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Lakers’ Bench Set Finals FG% Record

101227377001SB_LAKERS_CELTICSLost amidst Derek Fisher’s remarkable 11-point fourth quarter in L.A.’s Game 3 win on Tuesday in the Finals against Boston was a terrific performance by the Lakers’ bench on offense.

In fact, the pine unit barely missed a shot, hitting their first seven collective attempts.

Lamar Odom (5-for-5), Luke Walton (1-for-1), Shannon Brown (2-for-3) and Jordan Farmar (1-for-2) combined for only 20 points, but set an NBA Finals record (since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77) for best shooting percentage (81.8 percent) for a bench attempting at least 10 shots.

Here’s a rundown of the bench FGA’s:
1) 7:23, 1st – Walton’s turnaround jumper at the start of L.A.’s 32-8 run (12-7 Boston)
2) 4:39, 1st – Odom’s banked three-pointer (16-14 L.A.)
3) 0:27.5, 1st – Brown layup (23-17 L.A.)
4) 0:00.7, 1st – Odom’s running layup, and the foul (26-17)
5) 10:49, 2nd – Brown jump shot (31-17)
6) 9:42, 2nd – Farmar running bank shot (35-20)
7) 9:10, 2nd – Odom layup to give the Lakers their biggest lead, the bench a perfect 7-for-7 (37-20)
8) 8:26, 2nd – Brown misses a three, the first miss (37-22)
9) 7:56, 2nd – Farmar misses a three (37-24)
10) 7:37, 4th – Odom put-back bank shot when Boston had cut L.A.’s lead to one (72-69)
11) 3:45, 4th – Odom baseline driving layup (80-76)

Odom, after battling foul trouble that limited his impact in the first two games, was the star, as each of his five buckets came at key moments for the Lakers. He added five rebounds, about which he wasn’t happy (he’d far rather have 10 rebounds than five field goal makes), but still led the team with a +/- of 14, while Walton was second with a +13 in key relief minutes for Ron Artest (early foul trouble).

Finals Playoff Podcast: Kevin Ding

blog_100521_kevindingL.A.’s crucial 91-84 Game 3 victory in Boston was so full of story lines, we needed a long-form podcast to fully cover and digest the events.

To do so, we called upon Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register after L.A.’s media session on Wednesday morning, just as the Celtics took the floor to go through their own meeting with the press.

Ding – in his 11th season covering the Lakers, six of which have concluded in the NBA Finals – joined us to discuss what enabled Derek Fisher to come through in the clutch, Fisher’s relationship with Kobe Bryant (plus Kobe’s impact on the game), Andrew Bynum’s presence in the paint and maturity off the court, what to expect from Thursday’s Game 4 and more.

To listen, click play below.

Fisher Does It In The Finals … Again

60683510Derek Fisher is no stranger to hitting clutch shots in the playoffs.

Most recently, he nailed two dagger three-pointers in Game 4 the 2009 NBA Finals against Orlando, and there’s always his 0.4 game-winner against San Antonio back in 2004.

But never had Fisher been L.A.’s primary shot maker down the stretch of a critical playoff game, as he was in scoring 11 fourth quarter points while helping the Lakers preserve a hard-fought 91-84 Game 3 victory.

“He won the game for them,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, his team losing the homecourt edge it had gained with Sunday’s Game 2 win in L.A. “Derek Fisher was the difference down the stretch.”

The most crucial of several big shots from Fisher was an and-1 layup that he floated over three converging Celtics off the glass with 48.3 seconds to go, producing an 87-80 lead from which the Celtics could not come back.

“Derek had made a number of plays in the fourth quarter, contested shots and taking things to the basket, and he just got out there ahead of the field,” Jackson said of the layup. “We have this direct line principle, no one steps up, you keep going, and he saw the opening and went and made a very bold play. It was imperative that it goes in for us to win.”

After the ball dropped in, Fisher was mobbed by his teammates, to whom all of them – including Bryant – look to for guidance on the floor.

“He’s our vocal leader, the heart and soul of this team,” said Bryant. “He’s been criticized quite a bit for his age. It’s a huge thrill for him and for all of us to see him come through in these moments. Truthfully, he’s done it over and over and over again. That’s what he does.”

60683652Fisher’s fourth quarter for the ages started with a driving layup and 8:57 remaining to put the Lakers up three after Boston had cut a 12-point halftime lead down to just one. After Lamar Odom’s put-back layup, L.A.’s point guard then scored six straight points for the Lakers at 6:20, 5:33 and 4:33 left in the fourth, keeping the Purple and Gold narrowly in front as the Celtics’ defense focused intently upon Kobe Bryant.

“We saw some things we could accomplish by playing a little two-man game between Kobe and myself,” Fisher explained. “When Kobe sets a screen, his man is going to be very reluctant to help off of him, so it allows somebody else to get into the interior of their defense, and a couple time I made a pass or two, and a few other times I was able to knock down shots.”

Rivers agreed, stating that “the reason a lot of the other guys are open is because Kobe Bryant’s on the floor.” With the attention No. 24 mandated, he made only 1-of-6 fourth quarter attempts, though the make was a big one with 1:41 left in the contest to put L.A. up four. Bryant finished with a team-high 29 points (including 8-of-8 free throws) on 10-of-29 shooting.

When the final whistle blew, Bryant and the rest of his teammates went directly over to their co-captain for a round of hugs, back-taps, daps and high fives.

That, right there, is why Fisher said he plays the game.

“It’s tough to put it into words,” he explained. “I got a little emotional … I love what I do. I love helping my team win. To come through tonight, again, for this team, 14 years in after so many great moments, it’s always quite surreal.”

Most notably after the and-1 layup.

“To see Pau’s reaction and my teammates’ reactions, that’s why those moments feel so good to me,” Fisher concluded.

Of course, there were other key plays made down the stretch from Fisher’s teammates. They including a tough turnaround bank shot from Gasol with 2:17 to play, critical forced turnovers from both Ron Artest and Bryant in the final moments, two game-sealing free throws from Sasha Vujacic (who played only 19 seconds) and two buckets Odom, who scored 12 points with five boards off the bench, his impact shown by his game-high +16 in plus/minus.

Literally hours earlier in a long, tight contest, Boston came crashing out of the gates, scoring the first six points in a raucous TD Garden. The Celtics lead by as many as seven before the Lakers rolled off an impressive 32-8 run surrounding the first quarter break to lead by as many as 17, thanks in part to a bench that opened the game 7-for-7.

Ray Allen inexplicably failed to make even a single one of his 13 field goal attempts, one short of the NBA record for misses without a make (Dennis Johnson, 1978), while Paul Pierce was just 5-for-12 for 15 points, battling foul trouble throughout. Kevin Garnett carried Boston’s offense with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including those first six points of the contest, after struggling in Games 1 and 2.

The Celtics cut the halftime lead in half after three, but couldn’t get any closer than one point (on multiple occasions) as the Lakers held off a furious charge.

They knew they could thank Derek Fisher for that.

Until Thursday’s Game 4, your numbers:

0 Field goals made by Ray Allen, despite 13 attempts (eight from three-point range) just a game after he set an NBA Finals record for made threes (8). His only two points came at the foul line.

11 Fourth quarter points for Derek Fisher, who was entirely instrumental to the victory. He finished with 16 points, making 5-of-7 shots in the fourth after hitting only 1-of-5 in the first three quarter.

12 Fastbreak points for the Celtics, more than L.A. had hoped for, but almost canceled out by eight from the Lakers.

43 Rebounds for the Lakers, eight more than Boston in the always-crucial battle.

87.5 L.A.’s free throw percentage, with a 21-of-24 conversion rate, including 6-of-7 in the fourth quarter.

Lakers 91, Celtics 84: Finals Game 3 Diary

60682621Lakers – Celtics Gameday Page
After a tough home loss in Game 2, the Lakers looked to regain home court advantage while in Boston for Game 3. Here’s our running diary from the contest, here to make sure you don’t miss a thing:

Lakers: Adam Morrison
Celtics: Tony Gaffney

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

Game 3 Video Preview
Pinch hitting for assistant coach Frank Hamblen was fellow assistant Jim Cleamons, who pointed out the major points of emphasis for L.A. – such as containing Boston’s transition game – after the team’s Tuesday shootaround.

60682497First Quarter
9:54 A frenetic first two minutes had the fans going wild in the TD Garden as a 6-0 Kevin Garnett run kicked things off, including a pretty up-and-under layup, an alley-oop dunk and a finger roll. Artest stopped the early bleeding with a put-back layup off Bynum’s missed dunk attempt, but promptly picked up two personals to send Luke Walton into the game far earlier than he’d entered all playoffs.

6:13 The Lakers gradually settled in, getting a turnaround J from Walton and two Kobe free throws to get within three points. Perkins was then hit with his second personal foul – bringing Rasheed Wallace and Lamar Odom into the game – before Gasol hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 12-10 Celtics. First major crisis = averted by L.A.

4:00 Odom marked his entrance into the game with a banked three – that’s one way to get it going – but Garnett countered with his fifth field goal conversion in as many attempts, helping make up for 0-for-4 starts from both Pierce and Allen.

0:00.7 A fantastic end to the quarter from the Lakers concluded in kind, as a streaking Odom caught Fisher’s 50-foot pass before laying it in, plus the foul, just before the buzzer sounded. That gave L.A. a 26-17 lead, as they finished the quarter on a 19-4 run.

60682558Second Quarter
10:30 L.A. slowed down not a bit to start the second, getting an and-1 layup from Bryant and Shannon Brown’s jumper to take a 31-17 lead as the crowd struggled to find anything about which to cheer.

7:14 Odom hit his third shot in as many attempts to give the Lakers a 17-point lead as L.A. continued to shine on defense, limiting Boston almost exclusively to long jumpers. Meanwhile, the bench had made all seven of its shots, but when Bryant went to the bench, the Lakers’ offense suddenly stalled, Brown and Farmar missing consecutive jumpers, as Boston scored four straight. That brought Bryant and Fisher quickly back into the game with the Lakers up 37-24.

5:00 Finally, the Celtics found some offense, running off nine straight points before Bynum scored from their paint at the other end. A Bryant to Gasol alley-oop followed, to put L.A.’s lead back at 12 after a momentary scare. Boston’s run included an absolute no-no as the Laker coaches saw things … an uncontested fastbreak layup for Rondo. Assistant coach Frank Hamblen would probably rather wear a kelly green shirt around town than see that (OK maybe not).

1:52 Great play from Kobe, who snatched the ball out of KG’s hands on a defensive board, then fed Bynum for an and-1 layup while falling out of bounds. Bryant had 12 points with six boards and three dimes at that point, with L.A. still up 11. Pierce countered with two free throws, but Kobe responded in turn by somehow dropping a left-handed runner over Perkins’s outstretched hands. The half closed with L.A. leading 52-40, on strength of a massive 32-8 run that surrounded the first quarter break, led by Kobe’s 16 points, and 15 points off the bench.

60682403Third Quarter
11:00 While Gasol hit a 17-footer for the first bucket of the second half, Garnett answered with a baseline jumper to get to a game-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Terrific stuff on O from KG, who struggled considerably in L.A. particularly in Game 2 (though in part due to foul trouble).

3:45 The Lakers’ offense stalled considerably for a 4-minute stretch without a field goal until Bryant finally got back-to-back shots to go, keeping the lead at nine. Kobe had been working considerably hard for all of his shots, having made 8-of-20 to that point.

0:24.9 As the Lakers continued to struggle to find open shots, particularly in the paint as Boston’s physical defense stepped up considerably, Gasol hit a 17-foot jumper to put L.A. up 67-61 heading into the fourth, their 12-point halftime lead cut in half. The momentum had swung in Boston’s direction, the crowd patiently awaiting further explosion, to make it a very difficult task for the Lakers to hold on.

60682445Fourth Quarter
9:45 The crowd was officially all the way back after Rondo’s transition layup followed another missed Kobe 3, his fifth of the game with just one make. The Purple and Gold were getting almost nothing inside, continually chucking shots from the perimeter as layups from Big Baby Davis and then Rondo cut the lead to only one (68-67).

5:40 It wasn’t Bryant, Gasol, Bynum or Odom that stepped up on offense, but Fisher, who twice drove around the Celtics defense to finish difficult shots heading to the rim. The second put L.A. up 74-70, as Boston took a full time out with possession for the Lakers.

2:17 Fisher continued his clutch stretch by hitting two more shots (eight points in the quarter) to keep the Lakers afloat until Gasol’s tough turnaround shot from the left block went in off glass and made it an 82-78 lead for the road team. L.A. certainly needed the extra offense as Bryant struggled to get shots to fall.

1:40 Of course, that wasn’t going to keep Bryant from firing. Undeterred, he nailed a tough turnaround over Allen to put L.A. up 84-80, the shot coming from near the spot on the floor that won L.A. the Jan. 31st game last time the Lakers were in Beantown.

0:48.0 Fittingly, Fisher nailed a ridiculous and-1 layup to seal a road victory for the Lakers. It was his fifth field goal of a fourth quarter he entered making only 1-of-5 shots, giving him 11 of his 16 points in a quarter for the ages. The Lakers also came up big on defense, getting crucial stops in the final minutes including a Kobe-Bryant-caused turnover on Garnett. Sasha Vujacic also made his contribution, checking in and immediately getting fouled before making two free throws with 23 seconds left. Bryant would add two free throws and Pierce a meaningless layup in what was a 91-84 final, the Lakers reclaiming home court advantage and thrusting control of the series right out of Boston’s grasp.

Video Preview: Finals Game 3

Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons joined us to discuss L.A.’s approach to Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Boston.

He detailed the team’s emphasis on matching up with Boston in transition, ensuring fewer open looks for Ray Allen, pounding the ball inside particularily early and late in the game and getting more production out of Lamar Odom.

Kobe Bryant Likes Game 3′s

D073786024.JPGThat Kobe Bryant has had a plethora of outstanding playoff games in the last two seasons isn’t exactly breaking news.

Um, duh.

Yet some of Bryant’s best performances have come in Game 3′s, which is not likely a coincidence since each of those games has been L.A.’s first road contest in their past seven playoff series, when No. 24′s sheer will in front of hostile fan bases can be most useful.

While L.A. has gone 3-4 in those games, it has won both times in which the series was tied at 1-1 (at Denver and at Houston last season), and went 1-4 when going up 2-0, perhaps signifying something about the opposing team’s desperation.

Here’s a look at what Bryant’s managed to do on an individual basis in those games heading into Tuesday evening’s Game 3 in Boston.

Game 3 @ Oklahoma City (101-96 L): 24 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Utah (111-110 W): 35 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Game 3 @ Phoenix (118-108 L): 36 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Game 3 @ Boston (we’ll see shortly)

Game 3 @ Utah (88-86 L*): 18 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Houston (108-94 W): 33 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Denver (103-97 W): 41 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Game 3 @ Orlando (108-104 L): 31 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds
*This was Bryant’s only really poor Game 3, but he bounced back for 38 points on 16-of-24 shooting in L.A.’s Game 4 win.

Celtics Snatch Home Court with Game 2 Win

60663132Two days after the Lakers posted an impressive 102-89 home victory over Boston in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Celtics returned the favor with a 103-94 victory in Game 2 that took home court advantage away from L.A.

Behind seven first half three-pointers from Ray Allen – one short of the Finals record he’d set in the third quarter – Boston led by as many as 14 before the Lakers took a lead early in the third and went into the fourth tied at 72-all.

L.A. did lead by as many as three when Kobe Bryant hit a baseline jumper with 5:21 remaining, but the home team couldn’t generate anything offensively from that point on, turning the ball over and clanking shots as Boston closed the game on a 16-7 run.

“It’s a disappointing loss for our ball club,” said Pau Gasol, who himself was terrific with 25 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. “They did a good job, really executed and had a good game plan. We definitely need to make sure we hustle a little more; they got to the ball tonight a lot of times quicker than we did.”

Getting to the ball quicker was most notable for Boston on the offensive glass, where they matched L.A.’s Game 1 effort with 13 rebounds, four of which came from Rajon Rondo, who finished the contest with a 19-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. More importantly, Rondo hit the game’s key shot when left open for a 20-foot jumper that opened a 95-90 lead with 1:59 remaining, and at the other end notched a block of a Derek Fisher three and steal of Bryant in the final minutes that helped seal the win.

“Tonight he was unbelievable,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “He made the big shot … he just did a lot things, the blocked shots, the steals. He was special tonight.”

60663871Several of Rondo’s early assists went to Allen, who finished with a game-high 32 points, while Glen Davis chipped in eight points and seven boards off the bench in relief of Kevin Garnett, who played just 23 minutes while saddled with foul trouble en route to six points and six assists.

L.A. was out-rebounded by five (44-39), gave up 11 fast break points while scoring just four, and finished with 15 turnovers while shooting 40.8 percent from the field.

Much of the Lakers’ offensive success came from Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who used a playoff-high 39 minutes to score 21 points with six rebounds and seven blocks in his best game of the postseason.

“Our big guys played great,” said Phil Jackson. “We didn’t get the ball often enough to them or in good enough position many times.”

But Bryant, also saddled with foul trouble, finished with 21 points, six assists and five rebounds while having to play the final minutes of the fourth with five personals.

Needless to say, Bryant wasn’t too pleased in his postgame presser.

“We fought pretty hard to get back in the game,” he said. “We let it slip away … It has nothing to do with scoring. We gave them too many easy opportunities (on offense), blew too many assignments. That’s it.”

If a lack of defense particularly down the stretch lost L.A. the game, foul trouble on Lamar Odom for the second straight game and poor shooting nights from Ron Artest and Derek Fisher didn’t help. Odom played only 14 minutes to score three points with five boards, Artest missed all but one of 10 shots even while holding Paul Pierce to 2-of-11 field goals himself, and Fisher made only 2-of-8 field goals.

The Lakers must now turn their attention immediately towards regaining home court advantage by claiming victory for the eighth consecutive playoff series on their opponent’s court, the first chance coming on Tuesday evening in Beantown.

“No doubt it’s a blow to lose the home-court, but we anticipated this might happen,” said Jackson. “We’re just going to have to go pick it up.”

Until then, your numbers:

2 Second half turnovers for Boston, which very effectively ran its offense in the fourth quarter in particular to outscore L.A. 31-22.

8 NBA Finals record made three-pointers from Ray Allen, who drained his first seven in the first half and hit another in the third quarter en route to 32 points.

14 NBA Finals single-game record in blocks for the Lakers, thanks mostly to seven swats from Andrew Bynum and six from Pau Gasol.

14:38 Minutes played by Lamar Odom, who for the second straight game was whistled for three fouls early in the contest. He finished with only three points and five boards.

21 Playoff-career-high tying points from Bynum, in addition to his seven blocks and six boards, in a terrific individual effort.

Celtics 103, Lakers 94: Finals Game 2 Diary

60664509Lakers – Celtics Gameday Page
After an impressive 101-89 Game 1 victory, the Lakers looked to hold home court heading to Boston for Games 3-5. We were there to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Lakers: Adam Morrison
Celtics: Tony Gaffney

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

Game 2 Video Preview
Assistant coach Frank Hamblen joined us to preview Game 2 against Boston, explaining why he expects a much better all-around effort from the Celtics, citing the importance of again controlling the glass, detailing how the Lakers want to better move the basketball on offense and more. CLICK HERE to watch.

Coaches Pregame Pressers
Phil Jackson spent the initial moments of his press conference discussing Tex Winter’s receiving of the NBA Coaches Association 2010 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award along with Dr. Jack Ramsey. “It’s heartwarming to see two guys you looked up to as a coach receive an award,” he said. Jackson also said he expected Game 2 to be much tighter than Game 1 down the stretch.

60664191First Quarter
8:35 The Lakers looked terrific in the first two minutes, forcing tough Celtics’ shots while scoring seven straight points to take a 7-2 lead. It was then good news, bad news for Boston as a 6-0 run featured two straight transition layups, but Garnett was called for his second personal foul.

4:38 Wasn’t this supposed to be a tough, grind-it-out defensive battle? Instead, offensive execution was the story of the opening minutes, as both teams checked in at over 60 percent from the field. Ray Allen carried Boston by making 4-of-5 shots for 10 points (including two threes), while Bynum and Gasol combined to make 5-of-6 shots for 12 total points in an 19-18 Lakers’ lead.

0:27.7 In Game 1, the Lakers noticeably missed the presence of Lamar Odom, who picked up three fouls off the bench almost immediately, getting called for a charge on Pierce for his third with 10:20 left in the second. Unfortunately for L.A., Odom last only three minutes in the first quarter before picking up his third yet again, fouling Pierce twice on defense and then – again – getting called for a charge of Pierce at the other end. Meanwhile, the Celtics went on a 9-2 run and smiled as the Lakers got away from running their offense crisply to close the quarter up 29-22.

60664238Second Quarter
9:52 While Odom’s output off the bench hurt L.A. for the second straight game, quick offense from Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown while attacking the hoop produced a 4-0 run. However, Farmar and Brown followed up by taking deep perimeter jumpers, and Boston used the second miss to get Allen a wide-open three in transition, which swished through to put the Celtics up 36-26. While L.A.’s offense had completely stalled, worse was the nine fastbreak points for Boston after just five in all of Game 1.

6:53 Time for the proverbial NBA JAM “He’s on fire!” reference. Allen continued to punish the Lakers in a big way, nailing his fifth three in as many attempts after Brown sagged off Allen to help on non-offensive threat Kendrick Perkins. As L.A. continued to struggle at the other end, Boston built its lead up to 14 points at 42-28.

3:47 After making just one of his first seven shots, Bryant hit a deep jumper, missed pull-up three, stole an outlet pass to draw two free throws and finally hit a pull-up jumper. Clearly, he was trying to assert his will offensively after L.A. struggled considerably early despite his five first quarter assists. But moments later, it was more bad news for the Lakers as Allen flopped to draw Bryant’s third personal, about which the fans were furious. To rub it in, Allen hit his seventh three – tying an NBA Finals record – in seven attempts to reach 27 first half points.

0:02.7 After a really poor all-around first half, L.A. got a lifeline as in-the-game-only-because-of-three-fouls-on-Perkins-and-Garnett Shelden Williams threw away a rebound with four seconds remaining to a crashing-in Bryant near midcourt. Kobe took a step, pulled up and drained a deep three to make it just a six-point Celtics lead (54-48) at the break. Seven Allen threes, foul trouble for Kobe and Odom, lack of Gasol touches and poor shooting, but just a six-point deficit? L.A. would certainly take it.

60664232Third Quarter
10:02 It was almost as if halftime didn’t exist as the Lakers rolled off an immediate 9-2 run to build on the 7-0 spurt that closed the half (16-2 total). Back-to-back hoops from Bryant and Gasol followed a corner three and 1-of-2 free throws from both Artest and Bynum to do the damage.

6:50 One player who’d been terrific throughout and a huge matchup problem for Boston was Bynum. He used his size advantage inside first for an alley-oop dunk from Gasol, then drew KG’s fourth foul (he’d drawn No. 4 on Perkins earlier) before hitting both free throws to reach 16 points, putting L.A. up 63-61.

3:28 Allen’s eighth three made him the sole holder of a new NBA Finals record, but Fisher’s pull-up J in transition tied the score at 68 heading into a time out.

0:36.7 Fittingly, Gasol hit the final shot of a terrific individual third quarter in which he scored 10 points to reach a team-high 24, but Boston played the Lakers even after L.A.’s initial burst, which produced a 72-all tie heading into what promised to be a terrific fourth quarter.

60663918Fourth Quarter
11:15 Well, that wasn’t what L.A. had in mind. Bryant was whistled for his fifth foul on a charge drawn by Big Baby, but Phil Jackson decided to trust him enough to leave him in.

9:12 A Vujacic three and Bynum dunk erased Boston’s brief four-point lead, but just-checked-in Lil’ Nate Robinson pulled up for a three, then scored off a Tony Allen steal to give Boston an 83-80 lead.

6:16 Bynum somehow caught a lobbed pass from Odom between two defenders and promptly laid the ball in to match a playoff career-high with 21 points, not to mention his playoff career high seven blocks and six rebounds, putting the Lakers up two, as the teams traded blows.

1:12 Then things went drier than the Sahara for L.A., who had not scored a single point in over four minutes. Bryant’s jumper with 5:21 remaining was literally the team’s only bucket of that stretch, as Boston reeled off a 11-0 run over that period to take a commanding 98-90 lead.

0:47.1 Bryant finally stopped the drought with a deep three before Rondo made 1-of-2 free throws, but Kobe turned the ball over on the next possession as Rondo poked it away from behind. Bynum then fouled Rondo at the other end, and he hit 1-of-2 again to make it a 100-93 lead with 33 seconds left.

0:00 That would be all for the Lakers, who’d lose their first home playoff game of the 2010 campaign, 103-94. Stay tuned for postgame coverage on

Tex Winter Receives Coaching Honor

texPrior to Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals between Boston and L.A., coaching legend Tex Winter received the NBA Coaches Association 2010 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award alongside Dr. Jack Ramsay.

“It’s heartwarming to see two guys you looked up to as a coach receive an award,” said Lakers head coach and devotee to Winter’s Triangle Offense Phil Jackson.

Winter took the podium in the STAPLES Center press room briefly to thank the Coaches Association for the honor, while receiving a hearty ovation from those in attendance as Mavericks coach and Coaches Association President Rick Carlisle presented the honors.

“To receive an award like this from my peers is one of the highlights of my career,” said Winter.

In a release from the Coaches Association, Winter was described as follows:

An exceptionally successful coach on the college level, Tex brought his passion, intense study of the game and strategic thinking to the NBA where he has been a key contributor to an amazing ten NBA Championship teams. Tex’s refinement and introduction of the now famed “Triangle Offense” into the NBA revolutionized the game and how it was coached.

Video Preview: Game 2 vs. Boston

Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen joined us after Saturday morning’s practice session to detail the team’s plans heading into Sunday’s Game 2 against Boston, in which L.A. will look to build upon a 101-88 Game 1 victory.

Hamblen explained why he expects a much better all-around effort from the Celtics, cited the importance of again controlling the glass, detailed how the Lakers want to better move the basketball on offense and more.

To watch, click play above.