Ford Keys to the Game: Lakers 92, Celtics 86
Lakers 92, Celtics 86
Tonight was supposed to be all about Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics. It was -- at least for the first half.
Boston jumped out of the gates behind Allen’s hot shooting to take a seven-point lead in the first quarter. In the process of building that lead, Allen canned two shots from downtown to put him atop the all-time list for 3-pointers made, surpassing none other than Reggie Miller, who was broadcasting the game on TNT.
The Garden crowd celebrated with Allen as the first quarter came to a close, but the energy didn’t stop there. Boston built their lead up to as many as 15 points in the first half and eventually took an eight-point advantage into halftime with the help of some energetic play from the starters.
The Celtics came out for the third quarter with Allen’s record already in the books and having played far superior basketball to the Lakers in the first half, but the opening moments of the third quarter were a sign of things to come.
Los Angeles got a 3-pointer form Derek Fisher just 11 seconds into the second half to cut Boston’s lead down to five, and Kobe Bryant finished a conventional three-point play on the Lakers’ next possession to cut it to a one-possession game. That 6-0 run, which took only 41 seconds to occur, was the beginning of the end for the Celtics.
Once that run turned to a 10-0 spurt and Allen got into foul trouble, it was all but over for the Celtics. Boston entered tonight’s game with only nine healthy bodies, which didn’t include a single natural center or small forward to come off of the bench. When Nate Robinson went down with a bruised knee in the second quarter, that only made things worse.
Though the Celtics knew they’d be low on bodies tonight, Doc Rivers wasn’t short on confidence that his team could pull out the big win at home. There was one factor, however, that he didn’t think his team would be able to overcome.
“One of our concerns going into the game were Paul (Pierce) or Ray (Allen) couldn’t get in foul trouble obviously, because of what we had left,” said Rivers. “And that happened.”
Allen’s third and fourth foul took place only 19 seconds apart, and when he was forced to go to the bench Boston’s offense went with him. The C’s scored only 22 total points in the second half, which is just six more than they scored in the first quarter alone. When Los Angeles strung together its 10 straight points and Allen got in foul trouble, the mojo exited the Garden and the C’s couldn’t bring it back.
Key Box Score Line
Boston may not have won this contest, but there was an undeniable bittersweet moment that took place in the second quarter. Everything was stacked up perfectly for Ray Allen to break the all-time 3-pointers made mark, and he capitalized on that opportune night before the first quarter even came to a close.
With Reggie Miller, the now former all-time 3-point leader, calling the game from the sideline, Allen rose up and drained his second trey of the night with 1:48 remaining in the first quarter to leapfrog Miller and become the king of 3-point range. It was Allen’s second 3-pointer of the night, and he wound up hitting another as well.
The moment was incredible to witness. Every soul roaming the TD Garden tonight knew about the accomplishment Allen was on the verge of achieving, and when he knocked home that second 3-pointer the building went absolutely berserk. With a sellout Garden crowd buzzing at a level it hasn’t reached in quite a while, Allen pounded his chest, saluted the crowd and then got back to playing basketball. When the final 108 seconds ran off of the clock in the first quarter, the celebration was on.
Allen cruised over to the sideline and was congratulated one-by-one by his teammates and coaching staff while a spotlight was dropped on him and the crowd stood on its feet and cheered. He quickly ran over to Miller to have a moment before making his way over to his mother, and eventually his wife and kids along the baseline.
There couldn’t have been a body in the Garden that wasn’t covered with goose bumps. Allen himself shook his head and visibly took deep breaths on several occasions, seemingly attempting to help himself grasp the moment and come back down to Earth. He eventually did, leading to a team-high 20 points, but this night wasn’t all about the box score. Instead, it was about lifetime of work and 15 years of professional basketball producing one special moment that none of us will ever forget.
Box Score Nuggets
- Seven players in the game grabbed a steal, but none finished with more than one.
- Five different players in the game attempted exactly six shots.
- Kobe Bryant attempted only six free throws in the game.
- Ray Allen set the all-time 3-point mark with his second 3 of the night, and 2,561st of his career, in the first quarter. He added one more to his total later in the game.
- Allen finished with a team-high 20 points.
- Bryant scored a game-high 23 points despite notching only three in the first half.
- Kevin Garnett notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
- Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, who grabbed nine boards, were the only Celtics to finish with more than five rebounds.
- Pau Gasol scored 20 points to go along with 10 boards.
- Rajon Rondo notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.
- Derek Fisher's five assists were the most of any Laker.
- All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures, but none of the reserves did.
- Lamar Odom came off the bench for Los Angeles to notch 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
- Allen attempted a game-high 18 shots.
- The Lakers outscored Boston 50-32 in the paint.
- Los Angeles took only one more second-chance shot than Boston (13-12) but scored eight more second-chance points (17) than the Celtics did (nine).
- Boston led by 15 points in the first half.
- Perkins' seven free throw attempts were a game-high.
- Los Angeles out-rebounded Boston, 47-36.
- The Celtics shot only 40.2 percent in the game.
- The Lakers made as many free throws, 19, as the Celtics attempted.
Quote of the Night
Ray Allen on his pregame conversation with the former 3-point king: "The last thing I told Reggie when we met in the back. I told him, 'What do I do? I don’t know what to do. What do I do, do I just sit there and look stupid, or do I stand up? I don’t know.' Reggie said, 'I don’t know either, I just think you got to do whatever you feel, because that is your moment.' And I said, 'Well I am glad you’re here because this is your moment as well, and I’m glad I can share it with you.' "