If “those who are late do not get fruitcup” then the baksetball equivalent would be “those who do not rebound do not get wins”. The Los Angeles Lakers annihilated the Boston Celtics on the boards (55-45) in a classic overtime game and came away with an 88-87 victory.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 27 points but it was the inside play of the Lakers bigs, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, that was the difference in this contest. Every time the Celtics seemed to gain control of this tight affair a rebound would bounce in the hands of Gasol or Bynum for a game changing layup or tip.
Gasol finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and a game saving block on a Ray Allen tip as time expired at the end of overtime. Bynum was equally as menacing to the Celtics cause on his way to 16 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Allen led the Celtics with 22 points, followed by the complete effort of Paul Pierce who added 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Kevin Garnett was as agressive as he has been in years hoisting up 23 attempts but only connecting on 6 of those shots. He finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in the Celtics loss.
Boston continued their trademark defense all evening but let themselves down by allowing 15 offensive rebounds. The way the Celtics play defense is admirable but at their advanced age they can’t sustain pressure defense on multiple possessions to a team like L.A. The Lakers scored 24 second chance points and that can be pointed too as the determining factor in the game.
The Lakers were 15-20 from the free throw line while the Celtics were a meager 5-5. To make matters worse, the Celtics had zero free throw attempts in the second half.
The disparity in the free throw attempts would normally be a result of poor officiating, however Boston almost never went to the basket instead settling for jumper after jumper. The Lakers bigs not only dominated the glass but they acted as road closure signs as Boston was timid at best on attempting drives to the basket.
Their was a unfamiliar sense of good will and respect between the two teams tonight. Celtics and Lakers were helping each other off the floor on fouls, conversing in good spirit, and their was even one occasion where Doc Rivers seemed to be showing Kobe a play on his dry erase board.
Maybe it is the respect of two teams who know that their rivalry is coming to an end, at least for their generation in their respective franchises. The Lakers have now won 5 out of their last 6 in Boston but the rivalry will wage on long after this crop of players retire.
The two teams will meet again March 11 at the Staples Center where this Celtics group may have their final chance to “Beat L.A.”
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