Since the site seems to sorely need it. AHEM.
Both the Lakers and Celtics took 24 free throws in the last night’s game 3 victory for the Lakers. The Lakers went 21-24 and Boston went 15-24. The reason Boston is not getting clean blocks is because their center and backup center are two inches shorter than their L.A. counterparts. Also, Boston has decided that there will be no easy buckets. Boston’s fouls are by design. That leads to fouls around the rim. The Lakers have responded appropriately by attacking the basket. Furthermore, officiating goes both ways. Take, for example, Rajon Rondo clearly fouling Lamar Odom near the end of the game on a rebound. The refs called it out of bounds to Boston. They reviewed the played, which showed Rondo smacking Odom on the right wrist, which caused him to lose control of the ball. Boston ball.
Boston’s problem has not been the refs. They had the same measure of fouls in the previous series versus Orlando, and won decisively because their defense stifled Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. Boston’s problem has been their defense does not seem to have the same effect on Pau Gasol, the game’s best big man, and Kobe Bryant, the game’s best guard. Boston’s problem has been the performances of their starting lineups. They cannot get Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen to shoot well on the same night. Pierce appears to be worn down, and the hounding he is getting from Artest is not helping. Garnett and Allen are alternating great shooting performances, and it is killing the Celtics not to get it on the same night. Even a 40% shooting performance from Allen would’ve clinched Game 3.
The Finals put a microscope on everything, so it’s good to step back. Boston has not played at their peak, and still took a game in L.A. They came back and barely lost Game 3, despite a zero point performance from Ray Allen and not much more from Paul Pierce. It’s only 2-1. There’s at least 2 more games to watch and decide whether the refs or better use of match-ups, better shooting performances, shot selection, and defensive strategies is what makes a champion.
Psssst, it’s NOT the refs (except when it is – jp).