Preview & Chat: The Boston Celtics

Kurt —  December 25, 2008

Records: Lakers 22-5 (1st in the West) Celtics 27-2 (1st in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.4 (3rd in league) Celtics 110.4 (5th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.5 (4th in league) Celtics 98.6 (1st in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Celtics Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

No big breakdown, this game has had nearly as much hype as Santa today.

Just sit back and enjoy this one. Remember that over at TrueHoop Kevin Arnovitz is live blogging all five games today, because he loves basketball or is a masochist (or some combination of those two).

I leave you with a few thoughts from Gatinho on the Lakers on Christmas day:

In ‘88, ‘02, and ‘03 the Lakers lost on Christmas and won the Championship

This will 35 times that the Lakers have played on Christmas dating back to 1949.

This will be the fourth time playing the Celtics.
(’51 L, ‘55 W, ‘70 W)

The Celtics will be playing in their 25th Christmas game, only one of those games has been played in Boston.

Among Laker opponents on Christmas are the Fort Wayne Pistons, Indianapolis Olympians, and the San Diego Rockets.

123 responses to Preview & Chat: The Boston Celtics

  1. I really want us to play a great game and win tonight, but after hearing Ric Bucher’s interview at got me thinking a bit.He actually suggested that the Lakers might get more fired up for the long run if they lose tonight, or MIGHT let their guard down if they win.Any thoughts on that?
    He said actually a lot more worth listening to.
    I still hope we ll win this anyhow.

  2. I do not know about you guys, but I am certainly beginning to get chills and butterflies in my stomach… Can not wait any longer!!!

  3. All i want for Christmas is a W!

  4. the other Stephen December 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm


  5. That’s the spirit!

  6. (Note: copied from previous thread)

    Laker pregame fantasies

    The Leprechauns are coming to LA on a roll, having flim-flammed and taunted much of the NBA with exaggerated stats in the win column. Don’t be fooled. The Ponzi scheme will be exposed.

    KG talks the talk, but this time Pau gets his full attention. He may get on the plane back to Beantown on all fours, flummoxed, realizing that he needs to learn a little Spanish with a Castillean accent when four letter epithets don’t work.

    Perk’s going to find that Andrew is suddenly all grown up the hard way.

    Pierce will lose to the Laker changes of pace like a wounded wrestler in a tag team match. Luke, VladRad, and Trevor will dance in his head-before Kobe puts him away.

    Rondo comes in as Bob Cousy, but will return home as Blue Rondo a la Turk, trapped and frazzled.

    Ray Allen’s shooting slump of last year will start up today. Sasha may give him some three point surprises.

    Their bench has gotten shorter, with their former 6th man Poseying for a team that the Lakers dominated a few days ago. The Lakers new 6th man should Lamar their rotations a bit at both ends of the court–and the transitions in between.

    I won’t be surprised by the opening of my Christmas present one bit this year. Santa knows his stuff.

    The Lakers will help both Leprechauns and Celtic fans acquire something that they badly need: humility.

  7. just hope andrew can avoid sill fouls and play smart.
    also, he’s gotta beat perkins down the floor on a regular basis.
    the KG-Pau match up will be fun to watch, and whoever plays against pierce will also have their hands full. love to see ariza play him tough, good sign of things to come.
    and, for Powe, who really took it to us last year, this would be a good match up for Powell..Powe v Powell…
    i’ve been wanting to see him get more PT, maybe today, we’ll see.

  8. ….I wish I had a book of drrayeye’s poetic musings

  9. I think Odom is our best bet against Pierce…I could see Pierce pushing around Ariza a bit but I’m not sure that PJ will ever unveil the Odom/Gasol/Bynum lineup…LO does have the speed, size and strength to lock him down though, he could really be a defensive powerhouse if he wanted to be

  10. I agree, I really want Odom to get a fair chance at Pierce. Pierce thrives on weaker defenders. I’ve never seen Kobe struggle to guard someone as he did Pierce; Ariza is in the same mold. Odom has the length and strength, as well as quickness. As long as he’s locked in, he has as good a shot as anyone. Now is the time to experiment.

    That KG feature at halftime made me laugh. “But I’ll be back”?? You’re not the Terminator, Garnett, I’m sorry.

  11. Shaq is having quite a X-mas

  12. It’s finally here! Since the schedule was released, we’ve been looking forward to this game. Sure a 27-2 record is nothing to sneeze at especially after losing your 6th man in Posey, but nothing caps off a Christmas by beating the Lakers. Should be interesting to see how the Lakers cope with speed-demon Rondo, especially without Farmar.

    Celtics by 11.

  13. I’d like to see less of Bynum practicing his turnaround before the game. Actually I’d like to see the coaches bring out tackling dummies and just have Bynum hit them over and over again. Tackling dummies with pictures of Kendrick Perkins on them.

  14. 13, agreed completely..I feel the same way about Ariza learning an outside shot…it’s a good skill to have but if it comes at the expense of trying to dunk with reckless abandon I’d rather not see it

  15. haha @ 13.. sounds good to me. I really hope the Lakers actually step it up and show us what they’re made of tonight. Here we go..

  16. Kevin and I are both celebrating the fifth night of Channukah – send him some love over at Truehoop :-).

  17. days like today… im smiling all morning, and not cause its christmas. because its lakers celtics day. sorry kids, uncle bryan cant play with you yet, hes too giddy.

  18. Nothing stupid Drew…

  19. Cant allow rondo to get into the paint like that. But i like the energy by the lakers.

  20. Luke is so frustrating, at one point he makes an excellent play to Bynum, and second he throws an airball on 3. Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh

  21. Not liking how its Celtic Layups vs Laker Jumpers so far..Bynum needs to get on those

  22. Weenie #1 from Gasol.

  23. Gasol is a good FT shooter, so I don’t understand why he doesn’t try to create contact and get to the line more. He seems to shy away from it even when he has great offensive position.

    Also, Kobe sure as hell came to play today.

    I get the feeling early that this is going to come down to LO and Drew, our usual X-factors.

  24. Kobe looks like he is ready to bring down serious spanking on the Celts today. I just hope it does not turn out to be Kobe vs Celts though.

  25. But the way the Suns lost today… oh man. That has to be a real bad X-mas for die-hard Phoenix fans. Complete emotional outrage

  26. Bynum has looked good in spurts, but he’s also looked lost defensively in key places. Twice now I’ve seen him with his back turned to the ball. Another two times he could have rotated to help but didn’t. He’s doing a decent job of rebounding, though. He’s playing better, just needs to play smarter now.

    We are horrible at getting the ball into the post. Bynum wanted the ball, we just couldn’t get it to him.

    When we’ve used our length to crowd the paint, our defense has looked excellent. Need to see more of that.

  27. 2 offensive boards in a row. Nothing makes me smile more.

    Garnett with his usual fearlessness, going after another guard with his cheap shots.

  28. This is the hardest the lakers played all year. However, there is too much Kobe in this game, they need to get Gasol and some of the other players involved more if they want to win this game.

  29. Garnett apparently took a cheapshot at Sasha. Will Garnett ever have the guts to punk someone near his own size?

  30. I agree with Joe up there.

    “Don’t be like a baby.” Yao to Barkley in the T-Mobile commercial. Had me rollin’

  31. Here’s my problem with Bynum’s help defense – he doesn’t know how to recover. He’ll rotate, and then when the ball stops, it seems like he’s frozen. If I was Phil, I would hand Bynum a note saying something like “Activity – move your feet.” He’s capable of recovering, but he doesn’t. We’ve given up way too many uncontested layups and dunks.

    However at certain times, when their hands are up and everyone’s moving quickly, our interior defense has looked stifling.

    Sacriligeous as it may sound, I like this team better right now without Farmar. For only one reason – more of Vujacic (with Ariza and Kobe), our three best wing players. Vujacic hasn’t impacted a game like this in a while. He needs more PT to be effective.

    Also, I think Walton’s done a decent job on Pierce.

    Kobe’s hitting shots he missed in last year’s Finals.

    I want to see the ball go into Bynum when Big Baby is in. The one time we actually got the ball in to him, they collapsed, Bynum passed out, and it ended in a Gasol dunk.

    Our lead was built against the Celts subs. Their starters, on the other hand, have played slightly better than ours.

    29 – The newest Wade/Barkley one I actually found funny, with Barkley and Dr J and the other old guys.

    Am I the only one who was pissed they cut the camera showing Kobe jawing with KG and Pierce? I wanted to see them going at it, not Jeff Van Gundy making uncomfortably long eye contact with Mark Jackson.

  32. kobe is going to kill us if he keeps forcing it. they need to pass the ball and get inside. they’re just shooting jump shots.

  33. Odom with the clutch pair of threes!

  34. They were huge 3’s. Lakers were really struggling to score.

  35. I want Luke!! I want Luke!!

  36. Kobe rebounds the way I’d like to see from our bigs. He attacks the basketball, just goes up and snatches it fiercely out of the air. We did a solid job on the offensive boards in the 3rd.

    Has Kendrick Perkins always been permanently pissed off, or is that just because he has to play next to Garnett? The guy needs a hug.

  37. Come on PJ, Luke has played better than Ariza today!!

  38. Ariza just made an incredible defensive play while managing to recover the ball and get a fast break for Pau”s FTs

  39. lmao KG really does have a screw loose. He tried to get in the circle for the jump ball, like the officials would mistake him for Tony Allen.

    Aside from the 2 big saves, Ariza has been virtually absent today. Probably the worst game of the season for Ariza. I’d say it’s nerves more than anything.

    We’re forced to shoot waaay too many jumpshots down the stretch. This style of play won’t win a 7 game series. It’s more imperative to get to the rim during crunch time.

  40. pau pau pow!

  41. Pau with a power move!

  42. Ya, Pau’s soft.

  43. HELL YEAH! That’s more like it!

  44. YAY!!!! I got my win…Best christmas!!


  46. And yeah, this shuts down any suggestions that Pau is soft. Clutch, clutch, clutch. Damn straight.

  47. Kobe and Pau took over in the clutch.

  48. For all you Celtic bloggers I think it is too bad your Celtics didn’t make you feel too good. The nice thing is you got beat for the entire game. Yeah!

  49. A win’s a win…:-).

  50. WIN… WIN… WIN… nine blocks by the Lakers, that’s what I like to see.

    Good things come to those who wait.

  51. well. gasol was amazing in the end. la was really really good all the time. boston made some mistakes. EVEN SO the refs were ridicolous. admit it, there was some home cooking going on here. nevertheless, just by the play in the last few minutes… the lakers (trying to write it down, but it’s hard) deserved… to… wn… the game. (made it)

  52. C’s guy, where are you?

  53. This is the greatest christmas present ever!! I was going wild when Ariza hit that reverse slam! Maybe we should go over to the celtics blog and rub it in…though Im not gonna do that, this is just one win..its just getting started for the lakers!

  54. Nice way to gut out the win. Step one.

    I didn’t quite see what I wanted to from Bynum, but Pau showed grit and stood up when it mattered most.

    It’s only a December game, but it will do a lot for the psyche of the team. We need to get home court, so hopefully this lights the fire under them to do it every game. They played good defense.

  55. @Joe: i wouldn’t do that until the end of june. if you deserve it, rub it in all you want. the lakers were the better this time. that means exactly nothing. boston swept the regular season games last year, but the experts still picked the lakers to win it all. about 90 % of them. so, while this IS a big win in a big game… what will you rub in?

  56. No ball movement in the 4th, but they still gutted out the win. Heart. That was all effort by Pau to block that shot. Not something we usually see. I liked the passion.

  57. Guess you got lucky. Congratulations to a great regular seson win. 😉
    Thank the lord, the night is young… so I’m just gonna watch game six of the last finals and think of the better times we had and the better times ahead of us. Good night, everyone!

  58. Congrats PJX for the win 1000, great way to hit the milestone

  59. such a nice win… i think it says everything you need to know about the laker defense. andrew demands the ball on many posessions but he almost never gets it. i´d be frustrated too if i was guarded by powe and nobody would even consider passing me the ball.

    so great to have this win… now the pressure is on the celts to win the next one at home. kg and pierce really piss me of everytime i see them. they complain ALL the time… how annoying is that. would love to see kg trying to punk kobe… mamba would eat him alive :)))

    merry x-mas

  60. Enjoy the win, but let’s not start throwing it in the Celtics faces. Just a regular season win. Enjoyable, but let’s not get cocky over one game. A good measuring stick of our potential, but we still have to get it done in June.

    Things that stood out to me:

    1) The swarming defense came back in full force at the end. Near the end of the game, we looked every bit like the top defensive team we were to start the season. I only wish we could play a bit more solidly for 48 minutes. But the last 2 minutes, hands were up, everyone was active, and it was beautiful to watch.

    2) Pau’s play – gritty. My favorite play wasn’t his clutch shots. After KG pulled the chair on him, Pau came back the next possession and off the ball, hit Garnett hard, shoving him back. Sending a subtle message that he would not back down. Clutch is simply a mentality. Hopefully this will be a great boost for Pau’s psyche in the playoffs.

    3) Thank God Kobe didn’t force the issue. Near the end of the game, every time he was crowded, I cringed, fully expecting him to throw up a brick. Kobe has to trust his teammates to punish defenses for focusing on him.

    Also, I liked Bynum finishing off the game (in the key moments), especially the play where he jumped out on Rondo and stayed with him all the way to the hoop. That’s the activity he has to play with all game long.

    Good win, more for the young players’ psyche than anything else. Hopefully this is something we can build off of.

  61. Joe,

    No, No, No. We’re better than that. It’s not the Chip, just a regular season game. Let them be trolls. Calm down. FB & G and Laker fans show class. Remember that. Debate X-s and O’s if you want, or strategy, not taunt, it’s tacky.

  62. Amazing game today from the Lakers. Definitely the best played game of the season.

    A few notes:

    1.) Excellent shooting and passing from our perimeter guys, and some very solid defense (except for a couple of lapses). Includes Kobe, Fisher, Luke, and Sasha

    2.) Bynum definitely showed up today and he really took Perkins out of the game. I can forgive a couple of backdoor cuts from Garnett. But I think his intensity on the boards and 1-on-1 defense outweighed those.

    3.) Ariza with 2 huge hustle plays. The save leading to the three point play by Sasha, then the save which took a possession away from the Celtics. Very little scoring, but excellent defense and great hustle from Ariza.

    4.) Gasol? Soft? I think we just witnessed the turning point. The first 3 quarters I was thinking that PJ should develop a drill for Gasol where he just practices throwing down dunks hard on people’s heads. But he had two huge plays down the stretch. First, he gave up the jumper and took the ball to the hole for a three point play late in the 4th. Then he came back and had the huge block on the perimeter which lead to the Ariza reverse slam. Excellent closing from Gasol. Last year, Pau misses the jumper and then lets the three go over him for a swish. This year, he slams it home and blocks the shot. Can’t ask for much more from Gasol.

    5.) Absolutely loved Kobe’s decision making down the stretch. He didn’t force anything and instead hit the open man.

    6.) Lamar’s two threes changed the game. Took all the momentum from the Celts and really gave the Lakers the cushion they needed.

    Overall, definitely the best game we’ve played all season.

  63. Great win!!! Happiest with the hustle, dives, out of bound saves (2 by Trevor)!

    I really liked some of things that Luke did on both ends of the floor, some were intangibles that contributed to the win but will not show up by way of stats.

    Rondo did not look very confident in this game, he looked eerily similar to last year. Though I think that this game was not indicative of how his game has grown.

  64. No reason to rub it in cause all we’re gonna get are excuses… the announcers already tried to downplay it like the C’s didn’t care as much. It was a big win and @ C’s guy it obviously wasn’t luck we won the whole game. The C’s had spurts of 5 points 6 points but thats it. LA just out played them the whole game. Thats the intensity i like to see out of the lake show. Merry Christmas all.

  65. Murcy,

    Get lost with that home cooking calls garbage. It was an evenly called game. Don’t get whiny about it.

  66. @chearn (58) and he had an uncofindent 12 assits… but yeah, he couldn’t drive as well as he did in his past games this year

  67. the other Stephen December 25, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    lu-lu was freaking awesome. our forwards make me proud.

  68. He wasn’t on the floor in the end but I thought Luke had a solid floor game. His passing was on point as always, and he made open shots and was active on D.

  69. The difference between the benches is too much. Losing Posey and Brown makes a big difference. Big difference.

  70. @wondahbap (#62): Luckily something that can be fixed, good thing it’s december…

  71. I’m … I’m just so happy right now!

    Just an outstanding game for anyone who’s a fan of basketball, but plenty to feel good about as a Lakers fan especially:

    – Pau coming up huge in the last two minutes with some decidedly un-soft play.

    – Luke justifying PJ’s faith with nice contributions on both sides of the court.

    – Lamar looking engaged all night and hitting those two HUGE back-to-back threes.

    – Bynum finally getting … and making the most of … extended 4th quarter minutes. Actually, interested to see Drew and Luke both out there with the game on the line.

    Got to tip my cap to KG; the Lakers defense made him take some long jump shots deep in the clock, and he still hit 11 of 14. He was incredible all night. That, and ending the 19-game win streak, made tonight even sweeter.

  72. The best gift of all will hopefully come in June. Ray Allen started out smoking hot, but cooled off, meanwhile Garnett shot well throughout. Pierce did his normal thing — what does all of this mean? We have two fairly even groups of starters. The difference was the bench play (Luke’s & LO’s 3s) and Pau stepping up in the stretch. Kobe set the tone by keeping us in it early, but in the third we stopped moving the ball and didn’t even try to establish post presence. This leads me to believe that we can play even better against them in the Finals…getting ahead of myself, but a great win!!

  73. 62 – Let’s just hope Mutombo decides to retire. I rather liked Bynum having a 6 inch height advantage on Big Baby. And Garnett is annoying enough without learning how to wave his finger.

    I’m interested to what other people think about the style of play today. I thought we did a good job of playing physical enough to stand up to them, but not getting caught up too much in the physicality, and sticking to what we do well. A big part of that was Luke. I saw very few offensive possessions where I cringed, nothing was too forced.

    But at the same time, when Garnett and Perkins were in the game, I was a bit concerned – it seemed like we had a difficult time getting to the rim. A lot of jumpshots, which can spell trouble in a playoff series.

  74. Murcy, I just said I WASNT gonna rub it in…maybe you miss read what I wrote. I mentioned the idea because thats exactly what you Celtic fans did in our blog during the finals. I am not like that anyway…as I said, its just one win…Celtics are still the better team I feel, but the Lakers are really close and have a lot of room for improvement!

  75. And no offense against Farmar, but ever since he went out, our defense has been a lot better without him on the floor. I really think his bad defense hurt us.

  76. great game; lots of pluses. but this game was nothing of what to expect the next time(s) they play. remember, Rondo was hand-cuffed with foul trouble the whole game. this guy is dangerous and i think it was merely a bonus we got him in this situation. it would be great to see another 7 game series between these guys, but i still respect the celtics.

  77. C’s Guy,

    Not with Mutombo. Or Steph if he’s available.

  78. heck of a win guys, and Merry Christmas

    I guess you didn’t get that lump of coal after all! – for the record, that was just good natured teasing that I know Kurt gets and I hope you all will understand

    your team came out and won the game, I tip my cap to ya – happy you had a good game to watch on this wonderful holiday

    cheers and best of luck this year (till the Finals)

    -Jeff (CelticsBlog)

  79. Key things I saw:

    1. Bynum made a difference in the paint on D.
    2. Ariza made a difference on the perimeter and in transition.
    3. Kobe gave the ball up in the 4th.

    Happy Holidays.

  80. my thoughts are this-
    starters, the celt’s have a very slight advantage…
    bench, the lakers have a bigger advantage..
    average it out, favors the lakers.

    what I enjoyed through much of the game was that even though the C’s seemed stronger, the lakers were never out of it, always hanging around and this was a nice feeling, knowing that we can play even with them.
    last year, we had a few games in the finals when we got to really play some Laker ball, built 20 or 30 pt leads, only to see them slip away, and those should have been W’s for us…oh well, let’s learn not how to make those mistakes this year, and the rings are OURS BABY!

    it was a great game to enjoy on Christmas, in HD, and a great preview of what the finals could be.
    the league has to be salivating with hopes this is a preview of this years finals, the new contract with the networks would be nice as well.
    and for us die hard laker and celtic fans, life couldn’t be sweeter, eh?

  81. That was about as feel good as it gets. Others have broken down better than I can what we take from this game, so I’ll only say this: What. A. Freaking. Game.

    Totally unrelated sidenote: Marbury is on the All-Star Ballot? Seriously?

  82. Great game, but there were places where we could improve as well. Still too many easy buckets especially in the first half, and the ball ceased to move for extended periods of time. These are problems that I anticipate will clean themselves up as our team grows throughout the year.

    What I really liked about this game was that we beat the Cs playing at their pace – we were well shy of our scoring average for the year. The game was slowed down but we were able to adjust accordingly.

    Happy Holidays.

  83. Thanks for stopping by, Jeff, and Happy Holidays to you too.

    The thing I liked most about Pau’s block? If you watch the play unfold, Pau got stuck with Ray on a switch. Pau was so active on defense that he chased Ray around the perimeter, fought through a Celtics player, and kept his arms up. Beautiful activity.

    He played that way on defense for most of the game. The clutch shots were great, but I was just as impressed with his intensity on the defensive end. Pau showed why he’s one of the most underrated defenders in the league. Just uses his length beautifully.

    Bynum’s change in play came with a change in attitude, to my eyes. Early on, I saw him shrug off a foul call, pout, and slump his shoulders after he lost the ball out of bounds. When Phil put him in the 4th quarter, I saw a quiet focus in his eyes that I haven’t seen before. He looked locked in. Next play? He swats Rondo’s shot. With Bynum it’s all about intensity.

  84. Pau made my x-mas!!!

    Thank you!!!

  85. I knew it! I made a bet that I’d shutdown my blog if the Lakers lose this one. Thank you Lakers for saving my site.

    Phil Jackson’s gamble of insisting on his tall starting lineup even though it’s not their most efficient unit paid off. He’s really been preparing the team for games like this. Next stop would be the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  86. glad to see all the celtics players in a – in the
    +/- area 🙂

    – odoms back to back 3’s when lakers were going through there shooting slump
    – 9 blocks tonight!!! the killer block by gasol at the end
    – GASOL in the last couple of minutes, need i say more??
    – ray allen 3 out of 11 at the 3 point line
    – defensive intensity

    glad to see the lakers play nicely on defense against celtics, should be a good match up if they do meet in the finals, hope the lakers bring this intensity in every night. also hopefully gasol will bring out the last 3 minutes of this game and embody it every game for all the minutes hes out on the floor

  87. About Ariza: he really didn’t do much on offense but it seemed to me he was on R. Allen when Allen couldn’t even touch the ball much less get a shot. I’d like to see who was guarding Allen thoughout the game and how he fared against each of his defenders.

  88. Anyone believed Kobe when he said “just another regular season game?”

  89. I know no one likes to talk about it but the refs made a huge difference tonight by letting them play.In the 2 losses last week the refs called every tiny thing and kept Drew from playing with undeserved fouls.Hate games with tons of fouls and it seems there are more of those kinds of refs than there used to be.

  90. This was a great game to build on after their two tough losses on the road.

    It was a breath of fresh air to see someone take the burden off of Kobe when Pau came up big down the stretch. Very nice to see Bynum get his Christmas wish with some 4th quarter PT and respond with two key blocks.

    Odom was unbelievable with those back to back threes. I hope he can bring that confidence and fire night in and night out, and become a true 6th man.

    I’ve heard a lot about Trevor’s offense in this post, which I do not mind. He is never going to take a lot of shots, so I will take the off nights from him as long as he hustles the way he does, as he contributes in so many ways. The two saves that equated to 5 points and an immeasurable amount of momentum were just awesome. What an athlete.

    I just hope the Lakers can channel this defensive effort every night, as January is going to be a very difficult month. They’re playing Utah, Portland, Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio (twice), Orlando and Cleveland. Not to mention a couple of teams that we just lost to (Indiana & Miami).

    This game was a great measuring stick for us and should provide the confidence to have a successful January against some excellent opposition.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  91. All the above was 87% how I felt about this game.

    If Garnett wasn’t red hot tonight, this would have been a blow out. The Big Ticket created an illusion of keeping this game closer than it was.

  92. Respect for Jeff of C’s Blog = +10,000

  93. what I take from this:
    -The Celtics can be beaten occasionally
    -The Lakers can win a grit it out boxing match type game
    -The Celtics turn it over a lot right now
    -They won’t send Kobe to the line
    -Home court through the playoffs would mean a LOT if the Lakers are playing in June

    Otherwise, this is way bigger for the Lakers than the Celtics. It reminds me of last year’s game against Pheonix. Going into that game there was debate about how real the team was- coming out of it there was belief. I’m thrilled the 19 game streak was ended, and that PJ picked a great time to test Bynum in the 4th.

    Now hopefully they continue to build on this. When do they go to Boston and when do they first play Cleveland?

  94. good job. I liked the streamers. Nice touch for a regular season game.

    Celtic played terrible ball, and sleepwalked through.

    All of Laker Nation has been hyping this game for the past month or more.

    You played a playoff rotation. We did not.

    This was just a game to us. It was clearly more to you, as evidenced by the passion your team displayed.

  95. The thing that I havent seen anyone write about was the Lakers bench. This was the biggest difference in the game. Remember last year in the finals, the Celtics bench actually outplayed the Lakers bench big time. Lakers showed me in this game that they have the superior bench. Thats a positive thing to see, but Lakers still need to get a little better on defense. Though you got to love how hard the Lakers played today. What a great win for us all 🙂

  96. 95. I think whichever team lost would have said their team sleepwalked through the game. I think you’re right, we were more passionate, but the Lakers took the game to the Celtics as well and earned the win.

    One thing you are wrong about: Those are pretty much the rotations you see from us all the time. That depth wins us games now and will help win games in the playoffs, too.

  97. That was an awesome win. A great way to celebrate the holidays and a great xmas present.

    Glad to see the Lakers come out to play with intensity and focus throughout the game except for the stretch in the 3rd where they were chucking up jumpers. It was good to see Pau come through, Ariza hustle, Luke and Odom more confident in their shooting, Kobe not dominating the ball near the end and believing in his teammates to make the plays, and the team playing better defense. Overall it was good to see them play well, end the streak, and beat the Leprechauns!

    Happy happy holiday!

  98. Terrific win, let’s savor it. As many have commented, I loved that Kobe was killer on single coverage early but gave up the ball when the hard double teams came in the 4th. Pau obviously was clutch, and I think he has been the most consistent contributor for the Lakers so far this season — early team MVP honors from me. Also, I like that Farmar’s absence has led to bigger minutes for Sasha, who has responded with good play so far. Machine!

    My biggest question still remains with the SF debate. Radman only got one minute of PT in the box score, and I don’t even remember seeing him. I have long been a Walton critic (not on this space) but he has been fairly effective offensively recently and tonight showed a willingness to take the open shot. Do any of you remember two seasons ago when he was a league leader in 3 pt percentage halfway into the season? Was that just a fluke, or what happened to his jumper? If he had the confidence to consistently take the open J, I would be happily swallow his poor lateral quickness.

    In contrast, Vlad has been pretty fired up in the past few games coming off the bench with inspired defense and extending the D with his shooting. When he’s into the game, I love the guy. It seems that sometimes as a starter he fades into the background.

    Ariza is obviously a game changer on D, and he deserves the minutes he’s getting. IMHO, coming off the bench is perfect for him. A game changer on D, a great hustle/energy guy, and an improved jumper. My only concern is that although his shooting is improved, I don’t like it when he takes his shot in the triangle flow — at this stage, I see him as a guy that can clean up the garbage and doesn’t need designated offensive touches. When he takes shots in the triangle system it’s depriving Bynum, Pau, Kobe and LO (on the second unit) of touches. In another year or two, I hope he can be Raja Bell 2.0; a starter who shuts down the opposing wing and can hit 35% from three.

    I’m rambling a bit, but what’s the best solution for our starting 3?

  99. Walton’s best game of the year, a fantastic two-way effort.

    Ariza seems to be the guy that is involved in ALL the big plays.

    LO hit two huge shots, and played well, but I am glad Phil went with Drew down the stretch.

    The Celtics bench is defintley in need of an upgrade, I like our chances when they rest their starters.

    Rajon Rondo will be a lot more effective when he has a consistent 17 ft jumper.

  100. the other Stephen December 26, 2008 at 2:13 am

    kind of a weird game. as arnovitz said, sometimes the defense was tight, and sometimes the rotations were completely blown. pau, that’s you. got to stick to KG like peanut butter. but it was a great win. loved lu-lu and ariza!

  101. 95. I love the double standard of the Celtics fans (which I understand is natural and I probably do it too): The Celtics lose, therefore it’s ‘They sleptwalked, you guys cared more, losers, it was just a game to us, whatever.’ But when it’s a 19-game win streak and a team proudly wearing the crown, it’s ‘This is a special team that plays to win every single night, that doesn’t take any team or any game lightly and relishes being the champion and never letting up.’

    I noticed, not so much here, but over on the Celtics Blog, a similar tendency with regard to the officiating: Usually, it’s all about how ‘physical’ this Celtics team is (and they are, and should be, and are awesome because of it) and how they can bang and dominate. Today, though, the refs let the teams play a bit and suddenly it’s an NBA/ESPN/ABC conspiracy about getting the Lakers a win.

    Again, I know this is generally fan frustration with a big (or any) loss, but sometimes it cracks me up.

  102. Things I lenjoyed seeing this game

    1. Gasol pushing KG on offense and then just making the clutch shots
    2. Odom knocking KG on the floor for no apparent reason after KG’s cheapshot at Sasha
    3. Luke’s play
    4. Kobe passing the ball in the fourth… I just hope he keeps doing it…
    5. Ariza’s and Sasha’s hustle
    6. Bynum’s play down the stretch

    Things I didn’t like

    1. Those backdoor cuts allowed to KG and Rondo in the first half. It’s defensive fundamentals 101.
    2. Bynum’s intensity until the fourth… Game starts in the first quarter…
    3. Fish had some PUJIT’s in the beginning of the game…

    That being said, we won because of our will, and against these Celtics, means a lot about our team. However, I’m convinced we will be playing Lebron in the Finals and not these guys…

  103. 17ismore (95),

    All of Laker Nation was hyping it up for a month huh? That’s funny, because WEEI was replaying broadcasts from Games 4 & Games 6. Most Celtic games feature some trivia, or a commercial about the 24 pt. comeback or the Game 6 blowout. Now you’re trying to say Boston fans didn’t care as much. Comical.

    Kurt’s right. That is our regular rotation. Sure, all of the guys who played last night for them, play in the playoffs. That’s who we play. We’re deep, and I didn’t see Gabe Pruitt or Patrick O’Bryant in there, did I? Both teams went 9 deep, and Ray Allen played 42 minutes. Now all of a sudden slept through the game. Hardly. I live in Providence and probably watch the Celtics more than you.

    KG was 11-14 for 22 pts & 9 rebs.
    PP was 7-13 for 20 pts. $ 10 rebs.
    Rondo – 12 assists
    Boston out rebounded us by 5.

    They did not sleepwalk, they got beat. Fair and square.

    I hope none of us are on CelticBlog gloating.

  104. Over there, they actually think the officiating was absolutely pro-Laker. “We only shot 8 ft’s!!” Even though, we only shot 15. It was even to me. I didn’t see Perk getting called for his clear out move. They wishing they still had Posey back (because, apparently it wouldn’t be close with him….so does that mean we can wish for Shaq in his prime back?), their bench isn’t deep enough, blah, blah, blah. ABC and the NBA wanted Lakers to win. If rondo played better, or Tony Allen, or……Didn’t they just win 19 in a row, now the world is collapsing on them. Wow.

    Their fans are just as bad, if not worse, then some of the whiners we see here. Maybe if Rajon or TA could shoot better, then Kobe isn’t 8 ft. off of them. Even still, he did the best he could, with 12 assists, so it wasn’t that either. He found KG, and KG nailed them. That’s what you want, at least. Complain if you want, but back it up.

    I’m done now. Celtic fans get me worked up.

  105. Just watched the game this morning. Awesome game. It felt like a playoff game, really physical, high intensity, chippy. Kobe was phenomenal, Pau struggled in the first half, but stepped up big time at the end with some great shots (created by Kobe) and some good D. That block on Allen’s 3 was huge. Luke played great too, he even played decent defense against Pierce. Bynum played well, particularly in the second half with some good D. The difference in this game was the superior bench for the Lakers (which was outplayed by Boston’s in the finals last year) and Kobe wanted this game. You saw it in his eyes, he was going to find some way to will his team to win.

    Maybe this will start a long winning streak for the Lakers. Lets beat that 33 streak.

  106. 95) Don’t make excuses; you’re trying to tell us that Christmas day, with a 19 game winning streak, against the Lakers, was “just a game”? Nice try.

    The fact is that the Lakers have a more talented roster than the Celtics. Unfortunately, too often they haven’t played to their potential; yesterday’s game was an example of what happens when they do.

  107. exhelodrvr,
    Your comment may have been correct, but the talent difference between the Lakes and the Cs is not that great. With this young team we have to learn to play near our best to be successful against the best.
    The last 5 games are an example of a young team – playing to their opposition instead of constantly playing to their strengths. That is the entire point of Phil’s – and Kobe’s – coaching this year.

    Still, I would rather have our problems than Atlanta’s – another team with loads of talent, but no Kobe or real experience.

  108. Why doesn’t Bynum do a better job of establishing the low-post? It looks to me that he tries to post-up near the top of the key more often than not. Do you guys see it like this and if you do, please tell me why?

  109. azzemoto,
    I think that is a function of the triangle system. The big comes out higher than we think he should to set up. Last year Pau did this to really great effect – Shaq was never able to run this part of that offense. I do agree with you that it is frustrating, because Bynum would be much more effective if he started out closer to the basket – imo.

  110. Another thing that sour-grapes Celtics guy in comment #95 got wrong (other than that the C’s didn’t play with passion; give me a break, both teams were fired up and playing all-out): don’t they drop streamers at Staples after every home win?

  111. 103, Craig – “but the talent difference between the Lakes and the Cs is not that great.”

    I agree; they can’t “win on talent alone”, as several games this season have shown.

  112. If you had told me that Kobe shoots zero (!) free throws in a home game vs. the Celtics (who foul more than any other team in the NBA excepting perhaps the Jazz), I would have said there was no way to win this game.

    Remember that Bynum is very young and should be concentrating on defense and deferring on offense. We have 4 veterans that have earned the ball on offense and can get Bynum to his spots. If there is an opening for attack, Drew should go for the throat. But otherwise he should be looking to concentrate his energy on the defensive end. He doesn’t need the stats this year since he already made his money. With a lockdown defensive center, our team could be unreal.
    From the LA Times today:

    “I don’t like them,” Vujacic said of the Celtics. “I don’t want to talk about them.”

    Hate them?

    “More than that.”

    Welcome to the Lakers, Sasha.

  113. Craig is correct, Bynum playing more at the top of the key seems to be a part of the offense. I think the reason that you don’t see more of the offense running through him in the low post is that, though extremely talented and athletic, he is still developing an offensive game. He doesn’t really have a go to move and often times makes mistakes. This part of his game will develop over time. Bynum is not Shaq (or Howard to a little lesser degree) who is so big, strong, and surprisingly quick (for a guy that size) that he can just muscle anyone underneath the basket to where he can just dunk on them.

    RIght now Bynum’s role is to rebound and protect the basket. I think part of the reason for his struggling the last few games is that he is trying to do too much. He just signed a 54M extension and I feel like he was trying earn the money, which took him out of his role.

  114. Bynum does give up establishing position too fast though. He’s not the passer Pau is, nor does he have as many offensive moves, so when he holds it too long, he gets in a bind, so I think that’s part of the reason he decides he’s not getting his way and gives it up too early. Pau can get himself out of trouble better.

  115. GREAT win!! what a x-mas present!!

    anyway, did anyone else feel the Celtics outplayed us most of the game? we played harder, but they played smarter. they had better spacing on both ends. we gave up too many dunks and layups.

    we won this one on guts and hustle. ariza’s amazing saves, odom’s threes, pau’s manning up.

    this wouldn’t have won us a 7 game series. if I were the Celtics, I would brush this loss off.

    but hey don’t tell me the Celtics didn’t want this one. they had a 19 win streak going. if they’d gotten pass us, they would’ve passed the Rockets’ mark easily. and 33 would’ve been doable, with only Rockets and Cavs being serious impediments. maybe they didn’t want it as bad, but they wanted it!

  116. It was obvious to me that both teams were very into the game. Both coaches commented about the emotion of the game and the players were ready. However, what stood out more was how into the game the crowd was….they cheered the jump ball! I have not heard that in a while (if ever).

    As for the game itself, everyone has already made all the key observations, so I won’t rehash all that stuff. But, I will say that Phil is still trying to figure out how he’s going to set his rotation with Farmar out. Both Van Gundy and 17ismore think we played some crazy playoff style rotation, but in reality (as Kurt pointed out) this is the lineup that we’ve been playing. Having Farmar out means that Kobe is going to have to play more of a facilitator role in a line up with Ariza playing SG (which I like; i think having our 2 best wing defenders in the game is a good move) and missing Farmar also means that Sasha is going to have to handle the ball more (which he’s capable). Not having a very good bench player and a key member of our rotation is never a good thing, but I can say that we can maximize the other strengths of the team (shooting and better wing defense) when Farmar is replaced by either Sasha or Ariza. What we miss is that speed/pace factor that he brings to the second unit (somebody mentioned possesions in an above comment, i think that speaks to Farmar’s absense as well as us playing at the Celtics pace).

    One thing I can say about the game in general and about our defense specifically is that the Celtics did not seem as prepared for our traps. It helped that we rotated very well on ball reversals, but we also got some key defelections by the players doing the trapping and forced some turnovers that we haven’t been forcing as much recently as teams have adjusted to our SSZ. Another thing that I think our trap exploited on Boston’s end was the lack of a legit ballhandler for the 2nd unit. House is NOT a PG, and can be rendered ineffective against a defense as aggressive as ours with ball traps. House has gotten much better at dealing with on ball pressure by one defender, but when we trapped him he made mistakes and did not play as cleanly as needed. A lot of his passes were poor and the ones that were good decisions, weren’t always accurate, which makes a difference in ball rotations to catch and shoot players. House’s lack of effectiveness also meant that Rondo played more minutes and allowed us to continue to deploy Kobe on him, allowing Kobe to roam more and try to disrupt the other Celtics.

    Overall, though, it was a good game. I’m very happy we won and played more to our potential (like we also did against the Hornets). I’m not sure if we really got any long term answers from this game, other than that we’re a pretty good team when focused and executing. But we didn’t need a win against the Celtics to tell us that…

  117. I wonder what excuses we’d come up with if we’d lost the game. The fans at CelticsBlog have come up with just about everything. They remind me of a lot of our fans. Guess it’s natural. They just cam off of a 19 game win streak, and the world is collapsing.

    So, my next thought is:

    Since we beat the Celtics in the game many were so worried about, does this now all of a sudden make every one calm down just a bit?

  118. Wow, great game. In fact, my most favorite game in recent memory. Early on it looked like Pau was intimidated; but then in crunch time, when it mattered, he delivered in a big way.

    I can’t remember Staples Center erupting harder than it did after that Ariza almost out-of-bounds pass to Sasha for the driving layup and one. The arena was electric yesterday afternoon. I’ve never seen as many people at their seats at tipoff.

    Santa sure delivered the holiday cheer this year…

  119. Darius,

    I was wondering where you were. I had to make those same points about the rotations to some C’s fans. Good insight. We’ve missed ya.

  120. If Gasol plays with the same fire he played with in the 4th quarter in Boston on a consistent basis, we have no problems. Also, having Bynum in there at the end was nice. Clogs the lane a bit for Kobe, but opens up Gasol’s game. Again if Gasol steps up like he did last night, this is the way to go.

  121. luubi,
    Were you looking at the same game? The Celtics didn’t outplay the Lakers for most of the game. Actually the Lakers led most of the game and the Celtics has to come back several times. That may have made them look better during those times, but it also took something out of them. Finally, at the end, we had enough to just put them down – in part, I think, because they used their energy to catch up and now had to try to catch up again and got flustered.

  122. New post up, to continue the Lakers/Celtics talk.