Lakers win, 103-98.
House for 3. Celtics within 3, 101-98. Lakers almost turn over the ball. Terrible display trying to close out this game. Fisher at the line: make, make. Lakers, 103-98. 9.0 seconds to go.
Kobe at the line: make, miss. Lakers, 101-95. 15.4 seconds to go.
Fisher at the line: miss, make. Lakers, 100-95. 24.8 seconds to go.
Allen misses a drive and Garnett misses a follow. Lakers ball, up four, 26.8 seconds left.
Kobe strips Pierce again. Odom sends Kobe free for a dunk. Lakers, 99-95. 37.4 seconds to go. Five steals for Kobe.
Fisher misses a long 3.
Kobe can't blow by Allen, whose defense against the world's greatest player is underrated. Kobe forces a long 3, which misses. Odom fouls on the rebound. Pierce at the line: make, make. Lakers, 97-95. 1:14 left. The game is right there for the Celtics.
Kobe at the line: make, make. Lakers, 97-93. 2:14 left.
Gasol misses over Garnett, then fouls him. How can Kobe not have the ball in his hands? Garnett at the line: miss, miss. Lakers, 95-93. 2:31 left.
Pierce blows past three Lakers, fouled. Pierce at the line: make, make. Lakers, 95-93.
Bryant strips Pierce. Fisher at the line: miss, make. Lakers, 95-91. 3:07 left.
Great pass from Kobe to Odom, who goes soft and misses a chance for a 3-point play. Odom at the line: make, make. Lakers, 94-91.
Garnett and Pierce both pick up their fifth fouls in the span of 10 seconds. Lakers lead, 92-91. 3:31 to go.
Gasol over Garnett inside. Lakers, 92-90.
Garnett jumper. Tie game, 90-90. 4:25 left.
With five minutes to go and the game now close, the Lakers' inability to defend Pierce at all could bury them. Bryant is now on Pierce. Every LA possession must run through Kobe.
Odom drops another rebound out-of-bounds. Boston is making a final push. Do the Lakers really want to extend this to another game? Or are they defeated?
Posey for 3. Celtics within 3, 90-86.
Another turnover by Kobe.
More careless fouls by the Lakers. Walton just bumped Pierce 46 feet from the basket. Lakers in the penalty the final 6:22. Celtics within seven, 90-83.
Lakers are settling again. Gasol just made a weak attempt on the block, Kobe launched a contested jumper.
Walton pulls up on the break. Lakers, 88-74.
Gasol has found a bit of inner strength. He's fought harder in block-out situations and just blocked Ray Allen's drive.
Pierce is abusing every defender the Lakers send his way right now. And Kobe, with four fouls, can't afford to aggressively check him.
Odom for 3. Lakers up, 84-72.
Lakers close the third strong, lead, 79-70. They need to dig deep right now and unleash a fastbreak the entire final 12 minutes. Now is not the time to get tentative and walk the ball up the floor.
Fisher gets a conventional 3-point play, Radmanovic adds a corner 3. Lakers fighting back, now lead, 71-64.
Kobe picks up another charge; Celtics team defense is so solid.
At this point, if Boston can stay strong and impose its will on the game they can finish it at the end. Similar to how Miami closed out Dallas on the road in 2006. The Heat were the tougher team in that series too.
Celtics are just tougher, physically too, but mostly mentally. The Lakers have been plagued throughout the Finals by lapses in concentration, lapses in desire to push the ball, lapses in defensive intensity. Being down 3-1, they have to summon the desire to extend this series even though a championship now is unlikely. I'm not sure they can do it.
Second half starting, Lakers lead 55-52, again giving away most of what once was a huge lead.