Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Celtics-Lakers Game Three: The Fisher King

The Cs win the tap, and Kevin Garnett gets Pau Gasol in the air for an easy one. Ron Artest is tentative on the other end and then misses, and Garnett responds by finishing an alley oop. Wow. Another Laker miss, another Garnett score in transition, and Celtic Fan is in full orgasm with the 6-0 start.

Andrew Bynum can't finish an alley oop, but Testy scoops up the garbage. A Celtic miss leads to Testy in transition, but he's called for a hook for the turn. Testy gets his second foul as Ray Allen runs into his knee, and he'll take an early seat for, really, Luke Walton. Pierce misses on Walton, but Kendrick Perkins keeps the possession, and Rondo finishes in mid-range. Derek Fisher misses from three, but the board goes long to Kobe Bryant, and Fisher drives on Pierce for the old-school three. 8-5 Celtics, and the next possession is a wild collection of second shots that ends with a Rondo steal and make. Lakers are very erratic to start. Gasol misses, and the Cs run again, eventually converting on Rondo in the paint. It's 12-5 Celtics at the 7:41 mark as Coach Philip takes his first disgusted timeout. If his team doesn't settle soon, it won't be the last.

Walton with a high arcing make at the end of the clock, and that's found money. Perkins travels on the other end. The Lakers overpass coming back, with Fisher ending it with an airball. Pierce with a miss, and Kobe outfights Rondo for the board; Kobe guarding Rondo. The Laker MVP takes it to the cup and gets a foul. Two makes cuts it to three as Boston Fan tells Kobe what he does. Boston Fan Is So Witty!

Perkins with the moving screen call on Fisher, his second foul, and Boston Fan is irate that a moving screen is a moving screen. Lamar Odom in for Bynum, Rasheed Wallace in for Perkins. Gasol goes to the line and a Rondo foul as the game turns to ugly. One miss and one make from Gasol, and it's 12-10 Celtics as Jeff van Gundy goes for his tired foul ranting. That never gets old!

Allen misses from distance at the end of the clock, and Kobe hits from just inside the arc, draining a make and getting Rondo's second foul on an elbow touch. The make gives the Lakers their first lead, but it doesn't last, as Sheed feeds Garnett for a paint make. Odom banks in a three, and the Lakers are getting some luck here. Garnett abuses Gasol, and I don't know who this guy is, but he wasn't in Garnett's jersey in the first two games. Kobe feeds Gasol down low for a make. Pierce's straight on three misses, but Rondo gets the board and feeds Garnett, who is too open to make it. It's 18-16 with 2:59 left in the first, and I'm off to get the kids to bed. Back in a bit.

I come back to a 37-24 Laker lead -- some kind of difference. Garnett and Bynum trade misses, then Garnett gets a roll. The Cs bring hardcore defense on Kobe, leading to an out of bounds play, a Gasol runner that misses, and Rondo getting Fisher's second on a block and miss. The Lemur tells me the Celtic run is 6-0, which means that I missed a 19-4 stretch. Laker Fan, you should have me watch less of this. Start the bidding. (What happened? The Laker bench, specificallu Odom and Walton played well, and the Celtic bench didn't. Also, Pierce and Allen couldn't put it in the ocean.)

After the money, Rondo gets fellated and makes one of two; the Laker lead is 10. Kobe in Hero Mode misses, and Gasol's tip stays out. Rondo takes it to the cup with quickness. Bynum stops the 9-0 run with a paint make off a Gasol pass. Pierce is wild and wrong, and Kobe feeds Gasol for a slam in transition; both of these teams are death off a miss. Rondo misses but Perkins gets an offensive goaltending tip in. Kobe's three misses, but Testy keeps it alive for another Kobe miss. The break comes back the other way, but Fisher stops it with a drawn charge, and Celtic Fan Is Not Pleased. Maybe they will even be so moved as to yell something about it?

Bryant with a drive, stop and make, and that's just unstoppable. Pierce answers with a flat footed three, his first of the series, and Celtic Fan is awake. Walton gets bailed out with a call in the air on Pierce, his third. Kobe misses, and Rondo feeds Perkins at the cup for Walton's first foul, but the shot stays out. One make cuts it to 8. Bryant can't make on a drive, but he doesn't give up on the play, and feeds Bynum at the cup for the old-school three and sudden Old Garnett moment. Big play, and Bynum makes to push the lead to 11. Pierce blows by Testy and gets to the line on Gasol's first as the Cs lobby for the call to go to Testy. Yes, Pierce isn't happy even when he gets a call. Two makes cuts it to nine, and Pierce is starting to heat up.

Kobe with a pretty floater at the end of an ugly possession. Garnett roasts Gasol for a drive and make, and he's got 14 already. Kobe gets the roll off a screen, and he's getting persistent. Rondo misses a step-back three at the end of the clock, and Walton fouls Garnett rather than getting the board. One make cuts it to nine as van Gundy stresses Garnett using two hands, because Garnett has forgotten basketball fundamentals. The Celtics pressure rather than let the Lakers hold for the final shot, and Walton gets it to Bynum for a Garnett foul in the paint. Two makes pushes the lead to 12. The last shot is Pierce in Hero Mode, but his jumper stays out, and he's 1 of 8 for the first half. The Lakers lead by a dozen, and the Garden crowd is doing their usual front-runner quiet. For a team with a real home-court advantage, they sure do go quiet sometimes.

The third quarter starts with Kobe missing badly late in the clock, but Allen remained scoreless on a wide open three miss. Gasol makes from mid-range to give him 8-7-3, and a 14-point Laker lead, but he's not exactly making Garnett miss on the other end. Testy's mechanical miss goes to Bynum for an o-board, but Kobe squanders it with a bad miss that Gasol can't keep in bounds. Pierce's three is solid to cut it to nine, and the Lemur rightly chastises Kobe for selfishnes. Bynum misses down low after a Fisher miss, and the Cs get it back after walling off the center on the baseline. Fisher picks up his third on the other end, and Ray Allen's first points of the night finally happen at the line. The lead is 7, and the home team is very much encouraged.

Rondo turns the Lakers, but Testy gets a tip on Allen's three to force the miss. Pierce gets his fourth on a light touch on a Kobe drive; ouch. Kobe makes over him, and the lead goes to nine again. Garnett and Allen miss down low, and Kobe's momentum three stays out; he's now 6 of 17, not that the Lemur is going to let bad percentages get in the way of a good knob gobble. Garnett draws Bynum's first and cans two for a seven point game again as van Gundy goes into childhood bullying stories. No, seriously.

Fisher draws Rondo's third on classic tricksiness as Pierce goes to the bench. Two makes pushes it back to nine. Allen misses after a push on Fisher, and the Laker guard is getting into Jesus Shuttleworth's head in a big way. Garnett picks up his third trying to deny the entry pass to Gasol. Testy, Bynum and Gasol play hog on ice, but can't convert. Gasol ends Garnett with a block, but Kobe's reverse doesn't go down, and Rivers has seen enough foolishness. 6:09 left in the third, and both of these teams want so little of the half-court offense that they will take bad chances to avoid late offense. Let's just say it's the third straight game of Less Than Pretty.

Allen misses again, and after volleyballing, it's Laker Ball as the refs miss the call. Allen draws Kobe's first, and Bryant is really undergoing too much solo work here. Perkins gets blocked down low by Bynum and Bryant, but Gasol doesn't catch and shoot in the paint, and it winds up being a turnover. Rondo gets it to Perkins down low, and he can't get it off fast enough to avoid Gasol's wrap up foul, his second. Perkins counterfeits it with two makes, and the lead is seven.

Gasol to Bryant for a running bank, and that was pretty. Allen feeds Allen (Ray to Tony) for a lay up. Kobe with a tough drive and make, and if you are the Celtics, you have to live with that. Ray Allen's 11th miss of the night -- ye gads -- leads to a loose ball Laker foul to keep the ball. A bad Celtic possession ends with Big Baby Davis getting to the line on an Odom foul.

After commerce and charity -- look! NBA players using shovels! - Davis hits from the line, and it's seven again. Bryant misses a jumper, and so does Tony Allen; both teams missing good looks there. Fisher and Gasol turn, but the Cs don't run; Tony Allen barrels in for a make as Kobe fails to get the charge call, and the lead is down to five. Sheed with a denial foul on Gasol, and you will be shocked to learn that he doesn't agree. Bryant makes a three at the end of the clock as Tony Allen goes for the head fake and leaves it open. Sheed with a make down low to get the momentum back. Kobe misses a tough try on the baseline, and the Celtic break is an easy Tony Allen bucket. Gasol stops the roar with a make, and he really doesn't get it enough. The final shot of the quarter is a Rondo mid-range miss, because the Celtics live to get mid-range jumpers with no chance of an o-board at the end of quarters. Normally, it's Pierce's shot to miss, but I guess he's got foul trouble. At the end of three, it's the Lakers by six, 67-61.

Odom and Davis tie up off a bad Rondo pass to start the fourth. The Lakers should win this tip, but they don't, and Tony Allen feeds Big Baby for a make. The Laker benchies are on, and Pierce takes his fifth on a minor elbow to Testy and a major flop afterwards. Miserable game for Pierce tonight. Kobe on to take advantage. Gasol is blocked by Sheed for a foul, and it's another marginal foul call that makes the Celtics big man run halfway to Vermont for his non-technical technical. Gasol makes the second as non-NBA fans get their hate of the game justified.

Davis destroys Odom with toughness, and the lead is three; the Celtics just keep chipping. Gasol misses, and Davis boards; it's Big Baby's world right now, but that stops as Jordan Farmar takes a charge from the Drunken Seal. First Celtic turnover of the second half, which is amazing. Bryant can't make a three, and Rondo's transition push scores at the rim. It's a one-point game with 9:45 left, and if you want to kill the Lakers for not having the toughness to keep the lead, I won't deny

Bryant misses as the Celtic defense is just in Takeover Mode right now. Tony Allen gives him real trouble. A Fisher foul as Celtic Fan chants, but he gets it back with a blocking foul on Ray Allen. Fisher with a tough drive and make, and they've put away the whistles. Sheed misses from 27 feet as the Lemur fellates him for taking it. No, seriously. Bryant misses from 27 feet at the end of the clock, and Tony Allen is hurt by Kobe's foot contacting his neck. Odd and painful. Pierce back in.

Garnett's jumper gets it back to one, cold off the bench. Fisher's stupid long three misses, but Odom gets the board and putback. Davis misses at the cup, and it's Bynum's turn to do his pro wrestler reaction shtick. To be fair; horrible call. Davis misses the first because Ball Don't Lie, and makes the second. Two point game, 7:20 left.

Fisher's bank stays out, as does Bynum's putback. Rondo misses, and Davis falls with the o-board. Fisher makes a force after a no-call charge from Testy on Rondo. It's rugby. Bynum blocks Garnett; first team to 85 wins. Rondo picks up his fourth foul, and as far as the Celtics have come back in this game, they still haven't taken a lead. That kind of thing matters more often than you might think.

Fisher with a nice make off a screen, and it's six again. Davis with a huge play on a catch, make and foul draw down low on Bryant as the Drunken Seal poses. He makes the free throw to cut it back to three and end the mini-run. Artest's corner three has no chance, but he redeems himself with a steal on the Drunken Seal. Fisher with another huge make on a bank, and the pick and roll with him is their only offense right now. 78-73 with 4:30 left.

Fisher with a foul, his fifth. Could be a big deal. Pierce hits a long three, the only shot he can make tonight, and that was huge. Odom goes around Garnett and scores, big play as well. Ray Allen three stays out, and Gasol gets an excuse me board. Kobe misses, too early, too solo. Garnett with fresh legs burns Gasol again, and the lead is two with 2:30 left.

Gasol works Davis with a near turn, re-post, and bank shot make. Note that all of the big Laker makes here have nothing to do with Bryant, who is 9 for 27 tonight. Odom, by comparison, is 5 for 5, and Gasol and Fisher are 5 for 11 each. As a matter of fact, the non-Kobe Lakers are shooting 50% tonight, with the benchies going 9 for 11. But Kobe's the closer!

Garnett with a big make over good Gasol defense; shocking turnaround from the first two games from him. Kobe drives, stops and makes over Allen, a big shot. Yes, my words are tasty; I eat them often. Garnett nearly turns it on defensive pressure, and we've got Replay Action and More Commerce. I'd complain about this, but that would be un-American. Or something.

The replay shows it should be Laker Ball; will the refs change it? Yes, and Rivers is especially irate, seeing how it's his timeout that gave the zebras the chance to review. Celtic Fan is surprisingly quiet about it, considering how big the possession is. The miss goes off Odom for more replay action, and the Celtics avoid a killshot. 70 seconds left.

Ray Allen's three misses, and he is now 0 for 13... and the Celtics somehow lose track of Fisher, who goes all the way to the rack for a make despite Davis hammering him. Massive sequence, and that should do it. Fisher's free throw makes it 87-80 with 48.3 seconds left. Fish has 10 in the fourth quarter, and he's closed the Celtics tonight, not Bryant.

Empty seats and quiet people after commerce, but Odom's massive brain lock gives Pierce a make and a free throw. The miss goes off Odom due to a Rondo foul, and we're now going to a three-hour game thanks to all of the TV watching. What should be a foul on Rondo and Odom shooting free throws is the Celtics with the ball. Unconscionable... and the makeup call comes back with a vengeance, as Garnett is called for a moving screen and Gasol flop. Man alive, these teams need to stop appearing in the Finals. It Hurts The Eyes.

Sasha Vujacic to the line as the Celtics fail to foul quickly, and he makes both of them cold; impressive. Of course, had Celtic Fan actually made some noise, it might have been harder for him. Seriously, I don't remember a Boston crowd that rolled over more than this one.

An alley-oop to Garnett leads to a turnover, and Sheed fouls Kobe for no reason with 10.3 left. Two makes and a Pierce lay up gives us the final score: Lakers 91, Celtics 84, and had his been, say, Spurs-Pistons, the world would tell you how bad most of the game was... indeed, how bad most of the play in all three games to date has been. Instead, we'll hear how great Fisher is (and, well, he was; that man gets more out of his ability than anyone in the Association), and how tough the defense was. Whatever. For my money, this game was lost by Celtic bench in the second quarter, because the Celtics never got the lead back, and Allen is still waiting for his first make of the game.

More of this on Thursday, and if you think this is ending in less than six, you're as crazy as Sheed or Testy.

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