion from the big Spaniard. After a game in which he seemed intimidated by Garnett it’s good to see Gasol come out and take the defensive player of the year to the hole. The Lakers have missed a couple of layups already, but they’ve been in the painted area on a regular basis tonight.
At the four minute mark the Celtics switched KG onto Lamar and left Kendrick Perkins to deal with the oh-so-hot Pau Gasol. This trend continued when PJ Brown entered for Perkins, but with Brown in the game the Lakers are free to double KG hard and leave Derek Fisher (or Jordan Farmar) to deflect anything in the paint that might come PJ’s way.
A very even quarter finishes with Jordan Farmar knocking down a triple to give the Lakers a 22-20 lead after the first frame. Balance on offense was a key for the Lakers as six guys scored and no one took more than five shots. Numbers across the board are pretty even. The Lakers jump shooting is still sketchy, but at least they’re only taking them when open or the shot clock is running down.
The refs big thing tonight is what you can either call “late calls” or “the trailing official making a call the lead official should have made”, you choose. These calls are going against both teams, but that just means that both fan bases will have something to complain about.
Paul Pierce is going to trail the break and camp out for a three and the Lakers aren’t going to cover him, they haven’t done it once yet. The latest PP trey gives the Celtics their 10th point of the quarter while the Lakers have yet to convert, giving Boston a 30-22 lead. It kind of feels like the start of the third quarter in Game 1 where the Lakers held a slight lead that was completely wiped out in two minutes by the home team.
Since Kobe has returned he’s been going to work down low, moving block to block in the high post trying to setup up James Posey, but so far they have had difficulty feeding Bryant. If they get it down to him it’s gonna work.
Boston has made a point to keep the ball out of Derek Fisher’s hands on inbounds plays, devoting Rondo deep down court or occasionally sending Garnett to cover the inbounder. The Lakers have the luxury of a big like Lamar Odom who can handle the ball, but in some situations this makes Radmanovic the guy throwing it in. Not a situation anyone is comfortable with on a regular basis.
It’s been a long time since Kobe was in foul trouble, but after getting his third with two minutes left in the half he gets yanked as Sasha will finish out the quarter for him.
Lots of fouls, lots of poor rotations, and the occasional 7-0 Celtics run were the story of the second half and the reason the Lakers are down 54-42. They look lost on offense mainly due to the presence of Garnett and the other Boston bigs coming help side. The Lakers have been shying away when this happens instead of looking for contact and the foul. Because of this the Lakes have only shot two free throws all game while Boston has made 14 of their 19.
The Lakers have given into the officiating and are falling into full on frustration mode. Kobe picked up a tech after not getting the and-one and Lamar screaming at an official for a ticky tack call. The free throw totals just keep getting more and more absurd at 23-2 and growing in the Celtics favor at every point. The C’s are also canning everything they throw up behind the arc, but the free throws are what’s killing the Lakers on the scoreboard and in their own minds. When you start getting everyone slapping their hands and rolling their eyes are every play it doesn’t make it very much fun to watch.
The Lakers go on a little run to cut the Celtics lead to just nine at 68-59 with 4:29 to play in the third. There’s a lot of game left to play, but how the Lakers come out of this timeout will probably tell you all you need to know about this game. If they come out and cut it more, expect it to be a fight, but if they give up a couple open threes and the Celtics get up by 14 or 15 you can put this baby to bed.
Three minutes later the Celtics lead is 20.
That went as bad as possible.
Once Leon Powe goes coast-to-coast on you and starts getting his named chanted by the crowd it’s time to call it a night.
I made my way down from the hockey press box and was dazzled to see that the Lakers have tied a Finals record for three-pointers in a quarter. and are within four with a minute to play. We’re in the midst of what could one of the greatest comebacks in Finals history and I was stuck in a line for the elevator??? That hockey press box is way too far up there.
Kobe & Pierce trade free throw makes and the Boston lead is still four at 106-102 with 22.8 to play. The Lakers still have two timeouts to use down the stretch. How will the best closer in the game decide to finish this one?
How does Kobe not get a touch when you’re down four and time is running out?
The effort comes up just short and we’re going back to LA down 0-2.