The Celtics had a big lead in the 2nd quarter, but sloppy play let LA back in. The second half was back and forth basketball until the last 6 minutes when Boston created separation to finish the game. Here’s how it went down:
Lakers by 2 after free throws by Bryant. Great interior passing leads to paint points for Boston as Rondo makes a back cut when Kobe helps on Garnett, and Perkins hits Rondo for the layup. Kobe hits a short corner turnaround over Allen in isolation at the other end. Rondo with another layup off a great screen and re-screen by Garnett. Artest and Bynum pick and roll leads to an offensive foul turnover on a moving screen. Ray Allen airball from three when Andrew Bynum steps out to challenge on the late shotclock catch and shoot. Kobe forces a tough turnaround in the paint. Garnett takes the rebound in traffic. Pierce draws a foul driving toward the rim in delayed transition. Ball sideout. Pierce draws another foul with a spin move on Artest (bad call). Garnett high low pass to Perkins. Gasol stuffs Perk’s hook, and Rondo takes the offensive board and gets the put back. Gasol draws a foul on Garnett in the post. Artest’s entry pass goes out of bounds as Gasol and Garnett continue fighting for position. Time out.
3:00 left. Rondo runs a series of pick and rolls, winds up with Garnett posted against Artest. KG gets the bounce to drop on an unsteady turnaround. Rondo blocks Fisher from behind. Pierce taps it ahead. Allen goes up soft against Bryant, and it’s ball sideline out to Boston. Allen misses a jumper, and the ball goes out of bounds called Boston’s ball again as Garnett and Gasol fight for it. Looks like a bad call, but they don’t change it. Big call. Celtics with a three point lead get to keep the possession. Allen drive and kick to Rondo for an 18 footer from the right elbow extended. Bryant misses a runner. Ray Allen wins the scrum for the rebound. Doc Rivers calls timeout from the sideline to save an 8 second violation.
5 point game. Celtics with 3 quick passes break a press and get a reverse layup for Perkins. Kobe drives down the right side. Garnett challenges at the rim. Perkins takes the rebound, and Gasol fouls him. 7 point game. Perkins hits 1 of 2. 8 point game. Allen denies the inbound to Kobe. Artest wastes a possession dribbling all over the front court, but the offensive rebound gets tipped out to Kobe who hits a deep three. 5 point game. Celtics with a sloppy inbound play get lucky when Artest is called for grabbing Rondo in a race for a loose ball. Rondo hits one of two. 6 point game. Rondo knocks the ball away from Kobe from behind has Bryant goes for a 3. LA fouls Rondo. Rondo again splits the pair. 7 point game (that’s three possessions). Time out Phil Jackson.
33 seconds left 7 point game. Kobe misses a deep three. Garnett takes the rebound in traffic. Quick foul sends him to the line. KG hits both. 9 point game. Gasol misses a desperation 3 pointer. Perkins takes the rebound. LA fouls him again. Perk splits the free throws. 10 point game. At the other end Paul Pierce wraps up Gasol under the basket to deny the dunk. Gasol hits one of two. LA contests the inbound pass. Rondo gets it into Allen. Fisher pokes it out of bounds. The inbound comes to Garnett, and that’s the game.
The final 6 minutes scoring went like this:
LA – Kobe Bryant had 2 free throws, a two point fadeaway, and a deep three pointer. Gasol makes 1 of 2 free throws.
Boston – Rondo makes 2 of 4 free throws, two layups, and one jump shot. Garnett makes 2 of 2 free throws and hits a post up shot in the paint. Perkins makes 2 of 4 free throws and hits a reverse layup.
That pretty much tells the story. A few Celtics stood up and made plays, and Kobe was the only Laker who really seemed to want the ball for LA as the game wound down. Boston will need to get a total team effort that way. They will need to hustle and be the players getting to loose balls if they want to win a 2nd, 3rd, and final game in this series, because even when Ray Allen hits 8 three pointers to set a finals record, the Lakers talent is too strong for Boston to hold a big lead. This series will come down to effort even more so than the one in 2008. Last night the effort went to the Celtics. Who’s going to bring it tomorrow in Boston? You can bet Phil won’t let the Lakers have back to back lackluster quarters. That’s not how you win 10 titles. The real question is, can the Celtics defeat complacency and outwork LA anyway?