Lakers 90, Celtics 89: Running Diary

59463519Click here for the Lakers Gameday Page
We took a look at the Lakers – Celtics contest in Boston while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked for their fourth straight road win.

Inactives
Lakers: Adam Morrison*
Celtics: Marquis Daniels, J.R. Giddens
*Phil Jackson tends to activate D.J. Mbenga against bigger teams like Boston, and Morrison against smaller teams like Indiana.

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Phil Positioned to Tie Pat
With a victory tonight, Phil Jackson would tie Pat Riley with 533 victories as head coach of the Lakers. For more, CLICK HERE.

59463529First Quarter
10:27 Ron Artest appeared intent upon letting Boston know that he wears purple and gold now … his activity started before the game even tipped as he wrestled Paul Pierce for position before the ref threw the ball up (ref had to separate them). He then drew a Pierce defensive foul on L.A.’s first possession, and moments later nailed a three to put L.A. up 5-2 early.

4:07 A fantastic stretch from the Lakers showed through on the scoreboard, as an 11-0 run broke open the game after Bynum followed up Gasol’s layup and Kobe’s three with a layup near the rim. Pierce, Kendrick Perkins and Ron Artest had all committed their second personal fouls, bringing Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace and Sasha Vujacic into the game, and L.A. was certainly the better team after eight minutes, leading 22-10 (speaking of Perkins … I’ve never once seem him smile. Ever.)

0:26.9 L.A. capped an excellent defensive quarter with a great individual defensive play, as Jordan Farmar picked off Tony Allen’s pass and threw down a breakaway two-handed hammer dunk at the other end. The C’s got a layup before the quarter ended, but had managed just 19 points to L.A.’s 30, the Lakers shooting 61.1 percent from the field.

Second Quarter
9:26 Rajon Rondo gave the Lakers’ second unit some problems to begin the second, resulting in consecutive and-1 layups after Luke Walton twice reached in before Rondo converted the buckets. His second hoop and free throw cut L.A.’s lead from 11 down to five.

5:33 It continued to be all Rondo for Boston, as the point guard scored his eighth point of the quarter and then earned his fifth assist in six minutes to cap a 21-10 run to start the period that tied the contest at 40 (related: Bryant was resting, not on Rondo). Gasol scored five points, meanwhile, for the Lakers.

1:27 Remember how good L.A. was in the first quarter? Boston matched that and more over a big stretch of the second, going on a 15-0 run as L.A.’s offense appeared to be back in California. That allowed Boston to push its lead to 10 points when Pierce hit a corner three, but Bynum’s put-back and Fisher’s first field goal attempt of the half – a three-pointer – cut that in half by halftime. In summation: L.A. scored the last five points of the quarter, but Boston still won it 33-17, thanks largely to Rondo, who had nine points, eight assists and two steals in the period.

59463608Third Quarter
10:00 The Lakers had yet to solve their Rondo problem from the second quarter, as the first-time All-Star scored consecutive buckets in the paint, though Fisher’s second three-pointer of the game kept the lead at six. Note on the crowd: probably the fewest Lakers jerseys of the season thus far, as the home fans managed to buy up most of the tickets. This is not surprising, of course.

7:36 Something we don’t see much of – an Artest pull-up jumper in transition – tied the score at 58. Off the box score and off the ball, Kevin Garnett continued to be as physical as possible with Gasol. The Spaniard wasn’t backing down, but he looked to be growing frustrated as the whistles weren’t blowing despite the contact.

0:31.3 Lakers fans love, on opposite day, when Pierce draws fouls by throwing his body randomly into the fray in the paint. His first successful such foray came late in the third, though his two free throws were negated by Bryant’s pull up jumper. The Celtics managed to add two point to their halftime lead, leaving the Lakers down 73-66 heading into the final quarter.

Fourth Quarter
8:27 L.A. needed a bench boost, and Shannon Brown provided a quick one by hitting a jumper in the lane and subsequently finding Odom in transition for a left-handed dunk that cut an 11-point lead to 81-74. L.A.’s bench had still been outscored 25-15 at that point.

3:24 Bynum doesn’t always get a lot of looks in crunch time, but when isolated on Perkins, he responded with a pretty move to the baseline and swished the shot to bring L.A. within two points. Gasol, meanwhile, was on the bench and Brown remained in the lineup. The Lakers had trailed by as many as 11 earlier in the quarter when Eddie House hit two three-pointers, but had rallied to give themselves a chance.

0:07.3 Wow. Kobe nailed the game winner. We’ve said that sentence before this season a few times, right? It didn’t come at the buzzer, but instead on a pull-up jumper in the lane over Ray Allen as the shot clock wound its way down. Swish. Boston still had a chance to win the game, but Allen missed an open three created by Pierce’s penetration (it was his sixth miss in six attempts from three for the game). Kobe had the chance to win it in part thanks to Artest’s driving layup on the previous possession, and like that, the Lakers had won four road games in a row to improve to 5-2 on the long trip.

They’ll close it down in Memphis on Monday, but until then, your numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
533 Coaching victories for Phil Jackson, who tied Pat Riley for the all-time Lakers lead.

61.1 L.A.’s shooting percentage in the first quarter, a number which dipped to 47.9 for the game.

50 Points in the paint for the Lakers, 18 of which came in the fourth quarter.

12 Assists for Rajon Rondo, who also led the Celtics with 21 points, though he cooled noticeable in the second half (just two assists). Phil Jackson credited Kobe Bryant’s defense in slowing the first-time All-Star late.

3 Straight regular season wins for the Lakers over Boston since losing in the 2008 NBA Finals.