Sunday, June 27, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
The Celtics started the game like they were a team on a mission as the green team opened up a 23 -14 first quarter lead as the Lakers started the first quarter with a 22% shooting clip on 4 of 18 shooting from the field and 4 of 7 from the line. Kobe only scored 3 points in the first quarter which is usually your gauge if he will score tons of points. The Celtics still managed to hang on till they erected a 49 – 36 lead with 8 minutes and 23 remaining in the third quarter. The Lakers refused to give up as they uncorked a blistering 17 – 8 run that cut the Boston deficit to four 57 – 53 at the end of the third. Bryant, Gasol and Lamar Odom helped hands to cut that lead. In the fourth, the Lakers went to Bryant and Gasol to take the lead 66 -64 with 5:56 left in the game and the Lakers never looked back.
It was a sorry loss for the beantown team since a lot of firsts were registered in this loss. It was the first time the Celtics lost to the Lakers in a games 7. It was also the first time multi-titled coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant beat the Celtics in the finals. As Kobe Bryant said “How can I become the greatest Laker ever if I don’t beat the Celtics!” Now it can be said….and they can do it again next year.
Good defense prevailed this time as the Celtics vaunted All-Stars shot poorly with Paul Pierce shooting 5 of 15, Rajon Rondo 6 of 13 and Ray Allen a disappointing 3 of 14. After his record breaking game 2 shooting spree he was never the same as he went 0 for 16 in Boston and 4 of 12 in the last two games at the Staples Center. He shot 36% in the 7 game series. It seems like since his numbers went down, Boston had no other weapon to go to outside. He was shut down by the Lakers defense. Talking about Lakers defense, the unsung hero in this series is Ron Artest who in a way limited Paul Pierce to numbers that he is not comfortable of. Yes Pierce was dominating in some games but not as spectacular as he was in 2008. Lastly, the Celtics failed to capitalize on the horrendous shooting of Kobe Bryant who went 6 of 24 in this game 7. Obviously the Celtics made it all the more difficult for Bryant to score so he found other ways by sinking 11 of 15 free throws, most of them in the pay off period.
Three years ago Kobe Bryant was asking the LA Lakers to trade him to another team for he was unhappy with the LA Lakers. He felt that he doesn’t want to be a part of Lakers rebuilding process. Asked where he wanted to play he said he could even play in Pluto if need be. Luckily for the Lakers he stayed on and then the best thing happened, the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol and they went to the 2008 NBA Finals. We all know what happened in that series and this win is the culmination of that rebuilding process that the Lakers were trying to do. Like what they say, you can rebuild by being competitive. The Lakers have time and again traded for the big names and the ones who can contribute to the them winning a title. Remember your Lakers history – the acquisitions of Kareem Abdul –Jabbar from Milwaukee and Shaquile O’Neal from Orlando gave the Lakers 8 titles, Gasol is in the same boat as he has now contributed 2.
Congratulations to the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant was voted the Finals MVP and he deserves the accolade very much for he is the most consistent player in the finals as he averaged 28 pts per game, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. At the same time his scoring was somehow not that high because most of his shots were contested and the degree of difficulty on each shot taken was on the “highly difficult mode” but he converted most of them. Now the next thing in the minds of the Lakers after Revenge has been done – will the Purple Reign extend into a dynasty. See you next year.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Reminiscent of game 1, the Celtics were literally outrebounded, outhustled, outworked by the younger Lakers who got a new lease of life. Led by the ever reliable Kobe Bryant, the Lakers played like a well oiled machine and took advantage of the many miscues by the Celtics. The Celtics were playing like kids and never knew what hit them. At one point, the Celtics were missing on point blank range shots with Glen Davis and Ray Allen missing a couple. The 67 points that the Celtics scored was their lowest output in this year’s play offs.
No one would have imagined that the always resilient Celtics would be blown away like this. Imagine Ron Artest who came to LA to provide a defensive presence outscored 2008 Finals MVP Paul Pierce 15 to 13. He was just doing it at both ends of the court. Artest was 3 out of 6 from beyond the arc. Another one providing the needed spark for the Lakers is Lamar Odom who scored 8 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, 2 block shots and one steal. Sasha Vujacic on the other hand rediscovered his shooting touch as he went 2 of 4 from three point range to score 9 points. The big revelation for the Lakers was Pau Gasol who resurfaced with a near triple double by scoring 19 points, 13 rebounds and a career high 9 assists. The Lakers coasted with the win after leading by as much as 27 points. Game 7 is now a reality.
Let’s give a little history and trivia here. The Celtics are gunning for # 18 while it’s going to be # 16 for the Lakers if ever. Boston lost by twenty points to Cleveland and Orlando and in each of those losses the Celtics rebounded with a big win. Phil Jackson has won 10 NBA Titles but this is the first time he will be coaching a game 7 finals game. The Celtics and Lakers have figured in 11 finals matches with the Celtics winning 9, on the other hand 4 of those went the distance with the Celtics coming out victorious in all four. If the Lakers win it this time this will be the first time the Lakers will win a game 7 against the Celtics. Not even the great Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson won a game 7 against the Celtics. History is on the side of the Celtics but momentum is on the side of the Lakers – the plot thickens. Who will win game 7? Lets get it on guys.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Now the real Boston Celtics are in town and they all came to play. After their second stringers helped them big time in their morale boosting Game 4 win, the Celtics relied on their All-stars to counter the incredible shooting of Kobe Bryant as they scored a 92 – 86 win against the Los Angeles Lakers and take control of the series for the first time with a 3 – 2 lead. Coming to the play-offs the Celtics who were seeded fourth in the East were not given a chance to make it to the finals, but now they are one win away of securing their 18th title.
The first half was a prelude to the shoot-out that was about to ensue in the second half. The Lakers started the game missing their first six shots that the Celtics took advantage of by leading 6 – 0. Andrew Bynum returned and combined with Derek Fisher to take a 15 – 14 lead. Paul Pierce on the other hand countered by making shots that gave the Celts a 22 - 20 first quarter lead. Pierce then combined with Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo to put the Celtics on top after 24 minutes of action with a 45 – 39 advantage.
Kobe scored 23 straight points for the Lakers
The Celtics fended off all tries by the Lakers to cut the lead as Bryant got more help from Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest. Unfortunately the Celtices always had an answer for every spurt that the Lakers were trying to put up. The Lakers last stand came after Rajon Rondo scored on a put back after Paul Pierce missed on a three pointer. His put back put the Celtics on top 87 -75 with 3:56 to go in the game and the Celtics fans celebrating. After that , Bryant would score 5 points while Gasol and Artest would nail one free throw each as part of a 7 – 0 run for the Lakers to close the gap to 87-82.
The Lakers had one final chance to move closer as Pierce fouled Ron Artest after Garnett lost out on a jump ball that created a fastbreak situation for the Lakers. Artest had a chance to cut the lead to three but muffed both free throws. After that miss, Pierce who was trying to break away for a fastbreak was fouled by Bryant and the Celtics sued for time. During the inbound play the Celtics almost turned the ball over but Pierce found Rondo dashing to the basket whom he hit with a pass and Rondo made the shot. That sequence killed the Lakers chances of turning the game around. This is the first time that the Lakers are trailing a team in a series. The Thunder and Suns equalized but lost out in Game 5 which the Lakers used to as a hinge to win their series. Now they are going back to LA needing two more wins. This time, the plot thickens once again. If game 5 is an indication, Game 6 will be another shootfest.