Referees for tonight: Joey Crawford, Ed Rush, Bennett Salvatore
The arena is packed well before tip off and the crowd is fired up. The loudest “Beat LA” chant yet.
Mbenga, Karl and Bynum are in street clothes for the Lakers. Pollard, Pruitt and Scalabrine for the Celtics.
Perkins doesn’t even jump for the opening tip. Perk looked good shooting before the game, but the real test will be when he starts to bang inside with Gasol. Kendrick picks up his first foul early on a reach.
Kobe’s “in your face” totals for the first quarter of the past two games is up to like 18-points. On defense Kobe gathers Gasol and Radmanovic together to talk some strategy after picking up a defensive three seconds call. Those two need to decide who’s going to help when Lamar is getting backed down by Garnett. As for Bryant himself he continues to lay WAY off Rondo and roam the floor on help defense.
Heading into the first break with five minutes left in the quarter the Lakers carry a slim lead at 13-12. Kobe has 11 of them, not sure if that’s good of bad. The refs for for tonight are a much maligned group in the court of public opinion. Thus far they’ve let them play in some situations and called a couple things tight. Radmanovic and his two fouls are replaced by Luke Walton.
Good to see Luke Walton getting involved after being a non-factor for the majority of the series. He got a nice layup after keeping some serious spacing as Pierce went to double team Gasol and has hit both of his shots from the line. A contribution from Walton and some of the other bench mob players could go a long way for the Lakers after not getting much help from the bench in Game 5.
As the quarter ends Pierce isos Walton for a last second drive. Too bad the Lakers have a foul to give and Luke wisely fouls Pierce with one second on the clock. This leads to an inbounds play that finds Leon Powe with the ball 15 feet from the basket and no clue what to do with it. The quarter ends with the home team up 24-20 and both teams having tough shooting nights from the floor (under 37%). The four turnovers by Pau Gasol is the biggest number that jumps out to me on the stat sheet. This isn’t a team that needs the help. Garnett and Bryant had solid quarters. The Lakers got out rebounded 14-10 and Gasol and Odom both had five.
Sasha hearing the boos from the Boston crowd on his first possession. Apparently this isn’t a youtube friendly crowd. What they do love is some Big Baby Davis who makes his first appearance of the season. The Celtics pick up two team fouls in the first minute of the quarter which could be huge if it sends the Lakers to the line later.
With eight minutes left in the quarter the Celtics roll out a lineup of House, Pierce, Posey, Baby, and Powe that doesn’t include a true ball handler or anyone that can get his own shot besides Pierce. That’s an all star and the scrap heap against the Fisher, Vujacic, Bryant, Turiaf, Gasol lineup the Lakers currently have on the floor. This would be a good spot for the Lakers to cut the lead.
With Garnett back in the game the Celtics get back-to-back wide open triples from Posey and House that send the crowd to another level of delirium and force the Lakers to call a timeout down 38-29 with 6:25 left. Is it weird that 18-minutes into the game the Lakers still only have two guys with rebounds? Pau with seven and Lamar with five.
Kobe can’t find any breathing room as the Celtics are sending two and a half guys at him on every single possession. His man, the help guy in the paint, and whoever is guarding the opposite wing player continue to clog the area around Bryant and leave him no room to maneuver. The Lakers need to find some inside offense that will allow the Lakers to start kicking it out to their three point shooters. They haven’t had an open look from the outside all night.
Boston gets hit with their second defensive three seconds call which can only be good for the Lakers. Not only does it give them a free throw, but hopefully it’ll open up the paint a little bit and stop the Celtics swarming double teams. Play is halted with 3:04 left in the half the home team ahead 47-34.
The style of game is right in the Celtics wheelhouse–messy and sloppy. This isn’t the wide open style the Lakers like to play, but then again none of the games in this series have been. What makes it worse is that the Lakers haven’t been able to maintain any sort of rhythm on offense or defense tonight. When they have the ball they look out of sorts from all the swarming the Celtics do and when they try to play defense their rotations have been slow and have ended up in mismatches that favor Boston.
In the first quarter of Sunday’s win the Lakers put up 39 points, but could only follow it with 16 in the second. Tonight they’ve tossed up a 20 and a 15 for a total of 35 that still comes up short of Sunday’s opening stanza. Shooting 29% will do that to you. Credit the Boston defense on that stat, the Lakers haven’t seen daylight yet. In the nine minutes that Rajon Rondo sat the Lakers pressured kept the ball out of Eddie House’s hands, but failed to pressure Paul Pierce as he brought the ball up.
It’s gonna take a special 24 minutes of basketball to dig out of this 58-35 hole the Lakers have put themselves into.
The revolution (aka comeback) still hasn’t started and you place the blame squarely on Rajon Rondo’s shoulders. Buckets, and-ones, steals, dishes–he’s doing it all in the first couple minutes.
Is one half hearted entry per quarter the blog equivelant of waving the white flag? That seemed like the longest quarter of all time. There’s not much more to point out that the 31-25 quarter on top of an already 23-point lead doesn’t say. It’s just brutal going on more brutal. Wait, the Lakers shot 50% that quarter… that’s positive. If the Lakers want to turn in the greatest comeback in NBA history right here I’m all for it.
Alright here we go, the fourth and final period. Down 29 at 89-60. The Lakers open the quarter with Odom, Turiaf, Sasha, Jordan and Ariza. The Celtics took their big three to huge ovations in the third, one minute into the fourth they bring back two of them with the lead at 28.
9 minutes left and the Lakers trail by 31. I don’t think a win is in the cards tonight.