Ford Keys to the Game: Lakers 88, Celtics 87
Lakers 88, Celtics 87
The bitter rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers went down to the wire yet again, just as expected. Yet again, the Lakers conquered the C’s in TD Garden.
The Celtics could have changed the ending to that first paragraph several times. They had an opportunity to win the game not once, but twice. They came up empty on both occasions.
The first came in regulation, with the game tied at 82-82 with 9.8 seconds left on the clock. The second, in an eerily similar situation, took place in overtime with 6.1 seconds remaining and the C's trailing by one. Boston couldn’t put the ball in the hoop either time thanks to poor execution. We’ll let Doc Rivers explain those plays to you from his vantage point. Here’s what he had to say:
“The first play, right before overtime, we anticipated either a switch – actually, they trapped it, which left Ray (Allen) open, but Paul couldn’t get it to him and he picked his dribble up, and that’s what kind of messed the play up.
"Second one I don’t mind. Paul (Pierce) got a decent shot, his shot. Honestly, the first option, which we looked for, (if it) wasn’t there we wanted a timeout. But I gave (Rajon) Rondo the luxury of it he thought Paul can get it, go for it.”
In other words, the first play was stalled by a poor decision by Pierce, and the second play went south when Pierce’s contested perimeter jumper just didn’t fall.
Boston certainly didn’t play well tonight, but it should have won this game. It did everything it needed to do to win, except for two very important things: rebound and execute down the stretch.
Key Box Score Line
Pau Gasol was the best power forward on the floor tonight. He may have been the best player in general, too.
Gasol nearly led the game in both scoring and rebounding. His 25 points were just two shy of Kobe Bryant’s 27, and his 14 rebounds were just three shy of Andrew Bynum’s 17. Gasol was dominant in those two categories and scored his points more efficiently than anyone else in the game by making 12 of his 20 shots.
On a night in which Kevin Garnett notched a clean double-double of 12 points and 12 boards, it was Gasol who was dominant at both ends. Leaving him open was a massive mistake all night, and the C’s consistently paid for it. On top of his great mid-range shooting, Gasol’s hustle on the glass also led to some critical points and possessions for the Lakers.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Lakers' big three each played more than 40 minutes.
- Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field.
- Matt Barnes, a reserve for Los Angeles, attempted six free throws, which was one more than the entire Celtics team.
- Ray Allen led the Celtics with 22 points.
- Jermaine O'Neal played a season-high 32:56.
- Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 27 points.
- There were nine lead changes and nine ties in the game.
- Los Angeles scored 24 second-chance points.
- Each team had two starters attempt at least 20 shots (Allen and Kevin Garnett for Boston, and Bryant and Pau Gasol for Los Angeles).
- Gasol scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
- Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 31 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end.
- The teams combined to commit just 22 turnovers in an overtime game.
- The Lakers were whistled for just 12 fouls in the game.
- Los Angeles totaled just 13 assists on 36 baskets.
- Bryant, Gasol and Bynum combined to score 68 of the Lakers' 88 points.
- Garnett notched Boston's only double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
- Pierce and Rajon Rondo tied for the game high in assists with seven apiece.
- Pierce approached a triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven dimes.
- Derek Fisher went scoreless and missed all seven of his shots.
- Los Angeles shot just 1-of-15 from downtown.
- Pierce played a game-high 48:11.
Quote of the Night
Kobe Bryant on what he said to Doc Rivers after tonight's game: "I told him his son got some big kahones! He should be very proud."