Sunday , Dec , 30 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Hype Unfulfilled: Paul Pierce Steals Show, Boston Celtics Blow-Out L.A. Lakers

Hype Unfulfilled: Paul Pierce Steals Show, Boston Celtics Blow-Out L.A. Lakers

Short shorts. Four first-quarter technical fouls. A psyched Hollywood crowd. This means one thing: the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers were getting ready to battle.

The throwbacks, on-court intensity, and stadium buzz reminded me of a classic Bird-Magic match-up. Of course, the year was 2007, not 1987. And Staples Center was the setting, not The Great Western Forum.

Unfortunately, the game didn’t meet the hype. Boston led most of the night and used a third quarter run to cruise to an easy 110-91 victory. Still, several storylines are worth reflecting on.

  • David Stern and the suits at head office must be pleased the Celtics and Lakers are once again relevant. Consider these clubs’ fate six short months ago. Boston was mourning their lottery misfortune, while L.A. was preparing to mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant.
  • L.A. redefined throwback, starting the game in old school, skin-tight shorts. The crowd howled in laughter; former Laker Rick Fox took several pictures from his courtside seats. The John Stocktons were thankfully replaced with baggier shorts for the second-half.
  • Rajon Rondo missed the game with a sore hamstring. Tony Allen replaced Rondo in the starting line-up and sliced the Laker defense with athletic drives. Eddie House also chipped-in with productive play off-the-bench.
  • Early on, both teams looked nervous. The Lakers, in particular, missed lay-ups and free throws, helping the Celtics establish an early seventeen point lead. However, Kobe Bryant drew several second quarter fouls and his free throws helped the purple-and gold reduce the lead to single digits by halftime. 
  • The Lakers’ best players struggled. Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom shot a combined 12-for-42. And, oddly enough, L.A.’s bench failed to pickup the slack. 
  • However, the Celtics’ best players performed. And Paul Pierce, the Inglewood native, put on a show. He played with passion, nailing big shots, and drawing a second-half charge on Kobe Bryant. Pierce finished with 33 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.
  • Critics have questioned Boston’s record, claiming their win total is inflated because of an easy schedule. Maybe. But their victory over L.A. was impressive. And the Celtics second-half-defense, especially on Bryant, was outstanding.  

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