Preview and Chat: The Boston Celtics

Darius Soriano —  February 10, 2011

Records: Lakers 36-16 (3rd in West), Celtics 38-13 (1st in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.4 (2nd in NBA), Celtics 107.7 (13th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.1 (11th in NBA), Celtics 100.1 (2nd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers:Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins
Injuries: Lakers: Matt Barnes & Theo Ratliff (out); Celtics: Marquise Daniels & Jermaine O’Neal (out), Shaquille O’Neal & Delonte West (doubtful), Semih Erden (questionable)

The Lakers Coming in: The first two games of the Grammy road trip have been wins and the Lakersseem to be finding their stride a bit. Surely the team could be playing better but I think we’re all happy with the wins just the same. At least, I am. I think Kobe said it best in a sit down with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski when he stated that patience is needed and that the regular season is a process where making progress towards the end goal is one of the major parts of any season. I know it’s easy to get frustrated with the up and down nature of a long season, but along those same lines I’m still of the mindset that I’d like the Lakers to be playing their best ball come May and June. If that means taking some lumps in December – February, I’ll livewith that if it helps prepare the team for the second season.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m anxious to start winning games against the cream of the crop teams in this league. I do believe that habits are formed in the regular season and I don’t think losing all of these games to the very best teams is a good one to allow to take hold. So, of course I’m looking for a win tonight as I’d love to get on track with some payback for the C’s win in Staples just 11 days ago.

The Celtics Coming in: Rather than give you my specific thoughts on where the Celtics are coming into this game, I had the chance to exchange emails with Ryan DeGama of Celtics Hub about the C’s in general and tonight’s game. He was gracious enough to answer my questions with some strong insight. Below is our brief Q & A:

Q: I see the recent loss of Marquis Daniels for up to 2 months as a real loss to the Celtics. He seemed to be the only viable backup at SF and also a guy that could take over ball handling duties as a SG when paired withNate Robinson. How do you envision the Celtics dealing with his absence? How will it affect Doc’s rotations against the Lakers in that there seems to be a lack of a secondary wing defender to put on Kobe?

A: The Celtics need to acquire another wing defender. Simple as that. Daniels has played well this season but his injury history has always suggested he would miss a long stretch of games. The nature of his current injury means that even if he returns to the lineup, he can’t be counted on to stay there.

Moreover, the lack of a big, tough wing defender off the bench is one of the Celtics’ less-publicized vulnerabilities. Paul Pierce struggled mightily to generate offense in the playoffs last year while covering Lebron James. Andthat was with Tony Allen to help him.

Until Danny Ainge can make a move, Doc Rivers will (yet again) patch together lineups filled with mixed parts. Expect long minutes for Ray Allen tonight on Kobe, and Pierce should get some time on him as well. Kobe may even see a little bit of Von Wafer; C’s fans have been clamoring for him to get extended minutes and this might be his chance.

Q: In the past few games that I’ve seen, I’ve noticed a more aggressive Rajon Rondo. He seems to be looking for his own shot more, thus impacting the game as a scorer as well as with his ability distribute and set up his teammates. Have my eyes been deceiving me? Do you think this will last and should the Lakersbe concerned with him actively looking for his own shot more?

A: As you know, Rondo creates rotational havoc for defenses when he breaks them down off the dribble. He also has the passing skills to take advantage of open men as he barrels down the lane. Doc wants him to take full advantage of those skills, having recently challenged Rondo to get to the line ten times a game. He’s been more aggressive recently as a result, but with so many offensive weapons on this Celtics team, there will continue to be nights where Rondo doesn’t call his own number as much as you have observed lately. If the C’s are scoring, that’s not really a problem.

Q: Out of all the Celtics, who do you think is most important to the team’s success versus the Lakers?

A: It’s probably Rondo, in that the Lakers defensive schemes have frustrated him in the past, but we’vetalked enough about him so I’ll suggest Paul Pierce instead. He’s got major responsibilities on both sides of the ball against L.A.

On the offensive side, Pierce needs to generate scores like he did in the 2008 finals, both in the flow of the offense, and by breaking down his defender to get to his favorite spots on the floor for good looks. The Celtics don’t actively look for ISOs but Pierce is still their best option when the shot clock is winding down and somebody needs to make something out of nothing.

On the defensive side, Ray Allen does a credible job covering Kobe but it’s Pierce that has stepped up and bothered him the most for key stretches the last few years.The C’s are going to need that from their captain if these two teams line up against each other in June.

Celtics Blogs: Obviously, Celtics Hub is a great place to get strong insight and analysis on the C’s. Also be sure to check out the fine work at Celtics Blog, one of the long tenured hoops sites that continues to churn out high quality work. UPDATE: As part of my email exchange with Ryan at Celtics Hub, I also answered some questions of his on the state of the Lakers. You can read them here.

Keys to game: We all know the drill by now when it comes to match ups with the Celtics. They’ll play a smothering style of defense that wants to limit penetration by cutting off dribble penetration and passing lanes to the middle while also encouraging isolation play by ball handlers on the perimeter. Boston feasts on wing players that try to attack from outside the three point line and play a version of a strong side zone with some of the best help and recovery you’ll see in the league.

In order to beat that type of defensive approach the Lakers need to get back to basics on offense. That means three simple principles. First is entering the ball into the post. Whether on the strong or weak side of the Triangle, the Lakers must find a way to get their post players touches. As I mentioned, the C’s want offenses to base their attack from perimeter so even a simple post entry starts to force them into help positions where the defense shifts towards the ball. Second, the Lakers need to cut and screen with purpose. Boston is a ball conscious team. They consistently want to harass and swarm ball handlers (especially Kobe) and the way to beat that type of aggression is to move well off the ball by cutting into open space and screening for teamamtes to do the same. I’d like to see as little standing around as possible and have the Lakers offensive players moving in unison off the ball to free themselves up. Hopefully their extended film session yesterday encourages this. Third, the Lakers need to be decisive. Attack quickly and trust that everyone will be where they’re supposed to on offense. Shoot when open and crash the offensive glass hard. If the Lakers do these three things they’ll score enough points.

That brings us to the other side of the ball. Defensively, the Lakers must find a way to disrupt the screen game that the C’s base their offense around. Obviously Boston has great individual pieces, but their goal isn’t an isolation play for Pierce or Allen or KG, it’s to set a multitude of screens for Allen or Pierce and then move well off those actions to create multiple openings for Rondo to choose from. That means the Lakers are going to need to communicate on defense, fight hard through screens, while also showing big man help on these actions to delay Rondo’s passes to curling/fading teammates coming off those picks. And please, for goodness sakes, play the screens straight up and do not try to shoot the gap on Ray Allen coming off the baseline picks the C’s run on nearly every possession (I’m looking at you Shannon, and you too, Kobe). There’s a reason that Ray Allen is set to break the all-time 3 point makes record. He’s not only a tremendous shooter, but he knows how to move off the ball and read how a defense is playing him coming off picks. Too often the Lakers try to shoot the gap on a pick and Ray simply fades off the screen to get himself open. Make him come off the pick into a curl and into the big man help.

Two other keys to this game will be rebounding and turnovers. Boston, for all their size and “toughness” aren’t a great rebounding team. As our friends at HoopData tell us, Boston is ranked only 18th in total rebound rate this year. Meanwhile the Lakers are 3rd in total rebound rate and 5thin offensive rebound rate. As we saw in last year’s Finals, the team that wins the battle of boards in this match up wins the game. That trend held up in the game 11 days ago too. So, the Lakers need to control the glass. As for turnovers, Boston has the 4th highest turnover rate in the league. They will cough up the ball with careless passes and Rondo will try to make the spectacular pass in order to pad his assist totals. The Lakers must take advantage of the C’s mishaps while also limiting their own turnovers as allowing the C’s to get out in transition is a bad idea.

Speaking of transition, the Lakers must know who they’re playing tonight. When the opening is there, Rondo loves to push the ball in order to collapse the D and then kick the ball back out to trailing shooters that get to step into their three point attempts. Both Allen and Pierce thrive in these situations so the Lakers must get back on D but mark Boston’s shooters and run them off the line in transition. The last thing the Lakers want is a cheering Boston crowd celebrating a wide open three that just got knocked down.

In the end, I could write 500 more words on keys to this game but I’ll spare you more words about foul trouble, bench play, and coaching adjustments. We all know what this game means and what it takes to beat the Celtics. Beyond the X’s and O’s and the individual match ups, this game will come down to poise, execution, and toughness (both mental and physical). The team that shows more of these qualities for longer in the game will likely be ahead when the final buzzer sounds. Here’s to it being the Lakers. Let’s get this win.

Where you can watch: 5:00pm start time out West on TNT. Also listen live on ESPN Radi on 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

208 responses to Preview and Chat: The Boston Celtics

  1. nice preview. it’s always a big game, but I imagine there will be extra attention on ron artest and bynum. but i’ll be watching pau.

  2. NBA teams should give Darius an assistant job because of his knowledge in basketball. Before game 1 against Boston last season in NBA Finals, Darius wrote an excellent article with suggestion that Kobe should guard Rondo. Kobe did that.
    Yesterday, John Ireland asked Kobe one question on ESPN radio 710AM,”who is the best team you play against this year ?”, Kobe answered that is Boston, they have speed, length,toughness,execution well. So tonight is the big game for Lakers, do Lakers improve better or they still are the same team 2 weeks ago when they lost to Boston in LA ? I think Lakers will play better tonight, they have to prove to themselves that they can play with hungry, toughness at championship level.

  3. Nothing more need be said really. Lets beat these Celtics!

    But on a totally unrelated matter, I just want to say that if Jerry Sloan resigns (and isn’t retiring) from the Jazz and Phil is really hanging it up for good, I hope we land him as our next coach.

  4. Sad to see Jerry Sloan go, guy was an incredible coach who probably would have several titles if it weren’t for a guy named Jordan. He will be missed in Utah and the NBA.

    On another note, I would LOVE to see the Lakers prevent Ray from breaking the 3 pt record tonight against them. Here’s hoping for a great game, if the Lakers lose but keep it close in the most hostile atmosphere in the league I will be happy. If they win the game I will be ecstatic.

  5. If the Lakers are going to win tonight it is going to be with incredible defense. Boston is the one team that consistently gives us hell on offense and with all the isolation and standing around our offense does against other teams, I got no reason to believe it is going to change tonight. Hard nose shut them down defense is the only way the Lakers are winning tonight.

  6. Darius,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. One of the most frustrating defensive mistakes is going under a screen on a great shooter like Ray Allen. Shannon, Kobe, and the rest are the usual offenders. I wish the rest of the team would realize the effort Fisher exerts to fight through screens and stay on his defender.

    Another solution would be for the screener’s defender to be aware of this play and shoot the gap. Also having the final post defender aware of the interior pass that should be made. The expanding and contracting of the defense is something the great teams do, and tonight will be a great litmus test for the defense.

    The other thing that bothers me when the Lakers play is to set a hard screen and to give a hard foul. I’m looking for Artest and Bynum to make an impact in the paint and put someone to the floor, cleanly but with intent.

    Can’t wait to see the game.

  7. Great line from the Wojo article:

    “If somebody had their life on the line, and they’ve got their options on who they want to save their life – tell me who you’re going to pick?” Bryant asked. “You’re going to look at the stats first?”

    Lookin at you Abbot!!!

  8. Anyone have a theory on how Ray has regained his shot consistency? He sure looked liked an aging shooter in decline last year. He would have the occasional great game but a lot of mediocre and poor games. He’s shooting it consistently well this year almost like he’s in his prime.

  9. Chownoir,

    There was a great article by Jackie Macmullan today talking about Ray’s ascent to the top. Towards the end it addressed how Doc Rivers made it a point to not overwork Allen and distribute shots to the open man, not Allen. Allen didn’t like it at first and fought it. But after a few years in their system it’s bringing out the most efficient Allen in years. The Celtics all know when Allen is open get him the ball. Hence better production.

    Here you go:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nba/columns/story?columnist=macmullan_jackie&id=6106450

  10. As part of my email exchange with Ryan, I also answered some questions of his on the state of the Lakers. You can read them here.

  11. WHile the Jazz aren’t paying attention, can we trade Artest + Walton for Deron Williams?

  12. One thing that I’m going to keep my eye on tonight is the positioning of our Bigs on offense. I feel that will be the key to the game. Will Pau and Drew establish and maintain their position on the low block or will they allow Perk, KG and Baby to push them 15 ft away from the basket. I’ve read the quotes from Pau about having to be tougher and definitely more physical than Boston in order to prevail against them. Well, like the saying goes, Action speaks Louder than Words and tonight, they’ll have the opportunity to take action.

  13. And this is for Warren! :)

  14. Mimsy,
    Better late than never.

    If we win, will we start a new thing — 13th comment to Warren?

  15. Does anyone have an active link for the game? I know I will be stuck in my office. :(

  16. The Lakers will come out focused and the C’s will fall in their house tonight. Thanks Mimsy, everything about now that can help the Lakers win should be done by everyone.

    GO LAKERS!

  17. Damn it the TNT online feed isn’t working for me, it’s showing up blank. I can’t miss this game!!

    Edit: nvm, found a link.

  18. So far so good. Both teams playing well. Andrew very active so far, Kobe getting everyone involved. Dont like those retro gold home unis in boston tho!

  19. Working link for all my Lakers fans out there.

    http://www.stopstream.com/ch1.html

    HOW THE HELL WAS THAT A CHARGE ON BYNUM?!

  20. Shannon Brown’s handle is so loose. I hate seeing him bring the ball up on the break.

  21. now i remember why shannon aint a point guard

  22. Lots of breakdowns defensively already

  23. Celtics hatred runs so deep. I just want to cream them tonight so that the memory of Ray Allen’s “record” performance is tainted for him.

  24. Congratulations to Ray Allen. It looked like Kobe was trying to give him that open shot, and congratulated ray afterward. He knows that the record means a lot more than this game.

  25. Well, it was bound to happen tonight, so I could care less anyway.

  26. Laker sub guards stinking it up…Blake still cn’t bury a three when we need one, and has been unable to cover rondo; while shamwow has two bad turnovers.

  27. #26…the record means more than this game?
    say what???? to who? this is as big a regular season game as there is

  28. blake is baaaad….in a bad way. its not like the lakers didnt have plenty of rest and
    time to prepare for this

  29. Why did we have to sign Blake? Isint he like just as unathletic as fisher ?

  30. I’m tired of watching this game already. The refs are completely biased towards the Celtics. Lakers are getting called for ticky-tack fouls on every play, while the Celtics can maul every Laker without any whistles. I wouldn’t blame the team if they just walked off the court and didn’t return. The officiating is that sh***y.

  31. Why is this a big regular season game?

  32. Much respect to Ray ‘Jesus Shuttlesworth’ Allen. Just goes to show what can be accomplished through Hard Work. Congrats.

  33. I don’t know what kind of voodoo Fisher has, but any PG we deem his “heir” or “replacement” never reaches expectations. Blake used to be an effective player. Now he looks so lost.

    Also, we do still run an offensive system, don’t we?

    For those who want to trade Drew, look how are interior D is being carved up right now. It’s just stanky. If the trade goes through, get ready for a lot of isolation offense and stanky D.

  34. Celtics are shooting over 58 percent compared to the Lakers 42 percent. Lakers are not winning this game tonight unless they up the defense

  35. 32 sick of watching too but laskers aren’t helping themselves either with poor perimeter defense

  36. This game is getting away from LA early.

    Officiating is pretty inconsistent so far, but that isn’t why the Lakers are losing. They are being outplayed.

  37. #33..ask the lakers if this is a big game or not?

  38. The Lakers need someone who can create offense besides Kobe.

    Congrats to Lamar for blocking Glen Davis for the first time in his career

  39. the celtics are getting any shot they want. our defense is horrendous.

    and can someone tell me what kind of offense lamar odom is playing tonight? it reminds me aggressively awful ron artest

  40. Ron Artest, for all his strength and whatever, gets stuffed like a bitch by Von Wafer.

  41. time for mamba mode i think

  42. The Lakers HAVE to close this lead, because when my Celtics fan roommate comes home and sees the score, I will be hearing about it until the game is over. This game is not very much fun for me anymore, the way it is being played out.

  43. Finish out the half Kobe.

  44. #40…yes…ron ron’s offensive skills have so seriously eroded from even last year

  45. Phil goes to the bench for his ace . . . . Luke Walton

  46. Uh ohhh…Luuuuukeee! (i’m being sarcastic)

  47. Gasol needs to show up if the Lakers are going to win. He is the key to this game for the Lakers.

    And so far…..

  48. I love how Gasol is continually getting outjumped for rebounds by guards.

  49. luke walton is playing….so much for the smaller rotation

  50. Are we really this bad of a 3-point shooting team or does it just seem awful next to Allen’s night?

    All I want this offseason is a sharpshooter.

  51. this is when 15 becomes 18 becomes 21 and so on…

  52. LOL, this game is getting hilarious. 3 seconds? More like 1 second.

  53. I am having more fun reading the comments you guys are writing than following the game. “Phil goes to the bench for his ace . . . . Luke Walton” LOL

  54. can we get wafer back?

  55. Reggie’s laying on the man-love a little thick. Which is actually less annoying than what he normally says on the air.

  56. Lol “stuffed like a bitch” – you sound upset Zephid;)

    The whole game has sort of a bleh-feeling to it so far…

  57. A ShanWOW dunk, that made me happy.

  58. I know bynum is playing well but if this continues don’t we have to make a change?

  59. Gasol and Bynum by the Numbers have actually been good. No one else has done anything at all

  60. bynum has come to play…lets not diss him…
    shamwow is funny…imagine he would have blown that one…kid has guts

  61. It looks like Lamar and Artest have determined they should drive into the defense. Don’t these guys ever listen to their coaches? That is the Celtics strength. No movement and ISO play – just great.

    Also, thanks for the great dribbling Shannon.

  62. Kobe has taken 2 shots. It seems like he’s trying to gauge whether his teammates are up to this test…And they’re failing. Maybe this current roster just can’t cut it like it used to. Time to make a change? Yes, please.

  63. The best plus/minus right now for the Lakers is a +1.

    Luke Walton.

  64. 61. kobe is doing a fine job of setting people up but i reckon he has about 5 unfinished assists

  65. 58, indeed, I’m so bitter watching this game. Crappy refereeing + Lakers playing like crap on both sides of the ball = bitter.

  66. 64, it may be time for a change, by Bynum has easily been the best Laker tonight. Not saying much, but we can’t give up Bynum. If we run into Boston in the Finals, we are eff’d without him.

  67. Can we get Sasha back? Apparently he can shoot. Who knew?

  68. We’re starting to show better ball movement. It’s the only way a team can beat the strong side zone that Boson runs. We need quick passing and off ball movement and we will have a chance…also anybody else seeing a more focused Bynum? Perhaps looking the best all around I’ve seen this year. I wonder why…

  69. The refs will only give a team calls on the road if they play like they’ve been playing the last 3-4 mins..

  70. 68, Sasha was never the same since Phil put him in the doghouse

  71. if perkins isent called for at least 1 3 second call i will be outraged

  72. just when we were reaching for the razors….

  73. Kobe is over passing a bit…. a lot of the passes have led to the reciever hesitating at the 3 pt line b/c they weren’t quite open.

    The doubles havent been strong enough that kobe needs to pass

  74. The first 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter will either make us or break us.

  75. the way this was looking…i guess 8 points is at least in the hunt…lakers get the ball out to start the third quarter.

    artest, blake, odom, fisher pretty much sucked all game…ron plays like he’s 57 years old now

  76. sasha had such a simple role…make threes and he couldn’t do it after 08…he could have been here for years

  77. Rajon Rondo has been great so far. 8 assists with no turnovers

    Editor’s Note: Seriously considered deleting this one

  78. Well, not as bad at the half as it was looking, but if I think back to Andrew’s 3 second violation – it really seemed to stop the momentum that was building.

    Need to see a sharp start to the 2nd half. Some executed offense, and Kobe making some shots to open up the floor even more.

    Fingers crossed.

  79. Phil made a comment last year about Artests Chinese-endorsed sneakers..something along the lines of “it looks like there’s cement in his shoes when he’s playing”. It was classic Phil, funny and true. Unfortunately he’s even worse this year! Between him and Blake I don’t know who’s worse. Barnes comin back will be a big boost, anybody know his status? He’s the kind of energy guy that we need to go w shanWow off the bench

  80. Closed the quarter out well. Down only 8, but it feels like we’re down by more …. Pretty sure the C’s feel they should be leading by much more …. Kobe doing an excellent job of facilitating …. If we can keep this close going into the 4th, I see us pulling this out

    On another note, startin’ to get tired of Barkley hatin’ on Kobe. All that talk ’bout “he’s slowed down a lot” and hollering “flashback” everytime he dunks is Real Lame.

  81. Whoa cool an entire italicized comment, title an everything. Zephid broke the site.

    For anyone who wants something to do during halftime: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9tvpiJkBgA

    That is easily the funniest player in the NBA already, rivaled only by Steve Nash.

  82. Didn’t they call three seconds on Drew a few seconds after Kobe brought the ball past halfcourt, drove into the lane, and threw a pass that Pau fumbled? And they called it as the ball was loose?

  83. Mamula, actually, Rondo missed a couple of wide open shots that helped fuel the Laker run. Kobe just laid off of him.

  84. 83, rofl. Goes to show that one / makes all the difference.

  85. Mamula, I happen to think Rondo has the easiest job in the league PG wise

  86. Amazing foul call on Pau there. Could have called either a walk or a foul or 3 secs on Perk

  87. How many violations did Perkins commit on that play? Sheesh.

  88. atrocious call against pau

  89. ok now the refs are getting to me

  90. Artest and Odom with +- of -10, -9 respectively.

  91. Ok, these refs are now officially starting to amaze me..

  92. When the refs call tech’s on players that nobody on the quart (either team) understands they should have to explain themselves to the media after the game just like the players do.

  93. Inconsistent officiating is right…Ray’s 4th foul was imaginary

  94. Sweet, Ray Allen to the bench. Wafer on Kobe is a slight edge to the Lakers IMO.

    94

    That T was pretty clear actually. Kobe said ‘that’s bulls__t’ twice (although he was correct).

  95. Damn…watching the commercials and I guess Nic Cage really is bankrupt.

  96. Typical Lakers fan response = “We are losing – blame it on the refs” Nevermind the fact they have no idea how to play the game of basketball. They are the most underachieving team in the NBA this year for sure.

  97. Kobe’s tech was for saying thats a bullsh** call 2wice. Can’t do that no more…

  98. Regular season.

    The difference, to me, between the Lakers and everyone else is simple. When other teams are doing well against the Lakers I always feel it is a simple lack of focus, hustle, or effort on the part of the Lakers. When we do well against other teams, I don’t think they are playing badly, I simply think they don’t have the talent level to keep up.

  99. Pathetic officiating sequence
    Perkins in the lane for a month and double dribbles, they get an and one

    Kobe then called for travelling and a ridiculous technical

    Really proud of the way they’re fighting tonight

  100. Wow, 3ThreeIII, sadly enough, I feel exactly the same way.

  101. Great urgency to start the half and great resolve to absorb the Celtics/Officials run…..

    They are playing with poise and urgency…..really like Mamba’s swat on Rondo…..

  102. Mace, to be fair, a lot of fans do the blame the ref routine when their team is losing. Laker fans aren’t special that way.

    As to you your other point, I think you picked the word I have been looking for most of the season – underachieving. I just can’t figure out why.

  103. 3ThreeIII – I was talking to someone about this the other day. I think we all do it to a degree. The expectation is so high that when LA wins, we think “that’s how it should be, we should play like that every night”. But fans of the other team are probably bemoaning the same lack of focus for THEIR team that we often attribute to ours.

    The life of the fan.

  104. Wow, what a game. I lost my feed. Do you have one?

  105. Seriously though, has there ever been a multiple-championship team that’s been so frustrating to watch as the Lakers?

  106. 98…most underachieving team in the league? For sure? You are a trolling joke. Do they not have the 4th or 5t best record in the league after three straight 100+ game seasons? Their record is almost identical to that of the last three 2-time defending champs up to this point. It’s just the way it is when youve got that target on your back. What do you expect? For them to steamroll the whole league after three straight deep playoff runs? When they’re getting every opponents best effort? When you are an older team w almost all veterans? This ain’t NBA 2k11, brother. Give. Me. A. Break.

  107. Pau Gasol ends up on the floor, Rondo grabs the rebound. Why does this seem to happen every time we play Boston. Stop being a bitch Pau and grab the damn ball.

  108. That Landry Fields video is priceless. Scroll up for the YouTube link.

  109. kobe please box out rondo

  110. Lamar just never really plays that well against the Celtics, it’s kind of a bad matchup team for him

  111. Wrong bald dude gasol

  112. Pau checks for blood! Drink!

  113. This is not how I wanted the Lakers to get physical. Hope LO and PG are ok.

  114. Let’s be honest Dr. Gasol should just go over and stitch that up himself, with his intellect and interest in the medical field it’s not even a challenge to him.

  115. This officiating is completely garbage.

  116. Hey now Zephid – calling Ron a bitch is one thing, but Pau is off limits!

    ;)

  117. This is my point. http://www.teamrankings.com/nba/ranking/strength-of-schedule-by-team Lakers should have a better record considering the schedule they’ve played thus far. I don’t even have to tell you their record vs. teams above .500 or about the losses at home to crappy teams. They are gonna be in serious trouble if they don’t have home court.

  118. Epic flop by Rondo. Epic. And of course the officials fall for it. Because they’re f***ing terrible.

  119. Just overheard “No means no, Kobe” behind the announcers. You stay classy, Boston.

  120. That collage they just showed – it made me realize that Shaq was never part of this rivalry between the C-words and Lakers until he decided to wear green. Boooooo Shaq.

  121. scary there for lamar…he will be ok khloe….kobe two turnovers at the end…

    rondo is having a nightmare shooting…lakers showing him no respect..lets get this game

  122. 118, I am an equal opportunity hater.

  123. 108, I don’t think it is that the Lakers are underachieving as much as other teams have just caught up a bit.

  124. Zephid, How about the travel on the previous play? Jumpstop reverse pivot explain that one to me?

  125. Nice third quarter by the Lakers. Finish strong and beat the Boston Celtics

  126. Zephid, are you wearing purple and yellow war paint at home? This is the most intense I’ve seen you since I’ve been coming to this site

  127. Zephid definitely seems juiced, and I am enjoying the intensity!

  128. I too love this angry Zephid:D

    Right now I’d also like to see Bynum knock Perkins to the floor.

  129. Lakers need to play through…the start of the 4th is as crucial as the start of the 3rd….

  130. blake is having a nice fourth quarter…

  131. Bynum is taking to long to make decisions when he catches the ball.

  132. they ran two straight excellent back door lob ins…then three straight end of the shot clock attempts…tgis unit is pooped…kobe and pau time…winning time

  133. Um, why did the Lakers stop attacking the basket? Do they actively want to lose this game? Take it to the C’s faces.

  134. Zephid: Because they are a bunch of bitches no doubt?

    Ok, I’ll stop now;)

  135. AWFUL TIME FOR A PHIL COMA

    PUT KOBE AND PAU IN NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE BENCH HAS DONE ALL THEY CAN BE ASKED TO DO

  136. I’m a broken record here, game after game, but the offensive rebounds we’re giving up are killing me.

  137. Kobe has been masterful tonight

    Someone tell me why we have Bynum if we aren’t gonna use him in crunch time, Phil’s rotations really confuse me at times?

  138. Kobe doing work

  139. i love underachievers!!!!!!!!! lets underachieve all the way to #17 and tie the celtics

  140. 136, damn straight, but don’t forget, there’s one Laker that will never, ever, be a bitch: Kobe Bryant. To quote Lakers8884, he has been masterful at attacking the basket taking it right to the C’s.

  141. Kobe is packing a bowl of “shut the f up Abbot” and smoking it in the Celtics’ faces..

  142. boston is pooped….just like game 7….expect the heat in the finals…these guys are old (yes i know they are depleted tonite–hope nate robinson is out for the year)

  143. Lakers8884, Cause he just was in for a long stretch and he’s sucking wind and can’t get up the floor

  144. what a horrible pass by fisher only to be out done by an even worse pass by pierce

  145. Anon, but that’s my point why did Phil leave him in for so long. He always closes with Lamar but eventually Bynum needs to play crunch time.

    I really believe Rondo is an average PG, who just happens to be an exceptional athlete with great court vision, playing with 3 Future Hall of Fame players

  146. I agree with that, thought you were just referring to this game specifically

  147. That’s a wrap folks. Both teams played hard. God bless and good night.

  148. Ownage!

  149. please, phil handled everything brilliantly….blake and shamwow gained some big game confidence tonite in the fourth..bynum…best game all year…

    pierce blew it with that bad pass to rondo on the breakaway

  150. That last move is exactly the reason why Kobe asks if you would trust stats if your life was on the line;)

  151. Kobe shook his head at Ray Allen, and then abused him.

    I almost felt bad for Ray… Almost.

  152. This game’s in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jigglin’!

  153. No not just for this game, same thing with the Spurs game the other night, playing in crunch time will only help Bynum.

  154. You think these two teams hate each other? Those last 20 seconds say it all! Helluva win LA…true statement win

  155. I’ll take that win. Solid stuff. Good road trip thus far, and now we hope there’s no letdown post-Boston.

    Good work to all.

    And maybe we need Zephid to bring the anger for all the big games…

  156. LO absolute f****** nails in the 4th.

    The baseline strip/tip toe steal of Garnett

    and the outhustling of Garnett to that offensive board setting up Mamba’s tooling/schooling of Ray Ray.

  157. Good win, hope to see both teams healthy (no excuses either side) and in the Finals for another classic series.

  158. Btw, that was a bad boston garden crowd. once the ray allen thing happened they quieted down.

    i will be going to see the game tomorrow night at MSG…hope they bring some energy…knicks have lost all these kind of big games all year except for beating the spurs

  159. I believe LO should close out games over Bynum since he is a better player both offensively and defensively. Also LO doesn’t mind coming off the bench because he’s usually the one to finish the game. When Bynum becomes a better player overall than LO or if LO is struggling, then he should close out the game. This is a luxury that only the Lakers have. We should be thankful for that.

    What a great win for the Lakers! It’s not a must win situation but it sure is nice to beat the Celtics on Allen’s record setting night.

    Only record that should matter is the total number of titles held by Cs that will soon be ours. Go Lakers!

  160. I really hope this game will be a microcosm of the season. The Lakers started out playing like complete crap, got down big, but rallied late in the 2nd quarter, extended the lead in the 3rd, the closed out hard in the 4th.

    In other news, man I had a lot of pent up rage. I don’t think I could’ve handled another bad loss. Now we can put off panic mode until the Lakers lose another 3-4 games in a row.

    I’m also loving the fact that the Laker defense seems to have returned. While we were getting stomped in the early 2nd quarter, we really turned it up in the 2nd half and held the C’s to something like 26% shooting.

    Amazing game by Kobe, really controlled the tempo of the game and took over when it mattered. Bynum really controlled the paint and had a lot of nice post moves, he just needs to work on his conditioning. Gasol I feel had an average game; he got a lot of his points created for him by Kobe, but he still got 10 boards and 4 assists, so overall not bad.

  161. Good win.

    I hope Henry Abbott enjoyed the bucket off the iso at 90-84 and the feed to Pau late.

  162. Pb, I agree with everything you are saying I would rather have Lamar close, I am just saying Phil has to give it a try sometime just to see the result.

    On another note I CANNOT WAIT for the double header sunday on ABC. Great games on the schedule

  163. Great, great win, the Lakers took out the C’s, in their house. I am very happy now.

  164. That last bad pass by Pierce really tied the game together.

  165. Dude Abides – Beautifully put.

  166. Zephid, these Lakers Celtics game always have a very familiar tempo. One team will go up by 10+ points, only to have the other team come back strong and finish the game and usually win it. (The lone exception being the a$$kicking of game 6). And also the Celtics are usually the ones giving up the leads the majority of the time, just like Phil says the C’s know how to lose games in the 4th (but the Lakers have done it too)

  167. This was only one game people. Not a big deal. And yes… Against the Celtics Bynum is a must. But as I’ve said said since the start of the year… The team we will be playing in the Finals is the Heat.

  168. I said it before the game. The Lakers were going to have to bring awesome defense to win this game, and that is exactly what they did in the 2nd half. FINALLY a win against a TOP team. I waited all friggen season for this…now lets please not screw up this road trip!

  169. Who says Bynum will be traded for Melo???

    Melo who??

  170. Aaron, for once I will agree with you about one thing (probably won’t happen again). While I don’t know if we’ll play Miami in the finals because I think the Celtics are a better overall team, the Lakers defensively would have a harder time defending the Heat.

    Rondo really is no threat to the Lakers and it enables Kobe to roam and help on other players. I’ve always said the Celtics would be unstoppable if they had a guard who can shoot and pass (Steve Nash for example)

  171. Before we all jump on the Bynum bandwagon, lets just know the Celts did not have Shaq. Yes Bynum stepped it up, I am giving him that. But again, no Shaq for the Celts. And as old as he is, I rather be defended by Perkins

  172. Aaron @ 170 – C’s or Heat, Bynum is vital.

    It’s not like Illgaskus (sic) will be able to handle Drew. “Are you kidding me?”

    However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the Lakers still need to solve the Spurs …

    Oh, and … yes, it is a big deal.

  173. Winning in each other’s houses, this is what rivalry is about. What a way to bring the fans into the rivalry!

  174. Joe @ 173 – Yes, true, injuries are part of the game. Funny, that.

  175. 170….actually, this win IS a big deal. All things considered, this is probably the biggest regular season win in recent memory. In a situation where the team’s management is considering whether or not we have the roster to make a title run, or if a trade is necessary, it was pretty much declared that the next 4 road games would be a litmus test for the Lakers. So what did they do? They shut down the Celtics at their house in the second half, leading to a convincing and collective victory. Bynum played his best game of the season, focused and dialed in. As someone mentioned, Blake and Brown gained 4th quarter confidence w/ big plays. Odom showed intangibles, and the Mamba closed it out, like we all have grown to expect. Things worked out right for once and it must feel very nice in that locker room. The Celtics showed up, and they got their butts kicked. If Boston comes back and wins, there would be TONS of questions all over the internet and ESPN tomorrow about how they HAVE to make the deal. Now? Nope. “Lakers showed their championship mettle”….”their size advantage is something they have to keep”…etc etc. This was a huge win, plain and simple. Now it’s up to them to build on this three game winning streak, which I have confidence they will do…

  176. 174,
    Even if Bynum gets to full strength by the Finals he doesn’t get the ball enough to make a big offensive difference against the Heat. What he does do is enable Gasol to play his natural position of PF. Of course that enables the Lakers to not get pushed around by teams like the Celtics and Nuggets.

  177. Aaron @ 179 – … or the mighty Heat!

  178. I think we found the missing ingredient tonight. The Warren mojo hasn’t worked this season at all, we needed something new.

    The first night Zephid brings stark rage to the table? We get our first “signature win” of the season (whatever that means).

    We know what it takes to win now. Zephid, you know your responsibility. Become our Kevin Garnett.

  179. Can i suggest a title for the post game thread?

    Lakers put heads together: Win in Boston

  180. Sedale, well played sir!

  181. 180,
    The Heat don’t push people around. They are a great team… The best in the NBA… But they don’t push pele around under the basket. Bynum if at full strength could capitalize in the lack of quality Centers… But like I said…. The Lakers (especially in big games) don’t throw the all into the post. Bynum and when KG was on him, Gasol had a big advantage and the Lakers as always didn’t wanna make things easy.

  182. Aaron…last year I’m pretty sure you said that Cleveland was the best team, and that the Lakers were in trouble if they faced them in the finals….hmm, how’d that one go again? It’s foolish to speak like you know what the future will bring..at least put an “I think” or “IMO” out there every once in a while, your thoughts will be more respected.

  183. Well, I’d think it’s safe to say that we’ll meet the Heat in the finals, as it’s a safe bet that it’s either them or the Celtics the way Magic is playing. So 50% chance of a lifetime’s worth of ‘I told you so’s are worth the risk especially if you can conveniently forget past failures.

  184. This game felt weird. The C’s weren’t there tonight, not into it. Very strange feel. They are a MUCH better team than they showed tonight. Tonight was an aberration. They will be in the finals again this year, and hopefully they’ll be playing against our Lakers.

    Also, all the purple & gold fans saying Rondo isn’t good.. wow. The kid may be a rival, but let’s not allow that fact to dismiss his talents. That’s just silly talk.

  185. Igor, I don’t think people are saying Rondo isn’t good, it’s just that his one glaring weakness (no outside shot) lets the Lakers cover up Fisher’s weakness on D (staying with quick PGs) and lets both Kobe (roaming, playing passing lanes) and Fish (chasing SGs through screens) play to their strengths.

  186. 185,
    Haha… Try again… I was one of the only people here saying the Lakers would win the championship even if relatively healthy because they had the most talent and matched up with the contenders the best. While the Lakers struggled during the season I was steadfast in believing the Lakers would win the title. This year even though the Lakers have struggled I still think they will beat any team in a 7 game series besides the Heat… And have said so since before the season began.

  187. 189, perhaps that was the case, but you still were on the Cavs coming out of the east, right? and this year you’re convinced it’s the Heat? Well I’m not so convinced on Miami. I liked Boston to upset Cleveland last year and to lose to us in the finals. I like them to do the same thing this year (obv Miami instead of Cle). This year though, I think the finals will be an even bigger toss-up and might come down to HCA between LA and Boston. Boston has a TEAM, 1-12, when healthy. If they can get to the playoffs with their full roster, I just think that defense will create too many problems for a rather stagnant Miami offense. They still don’t know what to do at the end of games offensively, and isolations tend to develop, which is exactly what Boston’s D wants (see Bos/LA at LA last week). Also, come playoff time the game slows down and the court shrinks. This again gives Boston a big advantage. Give Miami one off-season to go get an impact center, and then we can talk, but right now they’re a piece or two short “IMO”…then again, a healthy Haslem could be the difference, who knows. That’s why they play the games

  188. Igor Avidon, I will say it a thousand times. Rondo is OVERRATED.

    I can tell you more than anyone on here can about Rondo, I played against him in high school, I watched him play at the University of Kentucky, and I have followed him every game of his NBA career (I especially have to hear it having all my friends being so in love with him being from UK even though he could care less about his alma mater unlike John Wall).

    Rondo has never been and *probably* will never be a good shooter. His hands are the size of a player who should be 7’6 (they have approximated). The kid however always has been an exceptionally gifted athlete, almost freakish for his size. With all that being said he has very little ball skills other than his dribbling and passing abilities. The other parts of his game that he is good at can be attributed to his athleticism (his ability to finish around the rim and play exceptional defense). He is one of the worst FT shooting guards I have ever seen and his jumpshot is not much better. He has been blessed to play on a team with 3 future Hall of Famers. How hard is your job if the offense is designed for you to come down the floor and throw the ball to a curling Ray Allen, a posted up KG or an elbow jumper machine in Paul Pierce. I watch them play all the time and 3/4 of his passes are passes just like that. The other 1/4 are incredible passes, but like I said earlier he has great passing skills. He is a liability against the Lakers because he is no threat on offense (if you lay off 5 feet from him) and quite frankly his defense isn’t always spectacular either (ahem Fisher game 3 last year’s finals). That offense would be unstoppable if they had a PG to kick the ball out to for 3 point shots, because many many times he ends up needing to be a pressure release but unfortunately he is unable to consistently knock down jumpers. The 2008 Finals demonstrate just how devastating a guard like that could be for Boston when Sam Cassel played.

    It’s no secret that Team USA didn’t select him to the team this past summer due to his inability to shoot jumpers, (they even chose Westbrook who is an average shooter at best). Anyways I could go into far more detail about this, I’m just so beyond tired of hearing how incredible the guy is due to hearing it on a daily basis (tons of Celtics bandwagon fans in Kentucky). Rondo never did anything exceptional at UK (other than defensively) and he never did as a rookie in Boston either, wasn’t until the big three got there.

  189. I mean Rondo has been vastly overrated. Bill Simmons claims the Celtics would say no to a Rondo for CP3 or Dwill trade straight up, which is actually what Boston fans believe. That’s insane. DWill and Cp3 are just as good at all the things Rondo is known for, but better at everything else as well. People are acting like he’s a top 20 player in this league, where I don’t think he’s top 40. It helps to never ever ever have to worry about double teams cuz your team is stacked.

  190. But good game tonight, the defense was just excellent. Where was Nate Robinson tonight though?

  191. Big Bang Theory and a Lakers win over the Celtics – what a great night!!

  192. I think Nate got injured when he landed on Shannon’s ankle when Shannon went up for a three and got fouled.

  193. Did Simmons say WHY they’d say no to a Rondo-for CP3/Dwill deal? If his argument is because Rondo is a better FIT for the greenshirts, I’d agree. CP3 and DWill dominate the ball much more than Rondo, which doesn’t fall in line with their TEAM-oriented approach. Not to say CP3 and DWill aren’t better players (though even that can be debated I’m sure) but Rondo is a terrific fit for them.

  194. FYI, the recap will be up a bit later. Got caught up with some things after the game and am still in the middle of some stuff.

  195. Mr Aaron,

    You are a stubborn one aren’t you. You understand that you’re allowed to change your mind? The Heat are just a regular season team. I would someone like you would be able to realize this after half the season and change your mind about the Heat winning a championship.

    Being stubborn now is not the right move. Recognize your mistake and move on. The Heat are simply not good enough to win a championship this year.

  196. aaron afflalo!!!!!!!!!! tied with dallas again

  197. I actually think rondo is a worse fit. Cp3 doesn’t need to shoot a bunch, and doesn’t necessarily care to, but the point is if they need him to he can be a scary knock down shooter. Same as Dwill. Simmons didn’t discuss the reason, but even from a chemistry standpoint on the court that would be crazy.

  198. Um, guys, the heat are very very good. Don’t be silly about that. And Lebron and dwade have the officials (and stern) in then palm of their hand, so even though they have 3 good players, they always have a relevant 6th man helping them get to the free throw line and neglecting to give them technicals. I think its silly to predict which team will come out of the east, or west for that matter, as there are very good teams in the league this year: la, Boston, San Antonio, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Orlando. This is a pretty talented top six on both sides of the brackets.

  199. @197. FYI, the recap will be up a bit later [hard to type while downing celebratory White Russians]. Got caught up with some things after the game [the above White Russians] and am still in the middle of some stuff [half a bottle of vodka and kahlua left]…oh wait, that’s me (hic)…sorry.

  200. 190,
    I actually bagged on the Cavs all of last year saying “they are a one man team and won’t come out of the East.” Although I did pick the Magic to come out of the East before the season started.

    And Kaveh… I know I can change my mind. Because once the east finals started I picked the Celtics based on match ups. What I actually said was if the Magic start Bass at PF I’m picking them… If not I’m going with Boston. But I knew a head coach would be too stubborn than to switch his lineup for a series.

  201. Kaveh,
    Do you really think the Heat are a regular season team? Really? Actually… Any squad that is so top heavy and has three of the best players in the NBA is more likely a post season team due to the fact that their best three players will play more and their lackluster depth won’t be an issue as they will only go 8 deep.

  202. I’ve yet to see any evidence LBJ can win when the going gets tough.

    If anybody else has, please enlighten me.

  203. 181, that reminds me; I think the only other time I’ve brought the genuine rage in the comments was Game 7 of the Finals.

  204. Wait, I did see LJB hit a game winner vs the Warriors last season (I think it was).

    Maybe that qualifies as winning when the going gets tough …