For the first time in the series the Celtics matched the first quarter intensity of the Lakers as they never gave them the chance to blow them out like what happened in Games 4 and 5. This time, it was just Kobe Bryant for the Lakers as he scored three straight three pointers and a basket to counter Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen who combined for 18 first quarter points. Kendrick Perkins finally suited up and his presence was welcomed by the Celtics as their rotation was finally complete. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol were both invisible in the first quarter as Gasol couldn’t buy a basket and was forced to four turnovers. Odom on the other hand had only a free throw to show.
In the second quarter the Celtics showed that they too can be offensive minded as Paul Pierce torched them with 8 points, Eddie House and Kevin Garnett added 7 points apiece while James Posey sank two three pointers for 6 points. The Celtics held the Lakers to a measly 15 second quarter points as Gasol and the rest of the Lakers struggled after the Celtics transformed a 32-29 lead to a 58-35 halftime lead.
The Celtics continued to pound the Lakers in the third quarter and took the heart out of the showtime team as Boston iced the game with a quarter to go. In the end, the adrenalin pumping through the veins of the Celtics to close out the series was at an all time high as the underrated supporting cast of the Big Three drew big games. James Posey was perfect from the field as he drowned three three pointers enroute to 11points. Eddie House and Leon Powe added 9 and 8 points respectively.
The Celtics high octane offense saw then lead by four points after one quarter, twenty three in two quarters, twenty nine by the third and thirty nine after the game. That just shows the non-existent defense that the Lakers showed. As another scribe would put it after the game “The Lakers defense was so awful…as we speak, I think Ray Allen is still open somewhere!”
Dejavu? The 39 point decision was the largest margin of victory in a finals clinching game in NBA History as it erased the previous record of 33 points that was made in the 1964 title clincher of the Celtics against the same team – the Lakers. The Celtics also set a Finals single-game record with 18 steals tonight. The previous record was 17 set by Golden State against Washington in the 1975 finals. Ray Allen tied a Finals single-game record with seven three-pointers tonight together with Kenny Smith (1995) and Scottie Pippen (1997). Allen wound up with 22 3 points made in The Finals, establishing an all-time Finals mark for 3PT FGM (regardless of series length) He passed New York’s Derek Harper (1994) who had 17 in seven games and Phoenix’ Dan Majerle (1993) who had 17 in six games.
The Celtics’ 52 3pt field goals made set a record for a finals game, the old mark was 51 by San Antonio in 2005. The Celtics’ 18 steals established a single-game finals mark as it eclipsed the old mark of 17 set by Golden State in 1975. The Celtics’ win in tonight’s clincher gave Boston a final home record of 13-1 in the 2008 NBA Playoffs. Their 13 home wins is a new NBA single-season Playoff record, breaking the old mark of 12 shared by the 1984 Celtics and 1988 Lakers.
In one of the Finals’ key stats, the Celtics outscored the Lakers 165-122 in the third quarter of The Finals.
Congratulations to the 2008 NBA Champion - the BOSTON CELTICS.