Game 3 Thoughts

nomuskles —  June 10, 2008

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t the breakout party for the vaunted triangle offense that Lakers fans have been waiting for. The brand of basketball played by both teams in game 3 was an insult to eyes and ears everywhere. Sometimes, that’s just how it goes, but this was no better than watching the Spurs and Pistons duke it out, that’s for sure.

The consequences of this game are difficult to predict. The Lakers proved that for one game, at least, they won’t throw up the white flag without a little snarling of their own. Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Ronny Turiaf, and Kobe Bryant refused to be intimidated by individual Celtic opponents tonight. While they aren’t anywhere near the driver’s seat, the Lakers got a little bit of their swagger back. More than that, it’s anyone’s guess. Will that same energy and desperation be on display Thursday at 11th and Fig in downtown Los Angeles? That question is going to hang in the air for the next 43 hours like smoke in a 1960s bowling alley.

From the starting bell, the Lakers showed a completely different willingness to take the ball to the hoop and punish the Celtics for camping out in the paint. Many possessions Kobe and Lamar had a thought bubble over their head that said, “Oh, you better bring more than three green jerseys to stop this drive or I’m simply going to find a way to overpower you.” While Boston managed to turn back 8 Lakers shots, this major adjustment in attitude affected the way the team played the rest of the game—both offensively and defensively. With their backs against the wall, the Lakers didn’t rope a dope, they came out swinging. There was no butterfly, only the bee. And for one game, the Celtics got stung by Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

What I saw:

-Kobe took it to the rack with increased efficiency and his tough midrange jumper over the defender was falling. This made a huge difference.
-The Lakers were much more adamant about running the offense through Pau, but he wasn’t that much aggressive one on one. His aggression came on the offensive glass in the 4th quarter, playing energetic defense, and going after rebounds. Reminded me of his bounceback game against the Spurs.
-The Lakers, especially Kobe, crashed the boards and helped limit second chance opportunities. Differential was 45-44 Boston.
-The Lakers missed way too many free throws. (21-34, 62% is quite Shaq-like)
-Sasha Vujacic was playing very confident basketball. It always amazes how much difference a change of venue can make. He finished (7-10, 3-5 from 3pt land) with 20 points.
-Vujacic, Walton, and Farmar had a nice stretch together. All of them posted good +/- numbers.
-Kevin Garnett (6-21) and Paul Pierce (2-14) both had horrendous shooting nights. Don’t expect a repeat of that performance by either man the rest of the way.

What did you see?

-nomuskles

nomuskles

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131 responses to Game 3 Thoughts

  1. Ah yes, The Dude Abides, I totally spaced out. The switch of Kobe off Allen was a good one. Kobe is unwilling to chase Jesus Shuttlesworth through so many screens, which was creating a lot of scrambling help situations. Now he can play the spy line backer helping off Rondo.

  2. The Dude Abides June 10, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Brought over from the previous thread:

    Thank you Phil, for doing what I pleaded for you to do before Game 1, and then after Game 2, and that was to put Kobe on Rondo. Such a simple move…Kobe doesn’t have to chase Ray-Ray through all the screens, and can lay off Rondo in order to play passing lanes and double-down on the block. Fisher is big enough and physical enough to guard Allen, and when Kobe doubles down, he’s a bigger presence than Fish.

  3. Brought over from the previous thread:

    I just got home from Staples Center tonight – one of the weirdest playoff games I’ve ever attended, particularly one with so much at stake. The building was absolutely dead from the start, and remained a black hole until Farmar took the charge against Pierce in the 4th quarter. It’s almost like the lack of passion in the crowd mirrored that of the team in the first two games. I can only attribute the vacuum to everyone’s nervousness and fear over the 2-0 deficit and the lousy way the team was playing. Our poor performance on offense, the over-abundance of foul calls, and the choppy pace of the game kept the environment shockingly low key for an NBA Finals game.

    As far as the game itself, I am feeling more of a sense of relief than any euphoria from the season-saving win. Kobe and Sasha obviously were magnificent and team defense was stalwart in stretches, but the offense as a whole was breathtakingly inept at times. Given that we’re now 18 games into the playoffs, it is stunning how discombobulated, confused, and over-matched Pau, VladRad, Lamar and Luke look out there. While a win definitely is a win and the team deserves credit for prevailing while not bringing its A-game, it’s hard to believe the Lakers can rally and take this series if Lamar and Pau in particular cannot elevate their games to their prior high level of play. It’s hard to know how much credit Boston’s defense should get, and how much “blame” should go to Lamar and Pau for not fulfilling their offensive responsibilities – they really have been embarrassing. While Kobe absolutely needed to do what he did tonight and I only applaud his aggression, a Kobe-dominated offense has to be fool’s gold in the long run. I’m sure Boston will make some adjustments on Kobe for game 4 – who else among the starters is going to finally step up? At this point, I don’t think we can just *assume* Lamar or Paul will finally bring it.

    Finally, I was also impressed with Jordan Farmar tonight. He outplayed Fisher, was quick and aggressive, and the charge he took on Pierce finally electrified the crowd and may have been the turning point in the game.

  4. I love how Farmar didn’t back away from PJ Brown. Way to go Jordy!

  5. Just got back from the game. Wow, what a great win when we really needed it. A few observations:

    -From the start, Kobe was very aggressive driving to draw contact (which the Lakers seemed to do very effectively); it felt like the Celtics had 5 team fouls at the 6-8 min mark every quarter.
    -The Machine was on at both ends of the court. His pesky D was fantastic and when he nailed that super clutch 3 with like 2 min left in the 4th, the game was over.
    -Jordar Farmar played with poise tonight and ran the offense very effectively. He was a great playmaker tonight.
    -The refs seem to be calling this series based on their location. Lot’s of fouls tonight, which heavily favored the Lakers.
    -KG manages to look good, but be a non-threat, even in a bad game (and NEVER gets called for traveling!!!).
    -Where was Paul Pierce? Oh…yea, we scared the life out of him during pregame introductions and he never returned. Weak performance.
    -Ray Ray, carry your team for this game, because it’s all you got.
    -PJ Brown and Sam Cassell : you’re done, old men.
    -With Bynum, this matchup would be much easier. Gasol is too soft when he finishes in the paint. We don’t have anyone that can get up and dunk (reliably – that’s you Lamar/Pau) over Garnett or Perkins. We need that low post scoring to spread the floor for Rad-Man, Black Mamba, and The Machine.

  6. Amazing how Sasha has gone from a scrub that made you cringe when he touched the ball, to a fan favorite and a key component to a championship contending team.

    “Oh, that can go both ways…”
    - My sister after informing her of Sasha’s nickname

  7. It was hard to make out how the crowd reacted as I was watching the game at a sports bar. The sound was on but you know how these caverns can make listening difficult. From Scot’s description, I was feeling much like those at Staples tonight. Honestly, I am a pissed off fan. The Celtics are being allowed to claw, push and ugly their way through this series. The Lakers aren’t as well equipped to do the same and are not being allowed to do it by the refs anyway. The beauty of what made this Lakers’ run so joyous and pure was in how the Lakers offense was running and how the defense was confident, aggressive in stretches and certainly opportunistic. This has not been the case in this series. With LO playing worse then I’ve seen in over a year and Pau either refusing or unable to attack the rim, this team is struggling to keep scores close to what is, more and more, looking like the better team from Boston.

    I find it interesting that commentators on ESPN and ABC keep arguing that Garnett and Pierce will not play like this next game. That is probably true but, again, Gasol’s length and some of LO’s work is playing into the style that Garnett plays and creating problems for him. Pierce struggled tonight because the venue was changed and I don’t see him capable of playing a whole series the way he did in Boston. He was unconscious since his injury. Someone must have called away his angel. Most of all, LO in particular and Gasol in huge stretches, have been offensively challenged. The few times when Gasol caught the ball and went right to the basket, he found his rhythm and scored. I think the Lakers need that from him this series, more then the scan the field and pass first, score second, version of Pau that has stood us so well the last few months. Against this Celtics team, which is so aggressive, so physical, so strong, and so big, Gasol has to attack them. When they begin to adjust to Gasol making his shots, drawing fouls and going up strong to the basket, the whole team’s offense will open up. Odom will find room to do his thing and the shooting % will rise.

    Did anyone see the Truehoops live blog o the game? If so, did you notice that David Thorpe brought up trading Bynum for Deng? Is he serious? Maybe I’m an idiot here, and seeing as how I respect Thorpe’s analysis it may be the case that I am being an idiot, but isn’t Bynum what the Lakers need, rather then a 3. Even if a decision to move LO is made, you can get a nice piece with him and still keep a young center who gives you rebounding and an inside presence that neither PG or LO provide in the quantity that Drew does. Mix in the fact that the team may want to move any two of three SFs (LO, Walton, Radman) why would the Lakers want to take one on in exchange for their up and coming star center? Also, Pau, I think, has enough power to be a power forward but lacks what we need if he is the center. With Andrew drawing the muscle, doesn’t Pau’s game expand and allow it to blossom into the high post facilitator that was so effective against everyone but the Celtics? If it were up to me, I try to move Walton and or Radman (not easy, I know), I figure that Drew returns healthy and watch as LO becomes the greatest 4th option the league has seen since the 80′s. Drew, Gasol and LO average 35 minutes a game and the Lakers start a roll that puts PJ way ahead of Red and the Lakers a few championships ahead of Boston. So, was Thorpe just f-ing around?

  8. The way Pau passed every friggin time they gave him the ball was frustrating. I mean he was scoring over Duncan the last series! Are you telling me Perkins is a better defender?

  9. Sasha absolutely earned his stripes tonight. He and Kobe were the only two players who came into this game with a “can’t lose” mindset. You knew early on watching Kobe that he was going to will his team to victory, even if he had to do it on his own. And watching Sasha desperately chase his man around the court on one end and then shoot long J’s with supreme confidence on the other, you could see how Bryant’s attitude has rubbed off on him. Sasha proved himself not only to be a fearless shooter, but a real warrior. I hope Odom and Gasol were watching, because the Lakers can’t afford another no show from those 2.

  10. Has anyone else seen Sasha’s press conference? I thought it was great how he answered every question, even if it wasn’t necessarily game related, with the same “it was a great team win” answer.

  11. I just want to know who the blonde chick sitting next to Jack Nicholson was.

  12. Well played game by Kobe and Sasha and to an extent the rest of the Lakers. Hats off to them.

  13. Why didn’t Rondo get a wheelchair? I mean he mildly sprained his ankle and could barely walk without a slight limp. Is the LA medical staff or Staples Center equipment staff discriminating against the visiting team? The least his teammates could have done was carry him off…

    Anyway, terrible game to watch that ended well. I was hoping for a blow out to set the tone, but I guess we have to take it. They didn’t play well enough to lend a whole lot of encouragement going into G4. At this point it seems our best odds are with a coin toss. Hopefully Lamar can get his head out of his a** and remember how to finish. Sasha and Farmar were highlights off the bench, I’d like to see that continue with consistency (especially once heading into Boston to close). I gotta think more on this one but I don’t think I’m going to be able to enter Thursday with a much better feeling than yesterday. That said, go Lakers!

  14. Ugly game. So many fouls created a choppy game. It wouldn’t have been that close if the Lakers could make a FT. I thought the biggest difference, at least defensively, was putting Kobe on Rondo, allowing Kobe to sort of play a one man zone. This really allowed the Lakers to clog up the paint, double down on Garnett, and double pierce any time he tried to drive into the lane.

    The Lakers need more from Gasol and Odom. They both looked a little more aggressive in the 4th quarter. Gasol played decent defensively but he was not aggressive offensively, made some bad mistakes, and missed some easy shots. I expect Gasol to have a better game on Thursday, Odom I’m not so sure about.

  15. As was said earlier, this game was fool’s gold. A Kobe dominated offense wins you one, maybe two games a series. The other four members of our starting lineup played atrociously. Lamar and Pau need to STEP UP, and its sad that, at the 100th game of this season (I know Pau hasn’t been around the whole time) we still have to question the aggression and the knowledge of what to do with these two players. But I’m at the point where I think its teh Celtics defense.

    They’re packing the lane, we know that, but unfortunately that neutralizes both Lamar and Pau. As has been said all season, ALL of Gasol’s points come from dishes from Kobe drives and easy putbacks–with a clogged lane, this no longer happens. When Kobe gets into teh lane there are too many bodies to make a quick pass to Gasol and give him an easy bucket, and there are also too many Celtics for Gasol to get easy putback (a tough rebound in traffic? Pau? I think not?). Pau is just NOT good enough to take someone one-on-one (how was he the primary scorer for a playoff team yaers ago?). Kendrick Perkins, time and time again,s tood behind him and STOPPED him from scoring. And since he goes up so weak, he gets stuffed when he tries.

    Odom is also worthless with a packed lane. I can’t even begin to count how many times he has caught the ball 18 feet from the basket and just stood there, not knowing what to do. he has no confidence in his jump shot, and if he bulls into the lane he has either got a charge, lost the ball, or had his weak stuff sent back.

    The solution? Both of them need to get confident with their jumpers (especially Pau) OR they need to go to the basket strong and get fouls…but they’ve never been able to do the second. I say, keep Farmar and Vujacic in the game and hope they can drive in enough to kick out to the guys who can shoot.

  16. In game 4 we need to do a better job establishing Pau early on. Kobe’s aggressiveness early on was important in setting the tine of the game, but it also took us away from the triangle offense–I don’t think Pau even touched the ball in the post in the 1st quarter. That said, Pau needs to have the mentality he showed in game 2 when he dunked on KG with a *decisive* move. Where he gets in trouble are those sequences when he just stands there ball-faking, unsure whether he wants to pass, shoot or drive. Those are the sequences that seem the end with a turnover or a low percentage shot.

  17. Ap-

    Re. Pau. “ALL of Gasol’s points come from dishes from Kobe drives and easy putbacks–with a clogged lane” Look, it wasn’t smoke & mirrors that led to the guy making the all-star team. He has a terrific set of offensive skills. But he needs to be put in the right position for this to happen. In game 2 we went to him early and he made a number of great moves or midrange shots.

    Re. Lamar. The issue is NOT that Lamar needs to be more “aggressive” or take it “strong”. He’s doing this plenty–it’s what is getting him and the team in trouble. What he needs to do is take it SMART, and this is not Lamar’s forte.

  18. The comments here are great. It’s a realistic assessment of how things went and how we think they’ll go. Great comments!

    Lane
    http://LosAngelesSource.com

  19. The good portion of Gasol’s points since he has been a Laker have come from other’s assists. We have commented many, many times how Gasol rarely creates his own shot. There were many times where he was positioned quite well on the low-block, with Perkins there and no one coming to double, and he was incapable of making a strong move to the basket. He was getting it in the right places to be a post scoring presence, he just wasn’t delivering. I think he just needs to take those jumpers on the elbow that are available to him and that he can make.

    And Lamar has not been all that aggressive, someone 6′ 10” shouldn’t be missing layups unless there is a foul involved. Why do you think everytime the Celtics miss a layup there is a foul involved? Because they’re going to the hoop with their shots instead of fading to one side, or trying to layup the ball while using your body as a shield. If you go strong, directly at the basket (as in, say, looking for a dunk rather than a layup or soft floater), you will get fouls when you’re on the inside. Lamar has always had a problem with this, its just more glaring in these last few games, because they’re not attempting to guard him 15 feet from the basket.

  20. Just to reiterate the Bill Bridges article that was up a few posts ago, you can really see how off the ball fouls, and illegal screens that go uncalled really help the Celtics get open looks. Its pretty impossible to get past an imposing Garnet when he’s setting a pick, especially when hes holding you. I was suprised that the refs didnt really call them this game either. There was plenty of moving picks on the celtics side that could have been called, and even more garnet travels on the post that didnt get called.

    I think this was a precedence that was set by the run and gun Suns offense. The go to Suns play, was a moving screen that flowed into a pick and roll. The refs never called that a foul, and the Celts are just capitalizing on that statistics. There were quite a few times that I thought a frustrated Kobe was either gonna get the call or punch Garnett in the face. Given his one technical that would have been anti-climatic to put it mildly.

  21. 18) Muffin-Man,
    “What he needs to do is take it SMART, and this is not Lamar’s forte.”

    Agreed – and the Celtics are doing a very good job of taking the individual Lakers out of their comfort zones.

  22. 16. All of Pau’s points do not come from gimmes off of Kobes drives. Thats simply not true. A lot of the time they do, but thats because the offense runs through Kobe most of the time. Pau has a number of good post moves, can finish with both hands and can hit the mid range jumper. In game two he started out something like 6-6, most if not all of them were shots he created himself. The Lakers need to establish him early in the game so that he gets into a rhythm. He also needs to be more aggressive. Last night he didn’t seem like he wanted to shoot the ball at all. Every time it went into him in the post, he would just look to pass it back out.

  23. Kobe attacking the basket’s been good, I don’t think we can win he if settles for jumpers & the post via the triangle.

    @12, it’s jack’s daughter: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1574234/

  24. Bingo T. Klown June 11, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Did anyone else notice that KG sets an OBVIOUSLY illegal screen 95% of the time? Mark Jackson did? Even JVG did, though used that old standard “it ain’t a foul if it isn’t called” line.

    Seriously it’s a complete mystery that millions of people around the world who are thousands of miles away from where the game is being played can see something that 3 trained professionals can’t (okay they called it once in the 4Q).

    And so now that the Lakers are doing what every expert wants them to do, be more aggressive like the Celtics (foul until you get caught) , we now have the equivalent of your typical spurs v. whoever-comes-out-of -the-east borefest.

    Great I guess I’ll just console myself with all the Showtime era reruns on NBA TV.

  25. Celtic Fan here. I’m glad we can agree on how ugly of a game it was. Though the Cs were close, I never really felt we had a chance. Other than the third quarter the scoreboard didn’t indicate what the score should have been.

    Amazing, if you go to the hoop you get the calls. I think the same thing happened to the Cs last night as what happened to the lakers…it wasn’t that the celtics weren’t commiting fouls, it was the fact that lakers committed more than what was called. It was a make-up game, which was predictable.

    I have to admit, this game scares me as a fan. I realize we probably just need 1 in LA. But now it’s down to 1/2. But do you guys think that last night proved LA was the better team? I don’t think LA has showed that yet. Your thoughts?

  26. Man, what a game! Personally I am very disappointed. This was Game 3 and Lakers should have left no doubt, taken a large (12-15 points) lead and won with a comfortable margin to create momentum, energize crowd and most importantly intimidate the Celts. Well none of that really happened except for a brief lead of 11 or 12 points early on.

    I think that Sasha must play all the time. This dude really wants to defend and we can not say the same about many people in Purple and Gold. Pau is bullied around at all times and his face expressions make it even worse to watch him getting abused by Kendrick Perkins (WHO?). So far Pau has been taking games off, in stretches it feels like he is just there because 5 players have to be on the field. I agree that his agression down the stretch was very welcome. Wonder what PJ told him… I am sure those were not very nice wrods

    Lamar Odom’s skills could be a perfect fit for the triangle offense, but Lamar Odom the player is not living up to the expectations and is making a good case for being shipped out of town soon. He still commands league-wide respect and I am sure we could get something back that we can work with in exchange. LO and Walton for Luol Deng and Drew Gooden would not be such a bad deal if it goes down. Deng will play the 3 with athleticism, agression, rebounding and defense. I am not really sure I want this to happen, but it could be something Lakers can look into. We certainly do not need chokers towards the end of the season.

    I do not think Bynum is going anywhere. Kupchak would have to be bananas to trade Drew. You can see in these finals how much the Lakers could use Bynum. Except for Kobe and Fish, take out any Laker and put Bynum instead and Celts will not be roaming around, dominating boards and getting easy transition. Bynum is the one for the short-term and long-term future so he can not go. Neither can Sasha, who I am sure will get a fat paycheck this summer.

    I think that line-up of Fish, Sasha, Kobe, Radman and Gasol is optimal for us. Odom brings some rebounding and defense but with the optimal line-up pointed out above, Lakers can be very very scary. All but Pau can hit 3, Kobe can penetrate, Radmanovic can spot up, score from mid-range and has some rebounding skills when focused, Sasha is a bomber from downtown and is Kobe’s copycat in terms of penetration, spot up, fadeaway skills. Fish is Fish, this guy is severely underrated, seriously. He might not do things for the entire regular season, average his 9-10 points and 3-4 assists, but when it comes to clutch he is huge. The 5th element of the optimal line-up is Pau. With capable shooters spaced around him, Pau has the paint all to himself and Celts will be reluctant to double-team because of our downtown bombers staying open. This line-up worked pretty good at the end of Game 2 and also last night with the exception of Luke Walton instead of Radman.

    Kobe Bryant did amazing things, but he simply can not miss 7 FTs in one game. No way. Putting him on Rondo has certainly made life easier for the Lakers defense, because Kobe does not feel like chasing Allen all over the court and hustling all the time. Mamba has great defensive skills, and can bring game changing stops, but unfortunately seems to lack the composure to work on D.

    Game 3 is in the books… We did fine, but not even good. We were supposed to destroy the Celts and send out a message that we are here to stay for good. Instead we were losing the game with about 2 min left and entire LA-LA land biting nails… Celtics are not intimidated, why should they be? They had a horrible game and still ended up losing by only 6. I hope this W does not get too much into Lakers’ heads.

    Btw, if you guys see Lamar around please tell him that he has a game coming up this Thursday at Staples Center

    Lakers Optimism is not here yet, but it’s on its way… No predictions yet either

  27. 20
    Yes, a good portion of Pau’s points come off other’s assists–and that’s a good thing! It means players are looking for him, and it means he’s making decisive cuts to the hoop. Last night neither was happening, but it’s not just because Pau has suddenly turned into Kwame Brown (who it should be noted, never contributed half as much given the same feeds). The Lakers weren’t running their offense for long stretches of the game and they never got Pau into any kind of rhythm.

    But you’re just missing the boat on Lamar. He took the ball strong to the hoop twice in the 4th quarter and did exactly what you’re asking for: tried to dunk. The first one he missed, the second one he got called for an offensive foul (and still missed the dunk). And it’s silly to imply that any shot attempt other than a dunk is taking it up soft.

    LO is just making bad decisions. He telegraphs his drives to the baskets, and the Celtics know exactly what to expect–hell, who doesn’t? He wants to get to his left hand, and if that gets shut down, he wants to spin back to his right. On the spin back he either charges into a defender camping out, or misses a contested shot. The shot that is open EVERY TIME is right below the free throw line extended. Another shot that’s open is a controlled jump hook in the lane. No one outside of KG can bother the latter because of his length. This was the only fg he had in the game.

    I’d like to see Lamar just focus on three things: defense, rebounding, and moving without the ball. If he can do those things well, the game will come to him. The worst thing we can do is try to isolate Lamar on the wing and let him take his guy off the dribble. That’s exactly what the Celtics are waiting for and its a recipe for turnovers and easy transition buckets for the bad guys.

  28. I agree with those who said that Lamar needs to play smarter. But there is actually something both he and Pau can do that would immediately help. When they drive, they need to hold the ball like football players do. I couldn’t believe how many times they got stripped on the way to the hoop. Those of you who’ve played teams that reach in a lot know what I’m talking about. Lock the ball in with your entire arm, and defenders will slap your arm, not the ball.

    Pau, on the other hand, tried to back down Perkins. That is not how you play him, as Thorpe pointed out. KP is strong but not fast. So you attack him by proving first you can shoot (as Ap mentioned), then use your first step on him. With the way the games are called in LA, I guarantee you Perkins will get in foul trouble if the first step from Pau is decisive enough. Pau can do the same with PJ Brown. And when it come to KG? Gasol should adopt the move he used on that Game 2 dunk. Drive, bump KG off-balance, and go up. KG is not strong enough to take that bump AND block shots

  29. Bingo stole what I was going to say about KG’s blatant moving screens….it’s so obvious that he’s performing a spin w/ the screen as the Laker that he’s screening keeps moving, Garnett keeps moving with him! It’s so blatantly an illegal move, how does it go from only being called once!!!

    One other note, the Lakers are obviously going to have to win w/o Gasol and Odom…so anything that they can get from either one of them will help….pitiful bball from those two…

    I guess there’s a reason Gasol has only made one AllStar game…

  30. Start Farmar in Game 4.

  31. “But do you guys think that last night proved LA was the better team?”

    No. As of now, the Celtics appear to me to be a little better. Jackson needs to leave Odom and Gasol out there for size and rebounding, but neither of them, particularly Odom, matches up well with the Boston front line. As a few folks, me included, have said, the Lakers need Bynum in this series, but he is out, and that is the nature of the game and takes nothing away from a Celtic title if they do win it.

    Pierce and Garnett will almost certainly shoot better in the coming games, of course, but in Pierce’s case in particular, Game 3 was the just the percentages evening up. Prior to Game 3, Pierce was 16/26 from the field and 7/8 on 3s. That was not going to continue. But, at the same time, he is not going to go 2/14 again, in all likelihood.

    I think Jackson should leave Bryant on Rondo a lot and play Bryant and Vujacic together more. Vujacic may not have another game as good as Game 3, but the threat of the 3 that he provides, in and of itself, will help the team.

    Speaking of percentages, the Celtics are now 2-8 on the road in the postseason and the Lakers are 9-0 at home. So, while I fervently hope I am wrong, it seems likely to me that the Celtics will take one of the next 2, and get it back to Boston up 3-2.

  32. Ray Ray just needs to call it quits. Kobe has the look and NO ONE can stop the man. It was just ridiculous how Kobe just made Ray look like a chess pawn. But Kobe can’t do it all by his lonesome. If Lamar and Pau would like to come to the games instead of watching it with the fans, that would be greatly appreciated. play wit it.

  33. Funny, where are all the complainers about the awful officials from last nights game??????? Pierce was being molested all game no call.

    Yah your right perk, pierce and rondo all faked their injuries. Rondo sat out pretty much the entire game, as did perk. Pierce has a swollen knee.

    Had the celtics been able to hit a free throw they would have had this win. The L’s stand no chance in this series. No nearly physical enough. I was thinking Boston in 6, but now I can see them taking the next 2.

  34. It’s starting to look like the early 90s wrestlefests again. Ugh. If you saw it on the street, you’d call the cops.

  35. “Had the celtics been able to hit a free throw they would have had this win”

    The Lakers were 21/34 at the line. What Celtics fan site linked you over here, BTW?

  36. @Brent45, if you go through the comments of the game chat, there were plenty of complaints about the reffing. Granted, they were complaints that the Lakers were getting the short end of the stick, but they were complaints, nonetheless. I don’t think Lakers fans are going to spend a whole lot of energy focusing on missed calls that go against the Celtics.

    I think the Celtics posters bring up a good point. The Lakers still look like they are unsettled and if Boston has another breakout game, the Lakers seem like they will be in trouble.

  37. Agreed that the Celtics look like the better team right now. The only way I would’ve come to a different conclusion was if the Lakers offense ran wild on the Celtics D last night. Never happened. Last night was as much about Boston’s offensive incompetence and changes in officiating.

    One interesting thing to watch, however, is what the Lakers players took away from this game. If it’s “we played desperate and still couldn’t shake free…”, then they are in trouble. If it’s “ok, we can beat this team, even if we have to play ugly,” this Laker team becomes more dangerous

  38. Great points DTC.

  39. the other Stephen June 11, 2008 at 9:42 am

    the way pj brown sneered at farmar when he started getting in his face about the tangle really pissed me off.

    i want to bounce off a couple of Ap’s (16) comments: “odom is also worthless with a packed lane.” if there’s anything he needs to work on this summer, it’s driving and finessing in the paint without drawing so many offensive fouls, or tempting people to take charge. but i suppose, perhaps, there’s nothing a 6’10″ dude with a large body who plays like a guard can do about it. it must be hard to squeeze through holes in the defense at that size and speed, and it must be pretty easy to sell those charges. odom will probably never become the explosively hoppy sort of player that kevin garnett is, but if he wants to continue to take advantage of and develop his adaptive and versatile style of play, he could do with adding some more post moves. that will probably be important next year.
    he also needs to not jump so high on his jumper, and add some arc and softness to the shot so it doesn’t bounce right off the back of the rim, as we’ve seen so many times this season.

    as for pau, muffin man is right. i’m too lazy to finish my comment about pau, so here’s a cool picture of him: http://cache.deadspin.com/assets/resources/2007/07/coolpau.jpg

  40. I think Phil was right to call out the refs after G2 and the gap in free throw attempts. However, if he wants the fouls, he better start teaching his crew how to hit the free throws. If they could have shot better from the line it would have been a more dominant victory and sent a more powerful message to the Celtics. Instead, they almost blew it.

    In any league, on any level, you have to make your layups and you have to make your free throws. Otherwise, you’re leaving it with the Gods.

  41. All Lakers fans are praying for some rings this year and I hope we pull through. But the Celtics series has exposed the softness of Lakers interior offense and defense. Lamar seems to have lost his confidence in his mid-range shot, and his over reaction and frustration leads to fouls. Pau is just too soft. Even in crunch time he chose to do a flip of Lamar’s miss shot rather than a two handed jam; luckily in went in.

    On the positive side, Phil might have solved next season’s line-up issues. Re-insert Andrew at center and let Pau come off the bench like Ginobli. Ask Ariza to work on his outside shot this summer, and if it is decent move him in to start at SF. So next year the starting team would be: Andrew, Lamar, ?Ariza?, Kobe, Fisher, with an active bench of Pau, Vlad, Luke, Sasha, Farmer, Ronny.

    David Thrope is free to feed the rumor mill, but Kupchak would be stupid to move Lamar. Lamar might not be a reliable scorer, but he is so versatile that he should be an untouchable. It is crazy to move 10 rebounds a game plus ball handling etc. Andrew is a Laker for life, he isn’t going anywhere.

  42. You know what the Lakers take out of this game? They won. game as Celts took out of game 1 and 2. No one cares how you win.

    When you do the “Well, if the refs did this, or if we made 2 more shots, or we made too many turnovers or didn’t box out,if we did we would have won…” that means you are a loser.

    As one of the Celtic fans who like coming here the past week, what Boston takes away from the game is they need to get better PG play. I thought the Boston defense was good, Kobe is too good to hold down. But, Gasol is soft and this is a terrible series as a matchup for Odom.

    Celts have to get KG better looks, and get Pierce in rhythm and MOST importantly, better PG play.

    Lakers? They got to find some way to get Gasol off. I think Odom is a lost cause. The Machine did a Leon Powe in Game 3. Not going to happen again. The only thing that would worry me if I was LA is that Gasol and Odom have been mediocre to bad in all three games. Neither has shown an ability to play an entire game against his opponent.

    Pierce looked really tired and slow to me. A bit disturbing.

  43. Much is said about the Lakers’ game 3 that could have been said about the Celtics’ game 1. Hardly the stuff of domination, and you could say the visiting team was this close –> <– to stealing it. Game 2 was a different story, Game 4 is ??? All in all, a great series so far with much intrigue.

  44. 40-

    I personally do not want to get into it now, but off-season discussions wil definitely be interestuing around here, win or lose vs Boston.

  45. *I thought Kobe on Rondo was a big key. As Phil mentioned in the press conference, this enabled us to get cross matches in early offense and Kobe went to work on Rondo. That aggression lasted all game and we needed that Kobe last night (especially since the rest of the starters looked so poor on offense).

    *That game was just a really tough game. Not that anyone here thinks differently, but Boston is just a super tough opponent. We still have to find ways to get easier baskets and have to find a way to get more players going on offense, Pau especially. I can live with an ineffective LO, but LO’s life would be made a lot easier if Pau was more of a threat on offense. I mean, we all know that Odom’s game started a strong upward trend when Pau came on board. So, it’d be nice to see Pau have a game where he does that *jersey pop* thing that we all like to laugh at, ’cause that means he’s having a good game.

    *I have another theory about Odom being in the tank (besides him feeding off Gasol, who has been mostly average). It may be completely off base, but hear me out. I think Odom has lost a lot of confidence. He is playing hard (in stetches) but he’s not effective. And I think it has to do with Phil moving him off KG and onto Perkins. This has effected him mentally and physically. Mentally, LO has always loved to play against KG. He has said it over and over. He thinks that KG is a great player and loves to measure himself against him. When Phil took LO off KG, I think it hurt his confidence and it put him in a funk. Physically, LO is having to bang with Perkins and it’s affecting his rebounding and his legs. You see LO leaning on Perk on every possession, and you can tell it’s just not what he wants to be doing. It’s taking his legs away some too. He’s not pushing the ball in transition and he is not as quick with his attack moves. I could be wrong, but that’s what I think…

  46. what we need is to be able to take it to the C’s in the “ugly” fashion we’re talking about here, then try to find the time and place to kick it into “laker” time, try to stretch out a run and play our kind of ball. if we can get the C’s on their heels during a run like this, then I think we can build a lead, and late in the game revert back to “ugly” and pull out another W.
    but, all this is saying is that we really don’t match up well against these guys, and it’s going to take an “out of the box” approach to gut this out.
    and what that says is that the C’s really are favored in my opinion, it’s going to take a miracle for us to win the ring.
    that said though, I can envision a rematch for sure next year, and maybe the year after that, (the C’s getting older of course), and if we are healthy, (including Bynum and Ariza) we will get revenge, and take the next 2 to 4 years.

  47. Lakers need to blow Celtics out next game and send that momentum to the extreme

  48. @21, regarding the Celtics’ illegal screens.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XoZ6R-rM-Y

  49. Celtics fan will see this as a moral victory because 2/3 of their Big Three were terrible and Rondo was out most of the 2nd half with a sprained ankle.

    Laker fans will see this as an actual and moral victory due to the obvious W and that the Lakers looked like they were done getting pushed around.

    The play that summarized the game for me was the Farmar rebound (I believe late in the 1st half) where PJ Brown tried to take it from him after the fact and he wasn’t having any of it.

    I like the toughness and grit they (the Lakers) showed last night, but at the same time it does show that the Lakers simply cannot be as physical or tough as the Celtics who are just a bit bigger and stronger.

    With that said though, they played tough D making sure to close out well on outside shooters (even if this meant giving up some basically uncontested dunks and layups). They took the ball as hard to the rim as possible though one thing I’d like to see in the offseason is for the Lakers to pick up a STRONG finisher other than Kobe. I’m sure Bynum will be able to fulfill this role or at least I hope because the reality is Pau and LO are NOT good leapers/finishers at the rim when they get the good interior pass. They still go for the soft layups/flips and in that position you need to go in with authority. I saw too many chippies that rimmed out and we got no foul call. It’s either the basket, the basket and the foul or just the foul.

    My overall opinion of the game though comes through some Purple and Gold colored glasses and that is that we battled basically as hard as we could playing the same style as the opposing team and won it on our home floor.

    The question now is…will LO and to a lesser extent Pau show up in the next game. I like LO and all, but some of those late game 1on1s where he picked up offensive fouls…that’s just not his game especially against a prepared defender. His first step is long and quick, but he’s still pretty damn predictable.

    I still think though the Lakers can and will build off this victory and we will win Game 4 much more convincingly. As long as Kobe can continue to drive and post the way he did in Game 3 we will have a shot at the end even if they digress.

  50. From our perspective, Pierce did play the worst game I’ve seen from him in a number of years, which is surprising because he generally brings a great game to LA. Not sure what it was all about, maybe the crowd really did take him out of it. If so, that’s his fault. I agree with Jackson that Kobe’s ability to play help defense on him really affected his game in the early going. Rondo has to hit some open jumpshots early, but he looked out of it too. And Perk, after a great performance against Detroit, has been abysmal. KG was awful offensively, but I agree – there’s no guarantee that will turn around. His shot has been off throughout the Finals. He is effective going at the basket, but again, I agree with Phil, Kobe’s help defense on that really affected KG’s play. Still, his rebounding and interior defense were excellent.

    Your bench badly outplayed our bench. I thought Posey was very active and played well, but Vujacic was the best player off either team’s bench, then Posey and Farmar both made solid contributions. Powe was a non-factor (which can happen when a team is forced to learn his name), Cassell was not good, Brown was absolutely brutal, worst game as a Celtic yet. House did nicely but showed his limitations. I would have gone with Van Gundy’s proposed Allen-Pierce-Posey lineup on the perimeter, but that’s just an opinion. Might not have worked.

    Last night was a good chance for us to steal one but the Lakers outplayed the Celtics, flat out. I like a lot of things from our side – I don’t think Pierce and Garnett both stink up the joint again, the game was played at the Celtics’ pace and tempo, and the Celtics only lost by a legitimate six despite an outstanding game from Kobe and Vujacic and a brutally awful offensive performance by everybody not named Ray Allen. The fact we can play that poorly and be that close is a good sign.

    One big story from the game, I thought, was validation that the Celtics won Game 2 legitimately. Early in both games, the home team got the calls. It’s not that they were bad calls, it’s that they were inconsistent. That’s part of how we had a 19-2 advantage in Game 2 at the half, and the Lakers had an 18-4 advantage or something like that at the half last night. But while the Lakers responded to that differential in Game 2 by refusing to take the ball to the basket and playing completely hands off on defense, allowing numerous easy buckets in the second half, the Celtics responded in Game 3 by finding a way to get to the basket for foul calls and just playing better defense. Had the Lakers done the same in Game 2, it certainly never would have been a 24-point lead and who knows what would have happened? The Celtics fought, which is part of what I want as a fan. Now I’m hoping for better execution in Game 4.

    If Garnett, Pierce and Gasol can all bring more to the table in Game 4, I think we’re in for a more appealling game to the eye.

  51. Darius, 43:

    Interesting point. Do you have any info on Odom’s past performances against Garnett? Has he done well against KG?

  52. [channelling Ben Stein] Odom? Odom? Odom? Odom?

  53. Bingo T. Klown June 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

    thanks spike, my point exactly!

    also

  54. It seems that most people are assuming that KG and PP are gping not to be shooting this bad in the next few games. KG has been great defensively but offensively he has been off since the first half of game one and I think some of the credit has to got Gasol. PP is most likely going to have a better game next time but is Ray Allen going to be as good next time? What about the rest of the Celtics role players? So it is possible in te next game Pierce will their best player, KG continuing his offensive struggles and Ray Allen not playing as well (as he has been inconsistent in the playoffs), so their Big 3 being more like the Big 1.75. Also Kobe seems that he has finally figured the Boston defense since the 4th quarter of game 2.

  55. “PP is most likely going to have a better game next time but is Ray Allen going to be as good next time?”

    Yes, these things tend to balance out. The Laker comeback in Game 2 was one example; Kobe Bryant’s shooting percentages in Game 1 and Game # another.

    On balance, the Celtics look a little better to me than the Purple and Gold. I have hope that Gasol can bust out though.

  56. Bingo T. Klown June 11, 2008 at 10:58 am

    as i was saying, though the Lakers looked far from dominant if they hit 6-8 more free throws, like they should have the margin of victory is double digits. not the superiority we would have like but a nice win.

    its funny how some here – those of the “green persuasion – have intimated that the Lakers win last night didn;t scare them because the Celtics were in it until the end:

    NEWS FLASH – Each game hasn’t been decided until the final 1:30 minutes.

    So on we go hoping to see if there can be any clear separation. but I gotta tell you fellas I don;t see any blowouts and yes that includes the celtics game 2 win that they almost lost

  57. 26) Tim –
    “But do you guys think that last night proved LA was the better team?”

    Not at all; to this point Boston has been the better team. The Lakers are certainly capable of turning that around, though.

  58. Excellent comments from all…..funny how few Celtics fans show up after their team loses. As to LO’s inconsistency, I think this bodes well. Lamar is nothing if not inconsistent and I think Game 4 he will contribute one of his world-beater 23 and 17, 4 steals, 4 blocks games. I agree with Darius that probably LO’s confidence is down. To me I really wish they would put LO on Garnett simply because he is longer. He is excellent on KG. They’re not gonna suddenly start feeding it to Perk because Pau is on him, they have too many better weapons. I really think the Lakers are going to air it out in Game 4. And for those who think this was a bad game. Yes it was an ugly game, but how many of those games do the Spurs win? The team doesn’t care if it wasn’t the prettiest game. A win is a win is a win is a win. I think the Lakers will win Game 4 impressively and then they’ll carry that through and make a bold effort in game 5.

  59. One trend I have noticed is that Gasol and Odom seem to compliment each other – rather than substitute for each other. Gasol seems better fit when the offense includes Odom in it.

    When Odom is on the floor, Gasol is not forced to be the primary rebounder on the court. As we have noticed in game 1 (where KG dunked quite easily on putback dunks) Gasol is a good rebounder when the ball bounces favorably in his vicinity. Otherwise, he’s not the box-out, fight for the ball kind of rebounder. When he is not the primary rebounder (and KG is taking jumpers from the top of the key) he can run the floor on transition – where early offense is a Gasol staple.

    Interior passing improves when both Odom and Gasol are on the floor together. When Odom takes the ball into the paint, the help defender is usually coming off to help – Gasol gets quick dunks off a late rotation (see Game 1 Denver).

    Transition points is another staple of Gasol’s. While the case can be made that this is a main contribution from having Lamar on the floor, it is even more of a factor because Gasol runs the floor so well and Gasol’s defender might sag off to stop the run from Odom.

    So it shouldnt be a surprise to see that once Odom got into foul trouble – Gasol had a tough time offensively.

  60. robinred, I don’t have any statistics, but the truth is, I don’t really think his past numbers matter as much as how he feels about the switch and the style of game he has to play when guarding Perkins.

    Really, my overall point is that Odom loves the challenge of going against KG. I remember an interview with Odom when the Lakers were going to face the T-Wolves and they asked him about KG. Odom said something along the lines of “He’s my favorite player to go up against. His (KG’s) intensity and passion for the game is outstanding and it’s really a great challenge that I look forward to.” Now that’s far from verbatum, but that was the essence (if I recall correctly) of what LO said. And now, at this point of the season, in the biggest series of both players’ careers, LO is switched off to Perkins. I’m just not sure he’s handling it well.

    I wish I had more for you, but like I said, it’s just a feeling/theory that I’m kicking around. It does make sense to me though.

  61. I think that our Boston guests have said it a few times now, they rightly feel about game 3 like we did about game 1… played like crap, and could have stolen it.

    I agree with the Celtic poster Tim @26 and Robinred @32… we haven’t really proved that we can win outright, with out ‘help’ from poor opponent play or the refs (or both, geez)

    And lastly, the more decicive and agressive, the better we look (even in an ugly game like that). There were several times that LO, Ariza or Pau were crashing the board for a putback on a Kobe miss/foul… the result of the play didn’t come to fruition, but that’s the effort we need!

  62. The bottom-line is that without Odom and Gasol giving what they are capable, it will be damn near impossible to win this series.

  63. 26. Tim, I think I had the same feelings about game 1 and 2 that you did about 3 (well, 2 wasn’t really close at all until the end). I think the series is still up for grabs, but so far I don’t think the Lakers have looked like a championship team. If they continue to play the way they did last night, the C’s are going to win the series. That being said, I don’t think either team has really played it’s best ball yet, so it’s going to be a matter of which team shows up with its A-game first. If both teams continue to play at average/mediocre levels, I see Boston’s D winning out.

    I still the series going 7, but I think the Lakers need to be up 3-2 heading back to Boston to have a shot. I don’t see us winning game 6 in Boston, but anything can happen in Game 7. Laker’s really need to defend their home court, but championship teams win on the road.

    @Brent45, your free throw argument isn’t backed up by the stats. The Celts shot 68% from the line, missing 7 FT’s. All other things being equal, they would’ve had to shoot 100% to win by 1. The Lakers shot even worse: 62%, missing 13 FT’s. Had they made the Lakers made their FT’s, all other things being equal, it would’ve been a blowout. Had both teams shot their normal FT %’s (the more likely scenario) the C’s still would’ve lost by double digits.

    Celtic fans are welcome here, as any FB&G poster will tell you, but please bring intelligent arguments, not rabble-rousing and homerism.

  64. On a whole, Boston has clearly looked like the better team – but frankly neither team has impressed me much. Boston’s physicality and ability to stop most of the Lakers’ weapons (see Odom and Gasol) is what’s leading me to this conclusion. Boston’s actual offensive gameplay and defensive “cheating” leaves little to be desired. For the Lakers, this may be a case of a truly unfortunate matchup (physically, they just can’t seem to compete) – and for that reason, Boston may just be better, in this matchup. That’s not to say, however, that the way Boston has been playing would lead me to believe that they could handle some of the West’s more physical teams (see Utah). Basketball is a game of matchups and at this point, the Celtics look like they enjoy this matchup. If the Lakers could somehow neutralize the physical advantage by somehow forcing their style/tempo upon the games, this series is far from over. If more of the same occurs, I don’t see the Lakers winning one (at least one) in Boston. All one can do is hope.

  65. The Lakers have played 3 bad games, yet, a few key runs and strong performances have given them the chance to win all 3. Boston played extremely well in Boston, but remains 2-8 on the road and has already let two far inferior teams back into a series. L.A. is seriously overdue for a breakout game and they are too good not to get one. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet both exhibited the dead give away sign of exhaustion–shooting short. Garnet had one front rim clanker after another and Pierce could barely get his shot off. If the Lakers win tomorrow–particularly if they play well as a team on both ends–I think the tide will turn in this series.

  66. Sure seems like the Lakers “stole a win” at home. Not very encouraging.

    I thought Pierce aggravated his injury in the 2nd quarter. There was a play under the basket and it looked like he landed on it and was in pain (but tried to hide it). We will be able to tell more next game.

    Spacing the floor with shooters and having Kobe create seems to be what has worked best in this series.

  67. 65-

    I agree to an extent, and this is why I thought some Laker fans and media types were overconfident about the Lakers’ chances going in. People were focused on the Lakers’ record with Gasol, and the Celtics’ problems with Atlanta and Cleveland, and needed instead to look more at matchups.

    That said, the Celtics have shown little ability to play well away from Boston. They were great in Game 3 in Detroit, and deserve credit for Game 6, but played only one good quarter. In addition, I agreed with Dumars’ decision to replace Flip Saunders and Billups was gimpy. So, I was not hugely impressed with the win over Detroit. It is in this, and in Bryant’s ability to take over games, that the Laker hopes reside.

    However, the matchup is a tough one, the Celtics play better overall D than the Lakers, and I suspect the Celtics have one big game in LA in them.

  68. Trade Bynum? Thorpe is out of his mind.

  69. -For all those who think that Lamar Odom is going to show up, I am very doubtful. His slump is not just been through this series. He has been performing bad the whole Spurs series except for Game 2. And even the last few games of the Utah series. I really wish he starts playing better, but I don’t think we need him to play at his best to win. Many of you want him to be aggressive, but as a fan, I cringe when I see him take the ball to the hole. He either commits an offensive foul or turns the ball over leading to easy Celtics points in transition. I think the best way to get him out of the slump would be to just let him hit his 17-footers and play defense and crash the boards.

    - Pau is mentaly very strong and I can see him playing well the next game. Vlad always has alternate good and bad games, so except good shooting from him though he is still a liability on the defensive end.

    - I don’t think it’s such a bad thing that we didn’t blow out the Celts, because if we had blown them out, then there would be some complacency for games 4,5. Now the players know that they have to play better to win and if they do play better, they definitely have a better chance of winning.

  70. While I’m a little disappointed like others that we didn’t stomp them, I think this is the type of win we need.
    To prove that Lakers can grind one out against C’s. Yes, both teams played sloppy and the game was ugly but that’s how the series will be. Its the style that C’s play (and get away with).

    I’m not suggesting that we play their game, but we definitely played tougher last night.
    I think a young team benefits more from being through a close game than a blow out.
    Hopefully this will give Lakers more confidence and rejuvenate the players.

  71. I agree… It seems we “stole a game”. I actually cannot write anything else, since I’m still in shock with the lack of defense we showed in Boston. If Boston scores more than 100 points on you, you know you didn’t play defense at all…

    I think that if we “steal the next game” as well in a similar fashion, then we will put doubts in those Celtics minds. We’ll see…

  72. Oh, by the way, sorry for not posting for a while, but I actually fried my PC… Bought an iMac. I’m happy with the trade… :)

  73. 66. At this point I’d say we’re well past the first two rounds of the playoffs and strictly looking at the Boston/LA matchups. You can’t look at the first two rounds and ignore the fact that Boston took 2-3 in Detroit (a much tougher place to play than LA). If we’re going to stroll down memory lane, let’s keep in mind LA went 1-3 against Cleveland and Atlanta this year.

    I do think both teams were tired and its somewhat strange that the extra day wasn’t given on the travel days. I think game 4 will be the REAL barometer of the series.

  74. Every game this series has started with the refs giving Odom two fouls.That takes away his aggression both offensively and defensibly.Makes him play a whole different game.He’s not stupid and is a very gifted player.He’s the Lakers best rebounder and most versetal player .We don’t need to trade anybody next year.

  75. 67 – I don’t the Lakers stole the win. Like has been pointed out, if they make more free throws, it’s a more comfortable margin. I was surprised they weren’t up double digits at half time. The Lakers outplayed the Celtics on the whole. Had the Celtics won, it would have been a stolen win, which to me is a win on the road you don’t really deserve. It’s bad to miss those opportunities, but the Celtics showed me enough that I think they can and should win at least one of the next two in LA outright – an earned win as opposed to a stolen win. THe Lakers did not play their best basketball last night, but they still earned the win, like I feel we did in Boston.

    And it could have been blown out in the third except the Celtics did what the Lakers didn’t in Game 2 – instead of taking the FT differential for granted and assuming the officials were against them, the Celtics started attacking the rim (they only took 4 FTs in the first half in large part because they were settling for the midrange jumpers the Lakers were taking in Games 1 and 2) and just played tighter defense instead of avoid contact at all costs defense.

    And hey, I’ve said before, these teams are evenly matched but very different, meaning there will be a lot of close games and it will be difficult for either team to blow out the other. The Celtics won a close game in Game 1 because their defense held up – 15 fourth quarter points for the Lakers. The Lakers won a close game last night because their offense made shots when it counted (and crashed the boards when it counted – 4 4th quarter offensive boards after only 5 in the first 3 quarters; those 4 offensive boards created 5 points for LA, which is obviously huge). Game 2 to me is more of a sign that even when one team controls the game and gets up big, neither of these teams is going to go away and every minute of every game counts.

    I wish he had stolen it, but hey, it’s a series, and that’s more fun for all fans.

  76. 71 – Agree Odom is a talented, important player (and when he’s playing SF next year, look out league). But he’s getting those early fouls because he is playing lazy, as he has had a tendency to do throughout his career. Still, you have to be optimistic he and Pau will bring more in Game 4, just like we’re optimistic Paul and KG (though KG’s shot has been bad throughout the series) will bring more offensively in Game 4. Thursday should be a lot of fun.

  77. It’s an ugly series so far..I am a Lakers fan but I enjoy well played games. This is not up to standard in my opinion and I don’t see where the casual fan would give it a second look after last nights debacle. Not exactly Bird vs. Magic where every game was contested to the final whistle. The players MAY be better today, but they don’t play with the same cohesion and passion. Lots of young guys and people who are vets but have never beeen under this kind of pressure before must be contributing to the rather uninspiring play. Phil J had to call 2 timeouts it was getting so bad out there.

    One thing from a Lakers perspective is they are getting a very clear view of the clutch abilities of the team without a dominant center who could be masking the strenght of the forwards. So far Gasol and Odom have been unable to assert themselves in a “complete game” type of way. The do contribute but not the well rounded effort you need from your front line starters.

    I believe the Lakers are in the finals a year early which is great! I never expected them to win the conference and then represent the WC in the championship round. The Celtics sold their soul to win now and they may have the horses to win a title. Good on them..they are a fine team and a proud franchise. With the right tweaks, however, i really believe the Lakers could win multiple championships with Kobe and the very good to great bench they have assembled. Bynum isn’t all there yet and it may take some time for him to take his place as one of the best overall centers in teh league. But I do have confidence that with him and Kobe, the Lakers are ready to return to the top. Its a nice feeling even though I think their chances of winning THIS particular title are remote.

  78. Not to be underestimated is that this was the Laker’s first win against the Celtics this year. I bet Doc Rivers had told the Celtics before the game that the Lakers didn’t really believe they could win against them and that they shouldn’t let them get that taste and confidence. However the Lakers got it, it is still a significant win.

    Game 3 was about not getting blown out and staying in the series. Game 4 is about having a chance to actually win the title. The pressure will really start to mount on Boston if it is 2-2 going into Sunday night.

    The Lakers have shown an ability in the playoffs to adjust to other team’s style and tactics as a series goes on. Hopefully this will continue and the “steal” of Game 3 will turn into a solid win in game 4.

  79. the other Stephen June 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    THORPE SAID TO TRADE BYNUM?!

  80. As a Celts fan I didn’t see anything that made me think the Lakers are going to win this series.

    Yes, the Lakers won the game, but how was the game played? Lakers style of Celts style? A tough grind it out affair in the 80′s with the Lakers reduced to being a one dimensional team with Kobe scoring half the points.

    I bet if you offered the style and Laker’s points total of 87 to Doc Rivers before the start of the game he would have taken it. He would have rightly felt that the Celts would win most of these kinds of games.

  81. the refs also hit Vlad with 2 quick ones in each game.
    and in the infamous game 2 debacle, they hit Kobe with 2 quick ones as well, this he goes out and our lad evaporates.
    but, i get your point, LO hasn’t been able to even play, or get warmed up in any game yet.

  82. 67 – I am wondering the same thing you are. Peirce was pulling on his leg and flexing it during the game. It definitely looked like it was bothering him.

  83. I thought Doc’s subs down the stretch stuck a fork in the Celts. The C’s were able to get the lead
    because the Lakers had to stop doubling off the 1 when Rondo tweaked the ankle.

    Leading by 7, Doc brings back a gimpy Rondo, whose shooting needs some off-season
    work, then BAM! – the interior spacing is gone, the jump shooting starts and the lead disappears.

    IMO, Doc’s closing match-ups should have been:

    1) Allen on Fisher
    2) Posey on Kobe
    3) Pierce on the Machine
    4) Garnet on Odom
    5) Perkins on Gasol

    With KG doubling Kobe off Odom nearly every posession, and everybody else staying home.

  84. oh yeah, and I’m Laker fan: Thanks DOC!

    …I knew we could count on you for at least one.

  85. 74 – Vlad looks like a stiff to me. Surely there is somebody else that could be starting. The Refs are doing the Lakers a favor by hitting him with quick fouls that get him off the floor early in the game.

  86. What’s your interpretation of this victory? Chiefly, did defense win it for the Lakers? Or were the Lakers fortunate the Celtics shot poorly?

    What tactics worked for us in Game 3? What didn’t?

  87. Thank you NBA for tarnishing the image of all my heroes growing up. Thank you for the calls and the no calls, the over-hyped superstars that don’t deliver, the outrageously priced tickets and the fans who pay for them. Thank you for showing me that money isn’t everything its the only thing! Thank you for all the scandals,and violations. I remember it was about 15 yrs ago when we 1st met and I was hooked. We grew apart since the days of Jordan but then, right when I really start to like you again you push me away! I thank you for showing that you care. I’m still desperately searching for something I can believe in!

  88. 88 – As usual you can’t usually attribute a game result to one factor but if I had to do it I’d say it was Vujacic’s 20 points. He shot very well, and the Celtics did not defend him well.

    Outside of that I thought the Lakers’ bench was pretty lackluster agian.

  89. Hillary Ocholla June 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    The atmosphere at Staples was understandable. I was pretty much forgetting to breathe while watching this game live from 4am. It was a must win, didnt matter how they won as long as they won.
    Yeah, this was an ugly win but, the type of game any Kobe fan would love. I was a bit agitated with the way Kobe was the only one doing most of the scoring during the first quarter. The rest of the starters didnt show up and if Kobe was shut down, LA woud have lost this game and the series.
    Free throw were handed out like free Tacos, I just wish LA sank 98% of them. Maybe they’ve just been away from the line for too long? All I’m hoping is that LA dont lose any of the remanining 2 home games.
    I always thought that players wanted to win a championship much more than all the fans combined. Some players on the Lakers team are playing like they arent even interested in getting their first Championship ring. I guess we all agree that Odom and Gasol had bad games, they need to step up BIG TIME!!!
    Lighter moments for me during the game:

    1) One of the commentators suggesting the Celtics use ‘Hack a Kobe’
    2) JVG talking about Allysa Milano and, about him getting haircuts
    2) Jack Nicholson reaction to Gasol’s put back.
    3) Why isnt the ultra-cam (awesome slow mo effect) being used for the Lakers as much as they overused it for the Celtics in game 1 & 2?

  90. 84 – Yes, I’ll have to watch the tape to see the exact moment where I thought it occurred.

    If true it could determine the outcome of the series (not that I want to see it decided that way). It’s part of the game though – the Lakers have Bynum out, Kobe with a torn tendon in his shooting hand, Fischer with a torn tendon in his foot, Ariza is still not in form after missing 4 months with a broken foot, etc.

  91. The Dude Abides June 11, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    One thing that has been mostly overlooked in the posts and comments is the fact that the Lakers are one of the three youngest teams in the league, and they have been improving by leaps and bounds throughout the season. Sure, Gasol and Odom didn’t play well on offense, but the team defense improved greatly in Game 3, and that included Pau and Lamar doing well down low.

    Almost all the national commentators have said that the Lakers can’t take away much positive from the win last night. But the fact of the matter is, the Lakers had lost four consecutive games to the Celtics. This one got them over the proverbial psychological hump. For a very young team (perhaps the youngest team in NBA Finals history), belief in yourself is absolutely huge. The Lakers beat the Celtics in an Eastern Conference-style game.

    I’m looking at Game 4 as a much more comfortable victory for the Lake Show. They now know that they can beat Boston. Also, I need to reiterate how huge the switch of Kobe onto Rondo is. He really bothered Garnett and Pierce on the double-teams in the first 2 1/2 quarters. Then with Rondo sidelined, Phil stuck him on Pierce. Chasing Allen on screens is a lot more physically demanding than matching up with Pierce in transition. This move let Kobe save some energy for the offensive end during the stretch run, especially when you consider Kobe played 45 minutes out of 48.

  92. As much as it pains me to say this as a Laker fan, at this point I think it is just wishful thinking to assume/hope/be optimistic that Pau and, in particular, Lamar are “due” for good games. Let’s face it, Lamar has played the Celtics 5 times this season and he’s been a disaster. The Lakers have played the Celtics 5 times this season — 3 with Pau — and but for an outlying 7-minute portion of the fourth quarter on Sunday, Boston has imposed its will on us in EVERY game. Every game has been played at the Celtics’ pace, at the Celtics’ rhythm, and in the Celtics’ style. We keep saying that the Lakers are too good an offensive team and Lamar/Pau are too skilled not to have a “breakout game,” but what evidence do we have that that is going to happen other than wishful thinking? What I can’t figure out is, given our talent and collective brain trust, why can’t the Lakers reverse course even for a single game? Is it that Boston simply is that much better? Are our non-Kobe, non-Sasha players’ mindsets too weak? Enough games have been played to se that we have a trend here and it isn’t looking good. It cannot be more frustrating because I think we’ve seen how well this team can play, but at some point that trend of ineptitude by a significant portion of the team requires the conclusion that we just might not match up well physically, strategically or mentally with Boston. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised to the contrary, but I can only go by what I’ve seen when these two teams have played.

  93. Until Lamar can hit a 15 to 17 foot open jumper consistently, it’s hrad to imagine a breakout game.

    But if the Lakers space the court and pass it around the horn, Lamar could get the ball with a seam. But Garnett seems to be intimidating both him and Pau with his length.

  94. One word. Confidence… Pau and Lamar need it in a bad way. These guys are very adept at hitting the 17 footer. As soon as Lamar faces up the defensive player sags and awaits the charge. Get your feet under you, balance and pop. Same thing for Pau. They both have proven they have the shot…..haven’t they?

  95. 82. I agree with you for the most part; 87-81 is definitely the type of score that the Celtics want to see the rest of the series. That being said, the Lakers prevailed over the Spurs while generally playing at the Spurs’ preferred tempo. I think LA is still capable of being successful in a slower tempo, but they need to run the offense to perfection in the halfcourt if they’re going to beat the Celtics at that pace. So far, they haven’t been doing that.

  96. 90 – otbricki, Jordan Farmar had a pretty solid game as well – very Rondo-esque, at least as far as Celtics fans describe Rondo. 2-4 for 5 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 0 TOs. The bench as a whole was pretty dominant on plus/minus. Kobe (+2) and Radman (+1) were the only starters in the positive, but the bench guys were waaaaaay in the positive. Sasha (+15) led the way, but Walton (+12… really?) and Farmar (+9) were well on the plus side, and even Turiaf (+2) equalled Kobe despite playing under 20 minutes.

  97. 75- Yeah I guess you’re right… the Celtics won their first two home games in all 3 series and in 2 of them proceeded to give back the next 2 games on the road. That has no bearing at all in the series we are in, particularly with the Lakers taking game 3. I also really see your point about the quality of road wins the Celtics have won in the post-season: Boston won 2 games in Detroit where the Pistons were 5-4 in the playoffs. Now THAT’s impressive, especially when you compare it to the Lakers perfect 9-0 record at home in the playoffs and their 15 game home winning streak. Definitely much easier to win in L.A. than Detroit. Thanks for setting me straight.

  98. I agree with those who have compared this to Game 1 in that the losing team walks away thinking that they easily could have stolen one (although I think much of the commmentary about how poorly Garnett and Pierce shot ignores the totally unchararcteristicly poor free thow shooting from Gasol and Kobe). The key is for the Lakers to come out like the Celtics did in Game 2

  99. Odom seems to be asserting himself at inopportune moments; at the same time, Pau isn’t being decisive or assertive at all.

    I’m sickened by Gasol’s habit of holding the ball for 5 seconds and allowing the Celtics to ready themselves properly. With Boston prepared to help and switch, they can see Odom’s cuts coming and respond effectively. And Odom ought not to be driving to the basket when Gasol is in the game; the paint is too crowded for him to operate, resulting in missed shots and turnovers. Instead, Odom ought to defer to Pau and crash the boards; when the Lakers go small(Farmar, Vujacic, Kobe, Radmanovic, Odom) and space the floor, that’s the time to drive.

    Otherwise, I’m pleased by the Laker defense.

  100. I agree with Darius that Odom is disappointed that he is not guarding KG. LO hangs his hat on his defense and rebounding when he is inefficient offensively.

    That being said I am apparently one of the few Lakers fans here that have not given up on the versatile yet volatile Lamar.

    The one-on-one offensive foul against Powe in the third quarter was a flop. It was a very predictable move, but I watched it five times and Powe’s body was emphatically falling backward before there was contact. This may be a play that the league fines next year when they crack down on the Manus of the league with the implantation of the flop fine.

    Yes LO was stripped many times and missed a lot of lay ups, but it was not by a lack of effort, it was by some solid Celtic D and probably a little bit of anxiousness to perform in his first Finals game in front of his LA fans. I agree with the comment by DTC that LO has to hold the ball like a football player, as was commented on ABC about the way Kobe drives.

    Also, 4 of Pau’s key 4th quarter points came from put backs on missed lay ups/dunks from Odom, who was attacking KG. Those are shots he will normally make and this is also something that I would like him to continue to do to try and wear KG down a bit.

    Remember Sasha’s huge three in the corner with 2 minutes left?…That was an assist from Odom, albeit a hockey assist from Kobe.

    Odom is a very emotional player and has obviously struggled mightily thus far in this series, but there are still games to be played before we can determine LO’s affect on this year’s championship. Odom did contribute to the victory with his passing and rebounding despite a 4 point, 5 TO performance, which hopefully is his rock bottom offensively.

    I have confidence that in the next two games Odom will become the triple double threat that we have been accustomed to, in his most consistent season with the Lakers.

    I will be wearing my Odom jersey proud for the rest of the Finals. Don’t count him out.

  101. Yeah, it was ugly and a total nail-biter, and as others have said, it is fool’s gold to think that we can win more than one more game where it has to be the Kobe show because no one else (save for Sasha) steps up.

    But a win is a win, and forward progress is a good thing.

    In general, it seems that Odom’s offense is broken. Relatively early in the playoffs I noted that his spin move to the hoop would finish with his body spinning away versus towards the hoop, which translates into a bad shooting angle. Boston has exacerbated this by anticipating the move so that now not only does he miss the shot but he creates a charge. In the fourth quarter, he actually started figuring it out by just being
    aggressive and focusing on his D. Hopefully, solid D will get his mental focus on offense going better.

    Pau, unfortunately, is just a tipper. He likes to ease into shots versus attacking and finishing, which gives a good defense like the Celts extra time to adjust. The guy has great hands so perhaps this is a core focus of coaching next season. Too much mental stuff in mid-series to expect that tiger will change its stripes.

    Also, before last night, Kobe seemed a bit tentative and made (for him) a lot of boneheaded decisions. Freethrow misses aside, tonight he was the mamba, and as he goes as the leader of the team’s spirit, hopefully so too does the team as a whole.

    A final note is that the Celtics have done a good job of getting under our skin. PJ Brown is a definite irritant, for one, so Farmar’s standing up was good and noble, but the Lakers need to find a way to make the Celtics uncomfortable.

    It sounds simplistic but we are losing the psychological, impose your will, make the other guy pay side of this battle every bit as much as the box score. You lose your killer instinct, then you lose your confidence. Then you just lose.

    Very un Phil Jackson-like series (so far).

    Mark

  102. yes, go odom

    kobe on rondo = brilliant, kobe on pierce = LOCKDOWN

    START SASHA

  103. here’s my take on lamar: i don’t think he’s gonna show up until gasol shows up. just thinking about lamar’s play this season, he plays best when there’s space (created by kobe and gasol) to move/cut/do his thing. he’s not a good one-on-one guy (which is why he never made a good 2nd banana), so until gasol starts playing well enough to make secondary defenders pay attention to him, lamar’s kinda stuck. i think if gasol can wake up and be a presence (he’s playing WAY too “sleepy” right now imo), it’ll open up the triangle, which will in turn get the lakers’ defense humming as well. right now it’s like watching the one man show that was the 06-07 team (ie, NOT FUN).

  104. I fully agree with Nicholson. Lamar brings a lot to the game. So even without the points, he was agressive did get assisrs and rebounds. Like Horry, his stats are always better in the playoffs. If he can avoid the early fouls he will be fine. Pau on the other hand is just to SOFT.

  105. Btw, pretty funny column by Bill Simmons (ESPN, Page 2) on game three:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080611

  106. This game, more than anything, proved the gap between Kobe and everyone else on the squad. This is the postseason, with everyone being scouted thoroughly – and i think that’s why Pau and Lamar have been neutralized.

    I can’t imagine the scouting to be any less thorough on Kobe, but of course there probably isn’t much on Sasha ;)

    Anyway, the optimist in me says:

    1. Kobe found his will to drive
    2. Sasha gained respect and thus will help spacing
    3. We found a way to bother KG
    4. We found a way to bother PP
    5. Bench seems to be on its way back

    The pessimist says:

    1. Lamar, Vlad, Gasol, Fisher… 80% of our starters can’t seem to score against the C’s
    2. Ray is peaking
    3. Holding them to 35% while shooting nearly 10% better, as well as shooting 12 more FTs ended up being a 6 pt victory.
    4. PP and KG are probably not going to be as bad, while LO and PG can be. Actually, it wasn’t even that bad a night for PG and LO since they had 21 rebounds between them.
    5. We still have to win 3 more times in 4 more tries against a team we’re 1-4 against.

  107. the other Stephen June 11, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    74 – Vlad looks like a stiff to me. Surely there is somebody else that could be starting. The Refs are doing the Lakers a favor by hitting him with quick fouls that get him off the floor early in the game.

    you couldn’t have said it any truer. and while i kind of do like the idea of odom guarding kg brought up by darius, at least pau has the length to somewhat bother kg. odom doesn’t really have that, nor is he athletic enough to keep up with him. but i don’t really know any better. power to lamar if he welcomes the challenge.

  108. I think Pau has a hurt hand.

    I saw him earlier in the season (before the playoffs), talking on the bench after a dunk, just before a time out. He held his wrist with one hand, and was looking at his fingers like something was wrong with it. Fisher even asked him something, to which Pau replied “It’s happened before”.

    If you notice, you will see him holding occasionally. I saw it again last night when he “mugged” (according to Jeff Van Gundy) a Celtics player going up for a dunk and came down in serious pain. My first thought went to his hand, and I believe that was what made him grimace.

    Anyone else notice that?

  109. Watched an exchange between Pau and Lamar,
    would like to see more of that
    to keep each other riled and plugged in.

    I would agree that there is a connection
    between them re performance on the floor,
    as LO has already said as much,

    but if one player is low scoring,
    the other must adjust.

    For Lamar, be simple and decisive.
    Folx on the boards could surely see
    the flicker of hesitation as he approached
    the paint on many a potential scoring drive
    often resulting in a block or a charge
    as opposed to that pass he snapped to Sasha,
    and recall those L-train trips after a rebound
    where you knew he was taking it all the way
    to the home hoop with that amazing stride.

    It may be Pau is stretching out into post-season
    fitness land where he has seldom been,
    and the bulk of the opposition adds to the workout.

    He should get onto ‘Drew’s regimen for next season,
    meantime, help himself by optimum position on defense
    and be decisive on offense– don’t allow the opp d
    to settle in.

    Nice move by Luke ( I believe it was )
    who pulled the chair out from Pierce.
    Pau would do well to employ that at times,
    as well as anticipate the defense and finish
    his shots with two hands– no finesse layups
    at the start of the game.

    As in the Jazz series, when they were able
    to overcome early fouls, they didn’t have to
    mentally navigate possessions and transitions.

    Start simple, be decisive, let flow, finish strong.
    Go Lakers.

    - 5 -

  110. the other Stephen June 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    hahaha so here’s our very own sash talking about the nuances of the threeball, and getting a little philosophical, hamlet prince of denmark sort of thing: “sometimes it’s going to be a bad or good shot, and it’s gonna be..to be or not to be. and uh, previous shot, before i made that shot in the corner, it was not to be…lamar gave me that opportunity to kinda uh..uh step back and be uh..to be again, so it was good.”

  111. @24: Crap, she’s 18?!

  112. I have never seen a more negative and pessimistic view point from the Lakers fans here after a victory. If KG and Pierce had two bad games instead of one and the Celtics were down 2-1, so you think the C’s players and fans would be phoning it in?

    Everyone (including myself) was hoping for an emphatic victory yesterday, but that may not ever happen for either team in this series. I enjoy close, evenly matched games that go down to the wire. Especially when the Lakers win!

    That being said I agree with previous posts that had Kobe and Gasol not uncharacteristically missed their free throws, this would have been that dominant victory that we hoped for.

    We should be happy the Lakers won and be confident that they will continue to win at home!

    Robinred: “Speaking of percentages, the Celtics are now 2-8 on the road in the postseason and the Lakers are 9-0 at home. So, while I fervently hope I am wrong, it seems likely to me that the Celtics will take one of the next 2, and get it back to Boston up 3-2.”

    I think that this comment proves that the percentages are in the Lakers favor to take all of their home games, not that they are due to lose one or the Celtics are due to win one.

    The Lakers have not lost since March at home, that’s 15 in a row, including 9 against the best teams in the NBA fighting to extend their seasons.

    The Lakers beat Denver with their up tempo style, they beat Utah with their physical style and we beat the defending champs (as Ryan O mentioned) adjusting to their preferred tempo.

    We have the best player in the NBA, the best coach EVER and a better bench than the C’s. Let’s get excited and confident in here. The Lakers will continue to adjust and they CAN beat this team three out of the next four if they believe they can. The games will not all be pretty. This is a fight…fights get ugly and the Lakers will not stop swinging.

    *BTW I meant to say “implementation” not “implantation” in my previous LO post # 102.

  113. 99 – So regular season records mean nothing? The Lakers were perfect at home against a group of teams with an aggregate regular season road record well south of .500. The Celtics on the other hand have a better regular season road record than the Lakers have as a home record.

    The other problem with your argument was that you just got your facts wrong. The Pistons weren’t 5-4 at home in the playoffs. They were 6-3 with 2 of those 3 losses against the Celtics. The other game was their first against the 6ers which Detroit led pretty much all the way – Philadelphia just stole it at the end. So outside the Celtics wins the Pistons were 6-1 at home in the playoffs, AND had a better regular season home record than the Lakers.

    It’s not like the Lakers blew out the Celtics in some dazzling display of team virtuosity yesterday. The Lakers trailed during much of the game, and were dependent on one player for nearly half of their offense. That sort of play does not exactly strike fear into any Celtic fan’s heart.

  114. the other Stephen June 11, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    ONE MORE THING. i don’t think it’s getting loud and wild enough at staples center. just listen to ronny’s post-game 3 interview on lakers.com, which hit me right in the heart: “we definitely appreciate the fan support out here. we really feel thankful for them to be crazy. even though we as a whole–as a team–we wish they would get even crazier, even louder through half the game, and not way into the fourth quarter.” c’mon, los angeles, don’t give anyone an excuse to label us as spoiled fakers! scot, kurk peterman, rep us well.

  115. I share the opinion and feelings of most laker fans here that the game 3 win was more of a relief rather than joy. Kobe proved his being MVP, and the only other players to show up and play for every single second they were on the floor was farmar and sasha. even if sasha missed some, you knew he was “in the game”. Jordan showed he is the future leader of this team and a legit baller by standing up to grandpa brown and taking the charge off pierce. The boy is really a winner in every sense. Couldnt help but notice that the offense was more sharp and smooth when he was on the floor. Luke had good spots, ronny showed some much needed toughness and Pau finally started to stand up and push back against the bullying of the celtic fron court. Lamar still looked lost amidst the constant banging, wrist holding, and shirt grabbing methods of the celtics, letting the cheap shots affect his game. as bad as the celtics said they played, i believe the lakers play left a lot to be desired as well and i hope the starters especially find their grit and gut it out with the dirty tactics of the celtics.

    I wonder when will the refs call the travelling violations on KG, the moving screens of KG, Brown and Powe, as well as the wrist holds and arm grabbing by the celtic guards. I bet the celtic bigs will foul out before halftime if they called the moving screens against them

  116. #115: otbricki: From what I recall, the Lakers did not trail most of the game. The score was tied at the end of the first, the Lakers led at half, Boston took the lead in the 3rd, and the Lakers won the game in the fourth.

    And while I agree that this win by the Lakers should not *strike fear* into the Celtics, I also do not understand the idea that the Lakers should be discounted solely because they managed to win a game where their opponent played poorly and the score happened to be close. Many Lakers fans would point out that Game 3 was very similar to Game 1 where both teams played below their normal standards and that Game 2 was proof that while the Celtics were able to get up big, they were not able to smother the Lakers and win by the 20 points they led by with half a quarter to play. I think what’s important is that both teams have not played well for most of this series, and while Boston is getting credit for what they are doing to stymy the Lakers, the Lakers aren’t getting any credit for any aspects of the Celtics poor performance. I see this on the Celtic’s message boards too….the mentality of *if we only did x, y, or z we’d have won* is really a sentiment that goes both ways for both teams in every game so far.

    So, while I’ll easily admit the Celtics have proven the better team so far in this series (they do lead and have played better cumulatively), I question why so many who support the Celtics can’t see that the poor play of the Lakers is not solely the product of what the Celtics are doing. I give credit to the Celtics for the ways that they’ve been able to limit the Lakers (ball denial, taking away driving lanes, contesting the subsequent jumpers, etc), but as someone who’s seen his fare share of Lakers games I can also say that some of our lack of execution is totally related to *us* and not necessarily the Celtics…

    Tomorrows game is obviously the major test for both teams, though. A Lakers win ties the series and builds confidence in themselves while also taking some away from the Celtics. While a Celtic win ultimately decides the series, giving the C’s 3 chances to win 1 game (which would almost be a given). So, we’ll really see where we stand at 9:30 on Thursday…

  117. 117. I think Lakers fans going to the games should take placards saying MOVING SCREEN and show them each time Garnett or Brown sets a moving screen. Then maybe the refs will start calling it. Might get some attention from the media too. :)

  118. i think the lakers is going 2 slaughter boston 4 the championship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  119. i got my money on kobe bryant

  120. One thing that I really admire about Leprechaun bloggers is their ability to see and support the best in their players.

    Laker bloggers seem obsessed by the dark side and pet agendas.

    Many of our Laker bloggers don’t seem to understand or support the roles of many Laker players–suggesting that certain Lakers be benched or traded when these players fail to play according to some athletic fantasy that only these bloggers vaguely understand themselves.

    Pau Gasol is a chamelion–a power forward playing out of position. Pau can score, pass, rebound, block shots, and defend–but not all at the same time. He rarely outshines other players on his team–even though he can. One game he might score 30–sometimes in the first half. Another game he might take down 19 rebounds–9 of them offensive. Another game he might frustrate an opposing player and hold his scoring way down. In game 3, Gasol played great defense on Garnett, and scored/rebounded in the fourth when needed. In a game against Utah, he made decisive game winning plays, such as a controversial rebound/putback that won the game.

    Pau is castigated for not blocking out. It is difficult to block out a player that weighs 80 lbs. more than you-but there are other ways to get rebounds.

    Lamar is Lamar. He has been an X factor all year. He does not match up well against Boston as an offensive threat, but can still play defense and rebound.

    VladRad has had games like Sasha games three for the Lakers–and can make other contributions. Unlike Lamar, VladRad can hit the three–so he can spread the floor. VladRad can go to the hole, rebound, and play defense–but not like Lamar. They are complementary role players that Phil can deploy.

    Luke is one of only three Lakers that has been to an NBA final before. He matches up well against Boston widebodies. Luke and Ronny Turiaf can both make the 15-20 foot shot that Boston defense allows–even if they haven’t shown that ability with any consistency yet.

    We have yet to learn whether Laker balance beats Boston defense.

    The tragedy of the playoffs so far is that the best predictor of win/lose is free throw differential–not player matchups. The winners of ALL the games so far wear zebra stripes.

  121. afterdinnermint June 12, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Call me a hater, but I haven’t thought Kobe has played like an MVP in this series yet. BUT, I think he has a very special game coming up – an MJ performance that will scare the sh*t out of Boston and awaken this series

    I think the Lakers can drop these punks by 20points, but if they dont manage to get up and scare these guys, Boston will win in 6.

  122. drraye,

    Well said. I didn’t like Pau’s body language but I thought he did a solid job on defense and his rebounding energy in the 4th was absolutely vital. Luke’s penetration and pitch out to Kobe for the wide open 3 was specifically mentioned by Doc as the pivotal play of the game.

    But every play bar Sasha can play better on offense. We will look for that tonight.

  123. ‘ CALLER ID: Occasionally, Luke Walton picks up his phone and gets an earful.

    “This is Paul Pierce,” the caller says. “You’re a bum, and all your teammates are bums.”

    Only it isn’t actually Pierce—or Carlos Boozer or Carmelo Anthony. Instead, it’s just an attempt by Walton’s Hall of Fame father to motivate his son in the NBA finals.

    “He wouldn’t even change his voice,” Luke Walton said ‘

  124. Game 4 Chat is UP

  125. 115 – 9-0 in the playoffs at home against Denver, Utah, San Antonio and Boston VS. 2-8 on the road against Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and L.A. I think that speaks for itself. Playoff basketball is different from the regular season. If you don’t get that by now, then I certainly can’t explain it to you. And a 15-0 run anywhere, against any team, is impressive. If you want to get technical about the regular season, I would like you to please recall that the Lakers didn’t have Gasol for the majority of it. If they had–based on an extrapolation–they would have a record comparable to Boston’s in a much tougher conference. Sorry I was off by 1 game on Detroit’s record. Apparently that invalidates everything I’ve said and calls my entire character into question. But, I would posit that, if Detroit is such a phenomenal home team in the playoffs, they would not have lost twice to a Boston team that has been highly shaky on the road thus far.

  126. Lakers now 9-1 at home in the playoffs and Celtics 4-8 on the road. Guess Lakers will win game 5 based on the statistics. It’s that simple. It speaks for itself.

  127. I’m still depressed…18 hours later……

  128. I know it’s not a similar situation but does anyone remember when the Angels led the Red Sox 3-1 in the ALCS back in the 80′s and ended up losing game 5 on a walkoff HR by Hendu and evenutally lost the series? That’s what last night’s game reminds me of.

    Heartbreak.

  129. 128-
    Good call dude! They did just that. Now throw some sarcasm at game 6 and we’ll have a real shot at winning…