It’s funny how the game works sometimes. In a lot of ways, I could write the same set of random thoughts as I did for Game 2, and just switch the team names and some of the players around. The Lakers got off to a bad start, but then caught fire. The Celtics offense looked suddenly very very constipated, and the Lakers blew the game open. I guess one can take pride in the Celtics character – especially in the key 4th quarter early when Tony Allen was single handedly turning Bryant into a nonfactor.
In a lot of ways, that was most vexing. Kobe was 10-29, made a key jumper but otherwise accomplished precious little in the 4th, despite Mark Jackson’s bleatings of his greatness. The Celtics defense was good, and until the middle of the 4th was positively outstanding. But at the end, there needed to be stops, and there needed to be execution, and ultimately there was neither. Part of me takes heart that this game was in the balance while they shot so poorly, including Ray Allen putting up a ghastly counterpoint to his amazing Game 2. But, the Celtics got so much done on defense, with especially inspiring work by Tony Allen (whoulda thunk that he was the Allen to play down the stretch, and I wished he was the Allen that was out there late) and Big Baby – and an inspired effort from Garnett.
Ultimately this series cannot be won unless Pierce starts contributing more heavily – and he struggled again with the Artest defense. Also, when Derek Fisher is allowed to be hero, while their best weapons were kept under wraps – that reflects on Rondo. Indeed today he was back to his useful but innocuous Game 1 form, and not the transformational Game 2 kind. Perhaps the short turnaround and the resulting lack of legs to run had something to do with it. I just don’t know.
Hard not to be left talking to oneself.