Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Celtics-Lakers -- Game 6 thread

Final, 131-92. Celtics were just awesome all season: 66 wins, a couple of hiccups in the early rounds, but consistent, punishing defense, throughout the Finals and a beautiful togetherness. Doc Rivers made some questionable strategic moves, but he did an amazing job of meshing all of these new pieces together into a championship team. The Celtics played so hard all year. Well deserved.

This one was over in the first quarter. Celtics pouring it on now, 101-70.

Ray Allen is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history. Somebody might want to guard him ... still waiting ... how about now? No? Allen spins the ball, reads the laces, cradles it, rocks it to sleep, then drains a 3.

Boston is looking to run more now than at any time in this series. The Celtics clearly get it: run more with the lead, keep the pressure on.

Allen for 3. Celtics, 63-36. Radmanovic could care less who wins this game.

Rondo opens the second half with a jumper. Everything going Boston's way. Celtics, 60-35.

Halftime: Celtics, 58-35. Lakers are 8-for-27 from the field with 11 turnovers and -12 on the boards. Ouch.

Perkins denies Odom, then scores over him at the other end. Celtics, 58-35.

Garnett hangs, is mugged, and scores off the glass, and 1. Celtics, 56-35.

Kobe just turned it over. Lakers are about to crack.

Great ball movement by Boston. Rondo in the lane. Celtics, 51-35.

Garnett again. Celtics, 51-35.

By all statistical measures, the Celtics are one of the greatest defensive teams of all-time. Just how good? Well, the Lakers' offense clicked for three rounds: against Denver, Utah and San Antonio, also one of the league's best defensive teams. So, maybe the Lakers' struggles in this series are due only to Boston's greatness. That said, LA could use another guy who could create his own shot from the perimeter. Bynum's return will help with rebounding and interior defense, but the Lakers don't have another player on their roster who can attack the rim.

Radmanovic just fouled on a dead ball, 25 feet from the basket. Over/under on Radmanovic brain cells: 1.3. I'll take the under.

Radmanovic just chipped paint on that 3-point attempt.

Gasol almost threw away his 23rd outlet pass this postseason.

Kobe just got ripped by Posey, which leads to a Posey 3. Celtics, 43-29. 11-0 run.

The Lakers aren't close to matching the Celtics' force. Another foul on Fisher. House with two from the line. Boston, 40-29.

Is this 1984 all over again? Boston is winning this game with energy and aggression: 20-12 on the boards (including 8-0 on the offensive end), seven steals.

House for 3. Celtics, 38-29. Terrible defensive organization by the Lakers, who aren't locating shooters, rotate for no reason, rotate for the wrong reason. Ugh.

Two more offensive rebounds on the same possession, which lead to Posey's 3. Celtics, 35-29.

Kobe is forcing 3s again. The Lakers can't get anyone else going offensively, which means the Celtics should shade even more defenders onto Kobe and not give him any even semi-open looks. Celtics, 31-26.

Danger time for LA. Celtics lead, 29-24, and the game is getting very physical. Advantage Boston.

Celtics have just the right emotional pitch to start.

Celtics lead after one, 24-20. Kobe is 4-for-7; other Lakers are 1-for-7. LA also has six turnovers (four by Gasol). For Boston, meanwhile, Garnett is 5-for-7, but Pierce is 1-for-6.

Celtics swarming the boards with two and three guys going up for every missed shot by the Lakers.

Farmar has to pass that to Kobe, who was wide-open for 3. Instead, Farmar clanks a 2 to follow his turnover out of bounds on the previous possession. Too many Lakers tentative early.

Good sign for Boston that Garnett is 4-for-6 to open the game. The Celtics are also up 11-8 on the boards, including five at the offensive end.

Garnett with six straight for the Celtics, who lead 20-18.

Walton with four off the bench. Lakers, 18-16.

ABC has to stop with the split screen. We don't need to see a player going to the locker room.

Celtics are trying to pound inside. Odom is holding is ground; Gasol is not.

Kobe hits back-to-back 3s. He's 3-for-3, eight points.

Radmanovic gives up an offensive rebound. He is practically useless.

Kobe opens with a deep 2. Lakers, 2-0.

The Lakers need to follow the prescription to win an elimination-game on the road: stay within striking distance, control the boards, defend for 48 minutes.

Bill Russell, Cedric Maxwell, Jo Jo White, M.L. Carr, John Havlicek among the former Celtics in attendance.

The 1984 Finals have been well-documented. The Lakers probably should have swept, but made crunch-time mistakes in Games 2 and 4 that let the Celtics back in the series. By the time Game 7 rolled around, the Boston Garden faithful helped will the home team to victory. The boisterous, blue-collar crowd was much like the Celtics: hard hats, lunch pails, physical to the nth degree. Boston won the battle of the boards, 52-33, including 20 at the offensive end, and earned 51 free-throw attempts in a 111-102 victory. Lakers coach Pat Riley said afterward: "It was their night, their town, their fans, their friends." The Celtics are severely banged up heading into tonight's Game 6. Can the crowd spur them to another victory? The longer this series goes, the more the advantage shifts to LA.