Live from the Finals, Game 6: Lakers vs. Celtics
You folks cheering at home better do some screaming, because your Lakers need all the help they can get drowning out these Bostonians. They seriously know how to yell at whatever this arena is called. There was even a small "Beat L.A." chant going an hour before the game.
Big cheers for Kendrick Perkins, who is starting.
By the way, I know longer feel bad about my nose bleed dwellings. I'm actually seated next to Kevin Blackistone, of "Around the Horn" fame. He's a considerably bigger and more prominent figure than yours truly. That provides me some comfort in a petty kinda way.
And look, David Stern is on the other side of me! Okay, that part isn't true.
Lakers win the tip. That's certainly not a bad start. And 14 seconds before Perkins picks up a foul and Kobe cans a jumper. All in all, not too bad.
11:00 - The Celts fans don't like the charging call against Pierce, but the replay shows it was the right one. PP was neither set nor square when taking the contact from a driving Fisher. Derek hits both freebies.
10:18 - Some tightness by the Celts (a terrible missed trey by Ray Allen against the side of the backboard, Perkins bricking a put back) is finally offset by Rajon Rondo, who strips Gasol and streaks towards the bucket, then dishes out to Allen outside the arc. Money this time for Jesus Shuttlesworth.
9:01 - Kobe pulls up and cans his third three ball early in the game. He's 3-3 from the field, all behind the arc. Good results, but I definitely don't want to see him there all night. But still, great start for Bryant.
END OF THE FIRST: 24-20 Boston. (BK here, as AK is having interweb problems at the Gah-den.)
Not a terrible quarter for the Lakers from a score standpoint, but they aren't looking good in some key areas. First, Pau Gasol has been nonexistent on the offensive end, and has been extremely passive. Four turnovers assigned to him (I might have given one to Kobe that was tagged to Pau, but that's not the point). They need him to find some confidence and start giving the Lakers another outlet. Kobe kept the Lakers in the quarter with some very clutch shooting from downtown, but that can't be expected through an entire game. Defensively, the Lakers are doign a nice job in the halfcourt, but are giving up far too many offensive rebounds (five) and have shot themselves in the foot with six TOs.
That's given the Celtics 24 field goal chances already. Clean up that stuff, and the Lakers might be able to make some progress. Good moves thus far include getting LO on PP more.
8:23- Timeout on the floor, Celtics up by five, 28-23. Boston is making the Lakers a perimeter team. Lots of deep jumpers, and Kobe in particular is having trouble getting some space. They're stagnant right now on that end- LO has found some rhythm and is getting aggressive, but they have to figure out a way to find holes in that Boston O. Inside out.
6:25 - Eddie House connects from distance one possession removed from Posey giving him the idea. Same left corner of the court, same result, pushing the Celtics' lead to nine. Rotating around to cover is leaving guys way open. Everyone needs to make sure not to overcommit and keep a bead on their guy. In particular, Posey was given days to measure up his shot and fire.
Belichick gets puts on jumbotron and gets thunderous ovation. I have nothing against the Pats, but I really hate that dude.
6:15 - Another quick three from Kobe fails to connect. He's enjoyed some early success, but he needs to knock it off with the downtown stuff, especially early in the clock. Take it inside, keep the ball moving.
5:53 - Third foul on Fish around the perimeter, sending House to the line. Farmar checks in.
5:37 - Kobe turns the ball over after working iso'ed in traffic and it slips into House's mitts. Another three ball from Posey comes from it. Theat would be the ninth turnover by the lakers, for those keeping a running tally (and I am).
3:57 - Vlad takes a catch and shoot from Kobe and comes up bad on his first attempt, both from the field and behind the line. He compounds the error by sending Pierce to the line after fouling him (his third) along the baseline. PP shoots a pair and Walton comes in for Vlad.
3:04 - Walton passes up the three ball, steps inside a few, then clangs off rim and eventually to the top of the backboard. The Laker O has gone seriously cold, with Boston outscoring them 15-4 since the 7:50 mark. Time out Boston.
2:12 - After turning the ball over working his way into traffic, Farmar redeems himself with a steal under the Boston basket, then draws a foul going back to rack. One of two fall.
1:12 - A little floater by Rondo under the bucket goes down. The Celts are back up by 18. Scratch that. 20, after KG sinks the fall away floater after picking up LO's second foul. And now it's 21, when the freebie strokes nylon.
23.6 - Some criss cross action between Celtics eventually works the ball into Perkins' hands down low. He works the layup into the goal, making this a 23 point affair, where it sits at halftime. Hard to say which is hurting the Lakers more. A shooting percentage that's plummeted to 30% (8-27 from the field). An absurd 11 turnovers. Getting beat 26-14 on the boards. Being outdimed 17-5. But whatever you label the #1 factor, they all need to be corrected ASAFP if the Lakers want to maintain any prayer of a miracle comeback. We'll see if they can get it together after some halftime Gatorade and orange slices.
11:42 - Boston's first possession is a mid-range jumper by Rondo gone good. That's not what I would categorize as a proverbial "good omen."
10:51 - More movement inside by Boston, with Rondo drawing attention around the tin and kicking out to Ray Ray at the arc. Kobe's late to close. Three ball goes down.
9:52 - After missing from behind the arc, Fish thinks again from that distance after receiving the kick out from LO. Instead, he worms inside and works a layup home, drawing a whistle on Perkins. And one good. L.A. finally gets on the board with a field goal this frame.
9:32 - LO sets up Pau for the dunk. It's back to 24, then back up to 26 after a PP driving layup.
8:48 - Vladdy finally gets on the board after slipping a defender, then parking himself back behind the line to spot up for three. But before any momentum can be found, Rondo drives the lane and picks up a whistle on Kobe. "And one" layup made good. We're still in "tough sledding territory" for the Lake show.
7:30 - An LO turnover creates yet another score for Boston off transition. This time it's Ray Allen, who's left beyond wide open for what's essentially shooting practice for him behind the arc. He drains it.
6:11 - Pau can't handle Fish's pass inside, resulting in... you guessed it... another turnover (a baker's dozen and counting). On the other end, he picks up an offensive on the ground in a scrum with PJ Brown. It's been that kind of night for him... and everyone wearing his uni, really.
5:09 - This game's tone was just neatly summarized, as Pau tries to work his way to the bucket against KG, who stymies Gasol's motion and forces a jump ball while grabbing the rock with ONE HAND. Not a typo, folks. One hand. If you need an example of how and why nothing is going right for L.A. (or how and why everything is for Boston, depending on your POV), there you have it.
2:54 - Time out, Lakers, with a 30-point spread staring them down. I just receive an email. "This isn't going well, love Mom." The woman knows her hoops.
2:49 - Pau gets the chair pulled out from under him by KG, adding another turnover to the mix. No Celtic bucket comes from it, but the Lakers don't get a chance to capitalize. Kobe quickly adds a turnover of his own, with a sequence ending with Rondo at the stripe. One of two go down.
1:47 - Kobe earns a pair at the line after driving and drawing a foul on Brown. Both are good. Coming on the heels of a converted layup, am I the only person wondering why he didn't do more of that earlier on instead of all the long jumpers?
The quarter wraps up with Kobe's 17 foot baseline jumper going errant at the buzzer, leaving the Lakers with 29 points to make up for in the next dozen minutes. That would be a tall order under any circumstances, but the way this team is playing, it's beyond ludicrous to picture. I just want them to go out playing hard, playing with heart and, if we're lucky, maybe playing smart.
Eleven seconds in, we have LO at the strip on another fouled and unconverted layup (0-5 on a tough night) and hitting one of two at the line. Trevor Ariza makes his first appearance of the night.
11:02 - Ariza at the line after drawing the foul underneath the cup on Big Baby. One of two are good. In the meantime, the crowd is chanting "Where is Kobe," in reference to #24 taking a seat on the pine.
10:44 - Clear path foul on Farmar while trying to prevent a layup by Rondo after the point guard receives a Hail Mary from Brown. Curious how the sequence got started? If you guessed "turnover," give yourself a gold star.
9:11 - Allen buries another three, bumping the score to 101-70, Boston. Of course, it's only an 11-possession game, so really, this baby is still wide open.
7:27 - At least the Lakers are getting interesting turnovers now. After pulling down Rondo's miss at the rack, Farmar attempts the Hail Mary alley oop to Ariza. The ball bounces off the backboard and into KG's hands. Points for originality, I guess.
5:21 - Another bomb from distance courtesy of Ray Allen, giving him a grand total of 26 on the night.
They're playing the music from "The Departed." I figured it had to come soon enough.
The "nah nah nah nah, hey, hey, hey, good bye" chant has started up. Frankly, I imagine the Lakers wouldn't mind obliging the invite to leave.
2:21 - Time out Celtics. A jumbotron montage of "Dancing Gino" from the 70s comes up, mixed in with American Bandstand footage. All to the tune of the Bee Gees' "You should be dancing." I desperately wish it came under different circumstances, but I'm also a sucker for anything of that era. I must admit, it's actually kinda cool.
1:30 - Ariza attempts a dispy doodle layup to no avail. Garbage time can't end quickly enough. This is growing tortuous.
Thirty seconds to go. Boston players, staff, and fans are getting ready to storm the court. The baseline is stacked with spectators. This place is about to go insane. KG, PP and Allen are hugging.
4.4 - House dribbles down to a 24-second violation. Then the last four tick away. "We are the Champions" by Queen plays. 131-92 Boston, in a game that was every bit as lopsided as the score would indicate. On the jumbotron, I see Kobe, LO, Turiaf, Fish, and Sasha seek out various Celts to offer congratulations. I'm sure other teammates followed suit. Glad to see the display of class by the Lakers. It's gotta hurt bad, but they're doing the right thing. This will be a tough one for the team and the fans to swallow for quite some time, but this was still a fantastic season that nobody could have seen coming and can only be built upon. Try to remember that while absorbing this sting.
And yes, before you ask, I do smell many a cigar lit up.