Lakers/Celtics: Recapping the Roller Coaster Ride

Darius Soriano —  January 31, 2010

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This contest was the classic example of how a basketball game can take you to the highest of highs, down to the deepest depths, and then right back to cloud nine.  It was a game that wasn’t always pretty, but it was hard fought throughout and showed why these two teams are two of the best in the league: both teams do not quit and show the heart of a champion by exhibiting true grit and fighting until the final buzzer.

The game started with an intensity level befitting an all-time sports rivalry.  Artest and Pierce needed to be separated while jockeying for position during the jump ball.  Players were elbowing and grabbing for territory all over the court like shoppers at dawn in line on Black Friday.  Every inch of real estate was contested.  The referees tried to get control of the game early by calling touch fouls on the big men battling on the block and by penalizing the slightest of contact on the wings with a blow of the whistle.  Both teams begrudgingly adjusted and the game settled into a flow (we should note that even though the game settled down, both teams were still pretty sloppy as turnovers were plentiful).

At the outset, the Lakers showed their hand for how they plan to play Rajon Rondo.  They put Kobe on the C’s all-star and dared him to be an outside shooter.  Initially, this was effective as Rondo struggled to get into the paint and the C’s struggled to find an offensive rhythm.  Boston ended up settling for jumpers from Ray Allen and mid range post ups for KG.  And though some of these shots went in, Boston struggled to create quality looks and also turned the ball over too many times to ever really find an offensive groove.  Meanwhile, the Lakers’ offense was patient and poised.  Kobe showed nice touch on his jumper.  Pau and Andrew established deep post position and scored easily against Boston’s frontline.  This was especially true for Bynum who was playing a brand of ball that many fans have long been hoping for from our young Center when we face a quality opponent with very good defensive bigs.  I’ll let nomuskles explain what we all saw:

Kudos to Andrew Bynum. He played mostly good defense and did a lot of work to get good position for himself on the offensive end. He grabbed 11 boards and he didn’t back down from any of the Celtics. KG and Perkins live off their opponents’ fear and Bynum showed none. KG got a bucket and ran his mouth all the way down the floor. Bynum sealed KGs smaller body off to the outside, received a nice post-entry pass and dunked it and glared at KG. He was not out of control but he was determined.

And so it went in the first quarter.  The Lakers played an inside out game, contested shots, forced turnovers, and raced out to an 11 point lead.  However, unfortunately for the Lakers the game did not end after the initial 12 minutes of this contest.

At the start of the 2nd quarter, the Lakers bench proceeded to play out of sorts and the Celtics took advantage.  At the center of the comeback were Rajon Rondo and (to a lesser extent, but a still quite effective) Tony Allen.  Essentially, Rondo showed why the coaches of this league selected him to be an all-star.  He controlled the tempo of the game and got good shots for himself and his teammates.  He showed savvy on the the P&R and forced switches by keeping his dribble alive and flashing his beautiful change of pace dribble.  All of this led to Rondo living in the paint in the half court, easily creating easy shots for himself right at the rim and  opening up passing angles all over the court against a scrambling Lakers’ defense.  Slowly but surely, the Celtics chipped away at a double digit advantage and gained confidence.  Meanwhile the Lakers went away from what worked so well early in the game and began playing too fast, became isolation centric on offense, and got sloppy with the ball.  By the time the 2nd quarter ended, the Lakers had been outscored by 16 and an eleven point lead was a five point deficit.

After playing to a virtual tie in the 3rd quarter, the closing period arrived the Lakers showed the combination of heart and skill that earned them a title last June.  They continued to fight and made enough plays to keep the game close going into the final minutes.  Then, in the closing moments of the game the Lakers did all the little things that help win – they cleaned their defensive glass, they found a soft spot to exploit in the Celtics defense (Kobe at the elbow), and just kept attacking.  The Lakers finally clinched the game on a four possession sequence (two offensive, two defensive) where Artest made an incredibly difficult layup to bring us with one, followed by (Ron again) drawing an offensive foul on Pierce, then Kobe sinking an amazing line drive jumper with Ray Allen all over him, and climaxing with the Celtics running a play for Ray Allen and Lamar closing out to contest what would have been the game winner.  Just a fantastic finish to game that had my heart pounding for the final 5 minutes of the contest.

As Kurt mentioned, this is the type of game that often means a lot to the fans.  Many of us see these games as measuring sticks and take on a greater importance than the effects it has on the standings.  But, this was also a game that was very important to the players.  Again, I’ll let nomuskles take it from here:

It’s a great confidence booster to the Lakers that they can win these tough games. It won’t carry all the way to the playoffs by itself, but I could tell how pumped the guys were that they hung tough. It would have been very easy to let that second quarter set the tone for the rest of the game and throw in the towel accordingly…The game could have easily gone the other way and the lessons learned would still be the same but the impact is much stronger because they emerged with a win. These sorts of tests will come in handy when the Lakers are facing crunch time in the playoffs.

That feeling of confidence (and relief) was evident with all the guys right as the final buzzer sounded.  After Fisher secured the rebound off the aforementioned Ray Allen miss, you saw players jumping up and down, embracing, and celebrating in a manner that is not typically seen after a regular season game.  The Lakers beat the Celtics and survived a roller coaster ride in the process.  For one day, at least, our biggest historical rival was vanquished and despite all the ups and downs we were smiling at the end.

-Darius

Darius Soriano

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70 responses to Lakers/Celtics: Recapping the Roller Coaster Ride

  1. Great post. Someone else mentioned it in the game thread, but I am glad to see you note LO’s close-out on Allen on the last play.

    I would like to see a little less burn for Kobe and a little more for Walton and Farmar. Kobe can go 45 in May.

  2. Great wrap-up. I wonder if the Lakers’ exploitation of the weak spot in the Celtics’ D – the elbow, as you noted – was by design or it just took that long for the Lakers to figure it out. As Phil has discussed in the past, the Lakers like the hold their 4th quarter strategy close to the chest. That typically means we revert to the pick & roll on 95% of plays in the last few minutes.

    In this case, the Celtics were throwing a double team at Kobe every time he caught the ball on the sideline or deep post. It seemed pretty obvious that Kobe needs to catch the ball in a better position (the elbow) and operate quicker, but it just didn’t happen over the first 45 minutes. Fortunately, it happened just in time.

  3. First, Gr8 Scott… Congrats on the new Laker fan… and Texan!

    Second, I hate roller coasters, but I want to go again!

    Third, didn’t it look like Ray Allen was doing the dog paddle as Kobe drove on the last shot?

  4. There is one seeming-problem I see with the Lakers. They see success with the triangle offense, then the opponent changes the defense a bit (or the 2nd unit comes into the game) and the team is reluctant to go back to what was working. I would think the starters would immediately go back to their offense when they reenter the game. This would not only reestablish control, but also would be a reminder to the 2nd unit that this is the offense we run.

    This is especially true when we are playing a good defensive team — one where isolation basketball is losing basketball.

  5. Post game comment from Kobe: “”I didn’t say give me one more chance. I said give me the damn ball. I never really give him much of a choice.”

  6. In the game thread for the Sixer game, I commented that I would be more impressed if Bynum had a good game against the Celts. I thought he did a really solid job today. He stayed out of foul trouble and even closed out the game – so kudos to him for coming through.

    I thought Phil’s rotations were pretty interesting. He really seemed to be preparing guys for the playoffs, not just playing for the win.

    Solid road win against a pretty desperate team.

  7. This was by far the most amazing lakers game for me… From waking up in the morning … Taking the train to Boston … Sitting on the floor surrounded by over 20000 celtics fans ( and the color green) … hearing crap from the middle of the second quarter all the way to 8 seconds left in the game … Watching kobe do his thing as he always does … To watching those same 20000 people with sad faces while I was jumping up and down screaming my head off … Just an amazing day I will never forget

  8. Just finished watching the recorded game and finally allowed myself to jump on this site. Wow! Highs and Lows is right.

    Kudos to Bynum for stepping up big when he was confronted with physicality.

    Great recap, the only other thing I want to bring up is Pau’s performance. I don’t want to get into the bs Pau is soft debate. But I do have a concern that Pau has not played well so far this year in any of the statement games. Anyone have any guesses why this is and please no cliche “he’s soft” arguments.

    Last year, Pau came through in every single statement game. Big baskets, clutch rebounds and defensive plays. This year he just looks out of sorts. The Cleveland game and today’s game, he missed a few chippies that he usually easily makes. His flow and rhythm isn’t there. When Kobe hits him with passes, last year he’d catch smoothly and finish. This year, he’s fumbling some.

    Is it because he’s been out games? Is Kobe not passing cleanly because of the finger? I just can’t figure out why Pau has had subpar performances in every statement game this year.

    Glad to see Bynum being able to fill the void in this game in crunch time. PJ finally decides that Pau can’t close this time and let Bynum do it. Hopefully this energizes both their play.

    But really curious as to any theories to Pau’s performances. And not bs ones like he’s soft.

  9. I have to agree with michael zarabi there. I also went to the game and it was a fun experience. The greatest thing was as soon as Kobe’s shot went in, the whole place went extremely quiet. It was like they had just been punched in the gut or throat and just couldn’t speak. There were a good amount of Laker fans in the crowd and this was the first time, other than free throws, that you could only hear the Laker fans cheering and nothing else. No response from the Celtics fans. I can’t describe how great that moment was.

    And for the first time since before they got KG (I didn’t go to the game last year for some reason when we won in OT without Bynum), I left the Garden wearing my Laker jersey after a win. No one was talking and kind of trash. All I heard was good game, Kobe’s awesome, or not another Lakers fan. That was cool because when they lose, I get tons of crap. Tonight it was just Laker fans randomly high fiving other Laker fans they didn’t know. Awesome.

    As for the game, I loved the fight this team had in the 1st and 4th…even the middle quarters when they got down by 10 or so. I was especially impressed with Bynum. He was downright nasty tonight. And it’s about time they called the moving screens on the Celtics (I counted at least 5 or 6 times they got an offensive foul called for a moving pick I think). It should have been more too because KG does it almost every time he sets a pick.

  10. Good game. Other than a very sloppy 2nd quarter lakers deserved to win that game. 4th quarter showed good effort, can’t complain.

    BTW, what a weird closing lineup? No gasol, never would of thunk it, since Odom wasn’t exactly playing his best game. Whatev, a wins a win.

    And in response to #8 about Pau, he just looks out of rhythm in these “big” games. Maybe its because the offense is less focused on him, maybe its just because he’s tired (played a ton of games these last few years, summers were off), or maybe he is lurking for around playoff time. Regardless, he did have some sweet moves today – 3pt line to Dunk, just missed some shots. No big deal. Go Lakers.

  11. I posted this on the previous thread.

    Great win for the Lakers. This stretch of games will reveal a lot about this team. They get a tough Memphis team. Then they go home to meet the always troublesome Bobcats. Then they get the Nuggets, back to Portland, the Spurs again, and one last trip to Utah before the All Star break.

    These are all character games. And if the Lakers come through on most of them like they did today this team is will be on its way. Kudos to the guys for staying strong and finishing off the C’s.

    Also, the Celtics organization needs to be concerned. As much we complain about the Lakers they have not lost three games in a row in two years. The C’s, on the other hand, are on a three game losing streak and are 6-11 since Christmas. Let us stop using Boston as a metric when assessing the Lakers. The Lakers are their own metric.

  12. When Kobe makes shots like that it somehow satisfies any psychological discomfort I have with the fact he is paid millions of dollars to play a game while the rest of us scrape by in reality. Logically, it still makes no sense. But because shots like that make tough days a little less tough, I find myself nodding — pay the man his money and treat him like a beloved general.

  13. 12) – Actually, it makes a lot of sense. When I go to the office there are not 20,000 people paying good money to see me perform. Nike wouldn’t see one extra shoe sold if they used me to promote their product verses Kobe, LeBron, or even Shannon Brown. Most of all, few of us have the ability to keep millions of people glued to the TV set long enough for advertisers to promote their products and ultimately sell their products.

    Some people may not like it. But guys like Kobe don’t get paid what they are getting if they are not making more money for someone else. Ask yourself this question. How much has LeBron James increased Dan Gilbert’s net worth over the last seven years?

  14. regarding the (missed) sarcasm on the preview & chat thread: maybe we all need to learn how to use the sarcmark.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SarcMark

  15. 8 – Let’s also remember that Pau made a few uncommonly aggressive drives to the hoop on this game. I loved those moments because it didn’t just show Pau’s assertive side, it also showed his intelligence because he recognized that none of the Celtics big men can keep up with him. Back to the basket, it’s a different story.

    As for his “issues”, I wonder if it’s a consequence of Pau’s injuries. In particular, his weird misses around the hoop and lack of timing could be a sign that Pau is still “figuring out” his body again. As Bill Bridges noted a while ago, most basketball moves – especially shooting – are dependent on muscle memory. Pau’s two injuries could be messing with his muscle memory and consequently leading him to go too strong, too weak, too left, or too right.

  16. The economics makes sense, of course. It’s the fact that someone who is good at throwing a ball through a hoop could generate so much demand/revenue that is baffling — until you realize that the right ball through the right hoop can change how you feel about your day. And Kobe’s shot did that for me today.

    This was exactly what the team needed. To face their enemy, on the road, get behind, and have to fight back like men. These are the types of wins that the team can reflect back on in the playoffs when things go dark and they need a reason to believe in themselves. We didn’t win the title last year when we swept Cleveland and Boston back to back on the road right after Drew got injured, but I believe we would not have own the title if not for those wins. They have us courage when Denver and Houston had us on the ropes, Drew couldn’t produce, and we had to fight out of a hole. This team hasn’t had those types of psychology-shifting wins this year — until now. And it is important that Artest and Bynum experience them so they and the team are confident that this group can battle through anything when things get tense in May and June.

    Let’s all find an added measure of satisfaction in knowing that Simmons is right now contemplating the end of Boston’s window. Garnett is fading, Allen is showing age, and Boston will soon be rebuilding. Again. This makes me happy because I still feel the sting of game 4.

  17. Reed – Maybe we’re just psychologically sick, that a ball going through an orange piece of metal can bring us such joy.

    “He was not out of control but he was determined.”

    I think that’s what I liked most about Bynum today. Poise. A maturity we haven’t seen from him so far. I didn’t see any of the frustrating body language. He didn’t get overhyped and take bad shots, or lose control and go foul crazy. He stayed aggressive but smart, and that was truly a new wrinkle from him. I feel like today I saw the player – or perhaps, the demeanor – that Bynum will one day grow into.

  18. Huh, i wonder where all the bynum haters have gone? Oh where, oh where…have all the bynum haters gone? The guys who wanted to trade bynum for a bag of chips?

    Don’t worry, they will be back. It is rather irrelevant to these people that Bynum is now an absolute BEAST, that they claimed he never showed up when it matters, etc. Well, he sure showed up today didn’t he? He sure DUNKED in KG’s face after KG did all that talking, didn’t he?

    I’ve always been a big Bynum supporter, but he even surprised me today. Not because of his insane numbers, no, this guy is one of the most efficient players in the NBA, especially considering how many shots he gets (not just a put back guy). Not because of his stats, but rather because of his attitude. Who was the TOUGHEST guy on the court today?

    I say it was Bynum. When KG talked trash, Bynum jammed it in his face. When he got the ball, it wasn’t going up softly like some others we know…no, it was i’m freakin dunkin it in your FACE boy! That was shocking to me.

    Bynum has a chance to be the toughness in addition to the raw skill and talent and drive. What a freakin player this guy is. He even surprised me.

    Pau, you can learn something from this 22 year old. There is a time to stand up and be counted. Bynum did that today!

  19. I agree with everything people have been saying about Bynum really coming to play today.

    One other thing I just wanted to point out was the fact that we’ve only lost one close game all year (decided by 5 or less). I know people say that involves a little luck, and it does, but it’s about poise and execution down the stretch as well. We should probably be undefeated in these games anyway as that foul call on Hedo in TO with 1.2 left last week was terrible.

  20. To me this was a carbon copy of the Cavaliers game, with the glaring difference that vs. the Celtics the Lakers managed to make the necessary plays down the stretch to win the game (ahem, Kobe’s ridiculous out of rhythm fade away).

    Just like vs. Cleveland they rolled them in the opening minutes, playing a strong 1st quarter overall. Just like vs. Cleveland the offense got out of rhythm and the defense got shredded by ball penetration in the 2nd and 3rd. And, just like vs. the Cavs, they found a way to fight back and get it close heading into the final minutes.

    The question is, should they be happy that they were this close in two of their toughest road games of the season? Or, should they be disappointed in how inconsistent they’ve proven to be on the road (in terms of quality of play over four quarters) vs. elite teams.

    Probably a bit of both. But hopefully the lessons they’ve learned on this road trip pay dividends come playoff time.

  21. 19 – Chise

    You brougnt up something I was wondering about: What’s our record this year in games decided by 5 pts or less?

    (I guess I can look it up …)

  22. 21 – R

    I think it’s 8-1 or something similar. I’m pretty sure the only one we lost was the Raptors game last week.

  23. Great recap Darius, and good input from nomuskles. Bynum was a force tonight and it was very good to see our 7 foot Center close out the game for once. Artest showed why it was a good move to sign him also tonight, tough hard fought battle with a Laker win. You know Darius, your basketball talk just fits in perfect with this site, actually it always has, lots of X’s and O’s.

  24. Laker fans check out andrew bynum dunk on k.g hahaha
    http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=ySxAPjXh u2s
    and check out our videos :) please subrcribe if you have an acount :)
    http://www.youtube. com/user/emo1and1imp roving1

  25. and it was IN BOSTON. even sweeter than if it had been at staples center.

  26. Gasol is not soft – he’s not strong enough. Physically.

  27. another thing -
    given that there were some suspect calls from the refs tonight, and that the C’s made a serious comeback in the 2nd qtr and never gave up the lead again until Kobe’s basket with :07 seconds left…
    well, all’s I’m saying is, the team could have quit, and blamed it on the refs, in the Garden, that’s just the way it seems to go sometimes.
    but NOooooo, this team didn’t quit, they fought back, hung in there, and viola! mark it up as a W!

  28. Bynum was awesome tonight and i think he needs more touches than he gets.

    I was at the Toronto game last week and he was killing it in that game too nobody could guard him.

    He had a great first quarter today but i find we got behind because we stopped playing the inside game but i am so happy for the win.

    Also super happy about Paul Pierce getting called for the push off , he does that every time he goes for a shot and it infurriated me during the 2008 title series.

    The only thing that bother me about the team is that we reall arent blowing anyone out of games, they are always letting the other team back in it by losing focus and that is something that needs to change if we are going to win this year.

    The win against boston was good but if anyone watched the day game Denver is going to be a much harder out this year. There is definately a chance that we can lose Homecourt in the west.

  29. We beat Boston — a contender — in Boston and you’re complaining we didn’t blow them out? Dude, this is not Minny, this is Boston. They were going to make a run. Just savor it.

    What I liked best was the Lakers won the ugly game. Cleveland pushed and caught the Lakers off guard on Christmas, then pushed again last week. Today Artest was pushing back before the opening tip and made the key plays down the stretch, which set a tone. It was ugly, sloppy and just not the beautiful game, and the Lakers got the win. When was the last time we got to say that… oh, yea, the playoffs last year. That’s a very good sign going forward, let’s hope they build on it.

  30. Before Michaelangelo, or Picasso made a masterpiece they first made roughdrafts and not so amazing pieces to get to that final Breathtaking piece, in Basketball that is what our Lakers will be, Phil Jackson holding the brush. It feels like this Lakers team will make History! #16 – Sweet sixteen can’t deny the Girl her cake baby!!! :) go Lakers!

  31. We beat Boston — a contender — in Boston and you’re complaining we didn’t blow them out? Dude, this is not Minny, this is Boston. They were going to make a run. Just savor it.

    Seriously. We won the title last year and you know how much we won by in Boston when we played in the Garden? 1 point. In overtime.

    We beat the bogeyman in his own house, at the tail end of a long road trip, after reporters said the players looked wiped out before practice the day preceding the game.

    We coasted to an early lead, did everything wrong, and found a way to win after most teams would have crumbled. Savor the win. Nothing wrong with knowing what we did wrong, but not worth wringing your hands over it.

  32. I felt that the entire game was all about turnovers…

    We committed them in the 2nd & 3rd qtrs to their benefit & they comitted them in the 1st & 4th qtrs to ours.

    Our defense in the last 6:00 of the game was what won it for us…. that was championship grit out there today. That defense was the difference between Kobe being a guy who shoots us out of a game & Kobe being a guy who somehow has the stones to nail an impossible game winner after missing everything else.

  33. Is it just me or is Kobe the Rodney Dangerfield of basketball. 4 freethrows the whole game? just doesn’t seem right.

  34. This was a big game because it showed Andrew’s teammates that he can be trusted in the low post in big games against big teams. I think you will start to see Bynum now get the touches he so wants and deserves. I think Drew anchoring the middle will also allow Gasol to play his more natural “perimeter” game and play off the ball helping to avoid being pushed around under the basket.

  35. Best rivalry in sports, no question.

  36. Artest really matches up well with Pierce, Artest’s foot speed isn’t what it used to be so he’s going to struggle with younger players like Lebron and Carmelo but an old man like Pierce is right up his alley.

    Bynum impressed me the most tho, he kept shooting over Perkins… made him look real short out there.

  37. Great win, no doubt. Sometimes, I enjoy these one point victories more than blow outs just because they really demoralizes the opposing teams so much. Celtics did a lot of things well, including Ray Allen’s great defense on Kobe on the game winner, and yet they fell short of winning. The reactions by the Celtics fans tell me that they are now starting to wonder if their best effort will be good enough to beat the Lakers. They know that the Lakers didn’t play their best, and yet we came away with a win at their home court by doing just enough. They will start doubting more and more. Hahaha.

    As far as our 2nd quarter woes are concerned, our 2nd unit really does poor job of building on what the starters did in the first quarter. Kobe was part of the problem as he tried to “rescue” our team with too many iso plays. It’s not that the team has to run offense through Pau or Drew every single time, but they need touches for the opposing team to work or break down. Also, a lot of times, we would have too many unbalanced floor spacing with Pau and Lamar beyond the 3 point line and our smalls all near the baseline. That type of floor spacing hurts our transition defense as well as offensive rebounding. Our bigs need to establish position in the post more and run the triangle more effectively even when the opposing team makes adjustment and tries to deny post entry passes. They need to swing the ball to the opposite side and re-establish on the other side. I felt like our 2nd unit was really impatient and ineffective doing that. But, I can’t complain after this win. It’s a good day when the Lakers win or the Celtics lose. It’s a great day when the Lakers win AND the Celtics lose!

  38. Just an addition,
    To me the key to Boston’s impressive second quarter was Phil’s strange gamble with the line-up early.
    Tough win,great saving shot from Kobe otherwise a relatively subpar performance offensively,but don’t forget his shutting defense on Rondo.
    Great rivalry for both teams..

  39. Bynum was solid. If he keeps playing like that, we won’t be hearing anymore Bosh trade talks.

    Regarding Kobe, I really didn’t like his game that much (except for the game winner)… Could he just get some rest in order to heal his body? We have the All-Star game coming up and if he rested against SA, @Utah and against GS he would have a 12 day rest before facing the leprechauns again. Maybe it’s enough for him to heal some ailments and be in proper shape for the playoffs…

    Regarding the defensive side of the game, why didn’t we keep doing what we did in the 1st quarter? It won’t work against other teams, but make Rondo a jumpshooter and deny him passing lanes. We should’ve put them away at the half. Nevertheless it was a great win.

  40. 18, Funny thing when you’re someone’s fan you can take one great game and turn it into a career’s achievement. Great job by Drew, but it’s funny that after the first game he does well vs physical defenders you turn him into the paradigm where the others must reflect. You are being as loopsided as you criticize others to be.

    Regarding Pau, his game is still off, it’s not that he’s got bad numbers since he returned (18.8pt; 9.7reb; 3ass; 1.2bpg) but he’s “just” 48.8% FG and 77.58% FT.

    He’s not there yet, there are moments when you can see him as himself (as the driving dunk from the 3 point lane yesterday or the baseline dunk after the spin the other day vs Indiana) but then he goes for stretches out of sync and sort of clumsy.

    As I stated the other day, it’s been usual for him to be out of his game after recovering from and injury, and my hope is that he’ll be the efficient player we are used to, right after the All Star, so I guess that all we have to do is wait until he figures it out. The only concern here is if Kobe is going to wait for him or not.

  41. I’d really like to see Pau use his mid-range game more (like the 15-18 foot jumpers he was nailing in the Euro tourney this summer) in order to open up the post a little more for Bynum and Kobe.

    I think the Celtics’ relentless double teaming of Kobe was a good real-time exercise to adjust the team’s attack. Pau’s mid-range could have helped, but when his inside game was wrapped up by the Celts defense, and when he wasn’t utilizing his mid-range game, I think it was the better move to put in Bynum and Odom. I completely understand Pau is coming back from injury and adjusting to playing with Bynum, but I think he has one of the best mid-range games which is not being incorporated within the team’s offense. Any thoughts?

  42. Curious if anyone looked at what happened on defense on those plays where Pierce was completely alone for a three.

  43. I’d really like to see Pau use his mid-range game more (like the 15-18 foot jumpers he was nailing in the Euro tourney this summer) in order to open up the post a little more for Bynum and Kobe.

    I commented on this in the game-chat-thread.

    There were several times when Pau had a smaller defender on him in a face-up about 12-15 feet out and I kept waiting for him to just take the jumper. There were at least two sequences in which switches had left him with Paul Pierce guarding him in this position.

    I think the concerns about his comfort with his body after the 2 hamstring injuries are probably correct. Something has unsettled him and he’s just not in the same confident groove we saw when he came back from the first injury earlier this year – which seems odd considering the fact that he was out longer with the first injury.

  44. I’m not sure I enjoy much more than seeing the papers/blogs in Boston today being all doom and gloom. Their team lost a game it had to win, and now the realization they may not have a title team on their hands is really sinking in. (If they don’t get healthy and find some additional offense out of Ray Allen, they are not getting out of the East.)

  45. #43. exhelodrvr,
    I know on one of the threes (the one that was taken just a shade to the right from straight away) the play looked like a miscommunication between Ron and Drew. The Celtics ran a P&R and Ron got sucked into the paint to cover Perkins. After a bit of a delay, Drew recovered to the paint to try and find his man and at the same time the ball was circling back to Pierce at the 3pt line. At that point, Drew was actually closer to Pierce than Artest was (who was still tangling with Perk under the basket), but Drew proceeded to rotate down to Perkins and Ron could not get up to Pierce in time to contest the shot. That led to Pierce being wide open.

  46. There are so many good 1-on-1 players on this team that I guess Phil is willing to put up with the frequency that we ‘lose’ the triangle offense. However, when playing a good defensive club, this is how the game will look and the result will be closer than it needs to be.

    This iso is where players make their ‘bones’ in this league, so I guess Phil has no choice sometimes, but it does result in fewer dominant wins.

    We were talking about 72 wins earlier this year. Ridiculous, but the only way any team is going to approach that is to totally submerge itself in team play and forget their individual stats. Of course, they also need a dominant star to go along with that, but I just think no grouping of talent will approach that record without total submersion in a system.

    I love the gradual ‘man up’ emergence of Drew, think Phil left him in there without Pau at the end because he wanted Drew to experience this type of situation, and see the Lakers improving as the season goes on. I just don’t like their inability to run their designated system when things get tough.

  47. This quote from Ding at the Register was too funny not to share.

    “Artest got the ball in the post on the first play and was fouled hard by Boston’s Paul Pierce — at which point Artest struck the sort of wide-eyed, menacing pose very few non-institutionalized people can.

    He stared and seemingly braced himself to fight. Bryant told Artest he noticed the Celtics’ reaction at that precise moment: “They didn’t want any part of this crazy (expletive). I’m telling you. I saw it.”

    :-)

  48. 48 VoR- Classic! That’s the reason why I wanted him on the lakers ever since shaq was talked about being traded to the pacers for J. O’neal and Ron. The dude is a menace!
    (good thing we didn’t get locked up w/ O’neal. Out of all the different ways the Lakers were rumored to get Artest through the years, I think we couldn’t have done it better.)

  49. Excellent victory, but this game should not have been as close as it turned out. We have a problem with sticking 2 the script. What works well 4 us is the inside – outside game. When established, i.e. the 1st quarter, the game comes much easier & that’s how we jumped out 2 the big lead. When not used, i.e. the 2nd quarter, there are 2 many iso’s, which in turn gets us out of rythm & leads 2 too many turnovers. The 2nd unit definitely didn’t do us any favors either, but I believe that we need 2 post up L.O. on the right block once in a while 2 keep the opposing defense honest. If he’s guarded by a 4, he can use his quickness. If guarded by a 3, he can use his size advantage or if doubled, he’s a good enough passer (with a high b-ball I.Q.) 2 exploit it. I just believe that we have so many weapons that’s not being used accordingly, as of now. Hopefully, down the road, we can start utilizing these weapons 2 our advantage.

  50. I will admit to being one of those who continues to feed into the Pau is soft label. But I will give him credit for yesterday attempting to play aggressive and making strong moves to the basket. Even though he didn’t have a particularly good game I am proud of the way he didn’t back down from the Celtics seemingly trying to intimidate him.

    Having said that, I agree with the comments people are posting about Pau needing to hit that mid-range jumper. I feel that there are a couple teams that won’t allow him to get close enough to the basket to put up his left handed hook shot so he has to be affective at hitting that mid-range jumper that I know he can make. To me, the Lakers are unguardable if he’s hitting that shot.

  51. 48. This point cannot be underestimated.

    I thought a key moment was when Kevin Garnett ran into a stationary Artest and went flying. Other than the fact it should have been a charge,

    1. KG is the one knocking others to the floor not getting knocked down.

    2. Falling down like a rag doll when Artest seemed barely to be aware of the impact destroyed what little is left of KG’s tough guy mystique

    3. KG went down to the ground, rolled on his back and looked up at Artest. In a canine or primate society this is the gesture the supplicant takes in submission to the alpha male.

    Yes there’s one guy in the league whose gambling winnings are always paid, whose woman is off-limits to even Shaq, and who nobody wants to piss off. And he is on the Lakers.

  52. 52. – Exactly!

  53. 52 Mr. Bridges- I had a different perception of that foul you were speaking of in the 1st quarter.
    During one of the previous two possessions of the Lakers RA drew a foul that of course the Celts’ were not to pleased about. I felt like when Garnett created the call on Ron he felt like a school boy taunting a school mate for getting him in trouble when it was him doing the wrong (na-na nanana that sort of thing). It infuriated me! Watching him getting helped up by Pierce while having a little laugh over the call as if he planned on creating the contact just to show how easy it would be to get Ron in foul trouble. I’ve played with players that have a very annoying basketball personality and successfully kept my temper down. If I was Ron that most likely would have been a tipping point for me to at least verbally recieve a technical foul. Kudos to him to keep his composer when taunted by a man acting like a female dog.

  54. Entering the 2007 draft, Boston would have sold their soul to land Oden or Durant. In fact, one could argue that they did sell their soul by tanking, faking injuries, playing scrubs in crunch time, etc. When they landed the 5th pick, all was darkness until McHale saved them with the Garnett gift. Still, I wonder how many Boston fans would trade the 2008 title and Garnett era (which was successful but inherently short lived) if they could rewind the clock and go with the preferred plan at the time — Durant. A core of Durant, Rondo, Al Jefferson, Perkins, Pierce (or likely draft picks/prospects after a trade), Delonte West, Big Baby, and a few more draft picks from rebuilding years would all add up to quite a juggernaut right now going forward. With the right pieces in free agency, that team would contend for titles for 6-7 years.

    Yes, this is probably an unconscious attempt by me to undermine the value of their 2008 title. Of course, in reality the choice wasn’t Garnett/Allen or Durant/Jefferson. It was Green/Jefferson, which probably tips the scales to doing what they did.

  55. #55. exhelodrvr,
    Also, speaking in general about the C’s shooters getting wide open looks – I think a lot of it also has to do with Rondo’s style and the make up of their roster. What I mean is that Rondo *seeks out* the Celtics shooters on the secondary break. Pierce and Allen do a very good job of running to the 3 point line and Rondo does an excellent job of playing under control and not forcing the action to the rim unneccessarily. And when you combine this with the C’s bigs (Perkins and KG especially) running to the front of the rim on the secodary break, you get a situation where Pierce and Allen are sitting outside the arc while the defense is focussed on Rondo and collapsing to the paint to deny his penetration and the diving Bigs. This is the same way that Phoenix runs their secondary break with Nash (and also what the Lakers did a lot of in 2008 when we had reliable shooters in Sasha and RadMan – we racheted up the pace and played a lot of open court ball with Kobe/Fisher/Farmar/Odom bringing the ball up, Bynum running hard to the front of the rim, and Sasha/Rad running to the arc. The D collapsed paying attention to Kobe and Bynum and our shooters got a lot of wide open looks).

  56. Reed,

    This is a great question for Simmons. He’s always playing the what if game, and after yesterdays game, I wonder if he would actually take back that championship for the team you described above.

  57. Just thought I’d point out that the Lakers are currently #1 in Hollinger’s Power Rankings.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

  58. 48. Funny story.How great is Kevin Ding?
    “Artest struck the sort of wide-eyed, menacing pose very few non-institutionalized people can.”

  59. More than anything else this win made me happy because Bill Simmons hates his life

  60. 59 Zephid,

    Just thought I’d point out that maybe ten of us care. JK.

  61. I wonder if after yesterday’s game, Bill Simmons would still have Dirk take the last shot rather than Kobe, given the choice. (Yes, he really said this in his latest podcast with Adande)

  62. Kelly Dwyer is the best basketball writer on the planet.
    Check out his piece today:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Your-champs-in-your-eyes?urn=nba,216894#remaining-content

    The Celtics win was a great one not only because it was against the Celtics, but because this is team nearing the end of a seemingly endless road trip. I mean 7 road games in 11 days is exhausting. To be able to grit it out after such a rigorous trip against one of the best teams in the league was outstanding.

    That being said we still have the Grizz tonight and some tough games coming up before the All-Star break. We play Memphis, Charlotte, Denver, Portland, San Antonio, and Utah all in the next 9 days.

    Also, I propose that DJ be in at all times to protect Bynum tonight. I am legitimately frightened at the prospect of Bynum playing against the Grizzlies.

  63. Wow, indeed a great read, Bynumite. Thanks for posting the link.

  64. Id probably have Dirk take a last shot over Kobe too depending on who’s guarding them.

    If kobe is being defended by a player his height or shorter then Kobe, but if its someone taller I’d have Dirk.

  65. new post up, and Bynumite and I think alike because I link to that post.

  66. #41,

    This is what i wrote in post #18:
    ——–
    Huh, i wonder where all the bynum haters have gone? Oh where, oh where…have all the bynum haters gone? The guys who wanted to trade bynum for a bag of chips?

    Don’t worry, they will be back.
    ———————–

    I guess it didn’t take long for the Bynum haters to come back! I wrote that at 18, your post was at #41. That means it only took the amount of time of 23 posts for the Bynum haters to come back…told you so.

  67. Re: Gasol’s mid range game

    This is more important than people realize as Bynum continues to prove he is the Lakers best low post option. Pau has to get back to playing away from the basket… something he was much maligned for in the past in Memphis. He always, much like KG, seemed more comfortable floating away from the basket. To his credit he has forced himself to be more of a presence inside. Now however he is playing with a dominant inside force in Andrew Bynum and it would be better for he and the team to get back to his face up and perimeter game to open things up for the Lakers offense.

  68. @56 – Reed, the Celtics would have picked Oden over Durant and would have been overseeing the rehab workout for the injury prone center. Out of all the NBA champions in the past, the Celtics were the most arrogant, annoying team EVER. Their towel waving bench celebrations to McHale clotheslining Rambis are mere symbols of building bad karma for that team. There’s no way that Durant would have been on their team. No way.

    I see Celtics slowly descending into a mediocrity that they thoroughly enjoyed in the 90′s and the early 2000′s for another couple of decades. LOL!