Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Celtics-Lakers -- Game 3 thread

Lakers win, 87-81.

Bryant over Allen. Lakers, 87-81. Doc Rivers left Allen on an island against Joe Johnson and Rip Hamilton earlier in the playoffs, so you knew this was coming. Rivers just left Allen to guard Kobe alone on consecutive possessions. Bryant hit two jumpers.

House for 3. Lakers, 85-81.

Bryant a long 2. Lakers, 85-78.

Garnett free for a dunk. Lakers, 83-78.

Fisher fouled on a drive: make, make. Lakers, 83-76. 1:33 left.

Vujacic for 3. Lakers, 81-76. 1:53 left.

Garnett off glass. Lakers, 78-76.

Lakers don't get the ball to Kobe on the entire possession, Gasol shoots an air ball.

Pierce at the line: make, make. Lakers, 78-74.

Gasol fouled inside: miss, make. Lakers, 78-72.

Pierce muscles to the hoop, and 1. Celtics within five, 77-72.

Gasol follows up Odom's miss. Lakers, 77-70. Odom is attacking Garnett off the dribble now, which is creating offensive-rebound lanes for Gasol.

Gasol tips in Odom's miss. Lakers, 75-70.

Bryant fouled on a drive, earns two free throws: make, make. Lakers, 73-68.

Fisher fouled on a drive. Celtics in the penalty for the final 6:27. Fisher makes a pair. Lakers, 71-68.

Bryant for 3 off a busted play. Lakers, 69-68.

Vujacic off another curl, buries a long 2. Tie game, 66-all.

Four team fouls on the Celtics, 8:20 to go.

Lakers run another set play for a Vujacic 3, which is on target but just long.

Here come the whistles as Powe and House are called for away-from-the-ball fouls in the first 1:30 of the quarter.

Allen answers for 3. Celtics, 65-63.

Vujacic knocks down a 3 off a set play to open the fourth. Lakers, 63-62.

Over/under on free-throw attempts by the Lakers in the fourth quarter: 15.

Celtics lead after 3, 62-60. Odom and Gasol finally made their first field goals, but the Celtics lead despite Pierce missing 9 of his 10 shots, and Garnett missing 11 of his 15.

Vujacic on Allen. This is trouble for LA.

Kobe on the bench with the Lakers down 61-58 with 1:07 to go in the third.

Allen makes three free throws. He now has 22 on 7-for-10 shooting, including 4-for-4 on 3s. His slump is clearly a distant memory, and that fact has changed the outlook on this series.

Lakers have to run and get some easy baskets. At this point, their entire offense is Kobe trying to beat his man and any and all help defenders. Vujacic is the only other player for LA who showed up and isn't completely overwhelmed by this situation.

Allen for 3. Celtics, 54-50.

Gasol holds it, loses it on a drive. Garnett answers with a deep two. Celtics, 51-49.

Garnett in the lane. Tie game, 49-all.

Gasol and Odom look tentative. They catch the ball and immediately look to get rid of it.

House for 3. Celtics within two, 49-47.

At this point Radmanovic should leave the floor and just keep on walking.

Are you serious? ABC just went split-screen to show Rondo walking back to the locker room with a sprained ankle. What is this, the OJ car-chase?

What's up with Rondo going to that wrap-around, fake-behind-the-back pass so often?

Allen for 3. Celtics within six, 43-37, at halftime. Boston has been outplayed, but this game is well within reach.

Gasol is so soft right now. On back-to-back possessions he was easily doubled and made a predictable pass that was easily picked off, then he rolled to the rim and missed a layin.

Vujacic back-to-back jumpers. Lakers, 38-27.

Farmar for 3. Lakers, 34-25.

Vujacic loses Allen, who comes off a screen and buries a 3. Celtics within four, 29-25. I've said it before, everything Vujacic contributes on offense he gives right back.

Farmar and Brown get tangled up on a rebound. Technicals are issued to both players. Ridiculous. That was nothing. The NBA is hyper-sensitive about every skirmish.

Five Lakers touch the ball, which crisply swings to Vujacic, who knocks down a 3. Lakers, 29-22.

Kobe with a pull-up and two free throws. Lakers, 24-20.

Odom, outworked by Powe for a rebound, picks up No. 3 just 20 seconds into the second quarter.

After the expected early energy, the Lakers are flat again. The crowd is quiet. Fastbreak opportunities are at a minimum, and the game is being played to the Celtics' style again. Tie game at 20 after one quarter.

Garnett is 0-for-5, Pierce 0-for-4, yet Celtics down 1.

Radmanovic loses Posey, who knocks down a 3. Radmanovic picks up another foul, his third, while chasing a loose ball.

Fisher a pull-up in transition. Lakers, 15-7.

Other than standstill, open 3s, Radmanovic is a liability. He can't defend, and his shots off the dribble are very low percentage.

Lakers much more aggressive early, lead, 8-2.

Lakers forcing it into Kobe in the post. This isn't their offense, and Kobe ends up forcing difficult off-balance jumpers.

Bryant on Rondo; Fisher on Allen. I thought the Lakers would align this way the entire series. It does three things that work to LA's advantage: 1) Allows Kobe to roam on defense because Rondo isn't a threat to shoot from outside; 2) Allows Fisher, whose focus is defense to keep close to Allen, who is primarily a jump-shooter; 3) Forces the Celtics to align the same way (i.e., Rondo on Kobe).

Lakers introduced to The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."

It isn't often that the team with homecourt advantage (i.e., won more games during the regular season) isn't favored, yet that is what happened this year. So, if you are a conspiracy theorist, you could argue that the Celtics needed help from the referees to secure two wins at home, and thus guarantee a longer series. Had the Lakers won either one or both games in Boston, they could have closed on the series quickly at home.