The subplots run deep in this Lakers/Celtics rivalry. A rivalry that spans over 50 years. On the subplot menu in this affair was the Lakers thirst for revenge after a January 30th defeat at the hands of Boston. That defeat seemed to open the floodgates on potential Laker trades and changes. None of which have occurred and all have been denied. For the Celtics it was all about Ray Allen seeking history as he came into the game just two 3 pointers shy of surpassing Reggie Miller on the all time 3 pointers made list. Team Green was banged up with just 10 able bodies ready for the contest coming off a terrible loss in Charlotte Monday night. Pierce, considered one of the able, played the game with the flu. Experts everywhere predicted the Lakers would be primed to avenge their earlier defeat. Primed? Yes, and avenged they were defeating Boston 92-86.
Both teams with a flare for the dramatic sported throw back jerseys paying homage to a rivalry both past and present. L.A. went inside early and kept the Celtics off balance in the opening minutes of the game using their size advantage. The tide quickly changed when Ray Allen began to look for his offense. At the 4:14 mark of the the first quarter Ray Allen drilled his 2,560th 3 pointer tying him with Reggie Miller for 1st first all time. After a few pressing attempts, Ray finally shot his way to the top at the 1:48 mark with number 2,561. It was basketball history that sent the already raucous Boston crowd into further frenzy. It was a humbling scene to see Allen graciously hug Miller at mid-court after breaking Miller’s record. (Miller was broadcasting the game on TNT). A brief moment of recognition for Allen’s accomplishment ensued with more hugs and ovation and even a congratulatory low-five from Bryant.
Much of the first half was lead by Boston with Kobe calculatedly pacing himself. Bryant seemed to be trying the “get my teammates involved” approach in the first half hoping his teammates would be up to the challenge. The Celtics lead by as many as 15 but an 11-4 run by the world champs to close the 2nd quarter gave the Celtics a 53-45 lead. Troubling news for the Celtics considering Kobe had just 3 points on 1-3 shooting. More bad news for the Celtics came when they lost Nate Robinson to a knee injury in the 2nd quarter for the remainder of the game.
The Lakers came out in the 2nd half and were all business. Fisher opened the half with a 3, followed by Kobe scroing 5 straight points, then a Pau Gasol jumper. A 10-0 run to open the half taking the lead 55-53 before Pierce finally answered with a floater. Yep…just as I suspected. At 6:42 in the 3rd quarter Allen picked up foul number 4 which forced Von Wafer to sub early. Kobe salivated and scored 12 points in the quarter while Doc River’s weeped and probably thought about suiting up himself. Wafer was unable to hold Bryant and picked up his 5th foul forcing the unproven Avery Bradley into the fray. The rest of the quarter was a Laker clinic both offensively and defensively. L.A. outscored Boston 27-15 in the 3rd to take a 72-68 lead into the final period with 42 points of their points coming in the paint.
The Lakers lead by as many as 9 in the 4th quarter with Kobe sitting for the first 7 minutes. Boston made a feeble attempt to come back but Kobe was too strong down the stretch finishing with 23 points and making the face that all opponents have grown accustomed to hating. Gasol, Bynum, & Odom dominated the inside combining for 48 points and 31 rebounds. Meanwhile the Celtics shot 13-43 in the nightmarish 2nd half for a pitiful 30%. The loss is Boston’s second straight and a third might be coming Sunday against the Miami Heat. The All-Star break can’t come fast enough as the Celtics are again looking aged and are limping towards the season’s intermission. A scene Celtic fans should be used to. Let’s hope this repeat of history is short lived.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com