Even if you’re not a huge sports fan you probably know that the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have one of the most intense rivalries in sports history. And last night’s game definitely did not disprove this as the Lakers (15-11) were able to grind out a one-point victory over the Celtics (14-11), 88-87.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists, and the Lakers’ big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol came up huge at the end.
Bryant was nothing short of amazing, hitting tough shot after unbelievable shot time after time in this game. However, it was the Lakers’ big guys who had some of the biggest plays down the stretch.
With under three minutes left in regulation, Bynum (16 points and 17 rebounds, seven offensive) converted on a three-point play, putting the Lakers up 80-79. Ray Allen (22 points on 9-20 shooting) would eventually fire back with a three-pointer to put the Celtics back up, 82-80. Down by two with under 20 seconds remaining, Steve Blake attempted to throw a lob into Andrew Bynum, which was deflected. Blake managed to get the ball back and pass it to a cutting Bryant who raised up and took a jumper along the baseline and missed, but Pau Gasol (25 points and 14 rebounds on 12-20 shooting) was there to tip it in with 9.8 seconds left. Mickael Pietrus’ 30-foot jump shot wouldn’t come close, and the game was set for overtime.
Bryant would remain aggressive in overtime (when is the Black Mamba not aggressive?) and score the first basket of the overtime period, followed by a long two pointer by the just-back-from-injury Steve Blake (5 points on just 2-7 shooting, but the second make with great timing). Paul Pierce (18 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) scored the next five points of the game, placing the Celtics up by one. Bryant would miss again after pulling up along the baseline, but this time it was Andrew Bynum who came through with a huge tip-in, overpowering the Celtics’ defense to take an 88-87 lead with 1:30 left in OT. After misses by Kevin Garnett (12 points, 12 rebounds on 6-23 shooting) and Kobe Bryant, the Celtics had a chance to win with just six seconds left on the clock. Pierce missed, Allen got the rebound and had a chance at a tip-in, but Pau Gasol immediately put his long arm up and blocked the shot as time expired, and that was all she wrote.
In addition to the “Big Three” for the Lakers (Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum), Matt Barnes was the fourth leading scorer, tallying 11 points on 3-5 shooting from the field, while also grabbing 4 rebounds (3 offensive). Steve Blake, making his return from injury, scored 5 points in 30 minutes, but the Lakers didn’t get much else offensively from the rest of their players. Metta World Peace scored just two points on 1-6 shooting, as did Troy Murphy. Murhpy, however, snatched 9 rebounds and played solid defense throughout. Derek Fisher and Andrew Goudelock were scoreless on a combined 0-9 effort for the Lakers.
As for the Celtics in addition to their “Big Three” (Garnett, Pierce, and Allen), Rajon Rondo scored 14 points and dished out seven assists. Mickael Petrius added nine points, and Brandon Bass added eigh.
Now, let’s break down this Lakers win.
Next Page: The Breakdown