Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Derek Fisher added 16 to lead Los Angeles to a 91-84 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and give the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
Bryant had 25 points after three but did not score for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. That's when Fisher took over, adding four key baskets after Boston winnowed a 17-point first-half lead to one point.
The Lakers regained home-court advantage they had lost when Boston took Game 2 in Los Angeles. Game 4 is Thursday night in Boston.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: In basketball, there’s a saying that ‘you can’t teach the height’. In game three of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics couldn’t beat the Los Angeles Lakers’ height.
It didn’t matter that Kevin Garnett turned back the clock with an inspired performance. It didn’t matter that Rajon Rondo was brilliant. It didn’t matter that the green-and-white’s bench had a big second half.
It also didn’t matter that Kobe Bryant had an off shooting night or that Ron Artest struggled with foul trouble.
On Tuesday evening, the Lakers were bigger and stronger and ultimately better. For instance, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom were especially effective in the middle, disrupting passing lanes and contesting shots with their length.
Size was one factor. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce’s poor play was another.
Allen, who hit an NBA Finals record 8-three pointers in game two, missed every shot he took in game three, while Pierce wasn’t much better, going 5-for 12 from the floor, and ending with a disappointing 15 points.
This was Pierce’s second consecutive sub par performance and it came on the heels of his claim the Celtics ‘ain’t going back to LA!’
Of course, one of the Lakers’ smallest players, Derek Fisher, played like a giant. The veteran went 6-for-12 with 16 points, which included a courageous 5-for-7 shooting display in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
Yes, height was the difference in game three. So was the size of Fisher’s heart.
Got thoughts on game four? Get at us in the comment box below.
These have been forgettable games for Lamar Odom, a sixth man gone asunder in the most important series of the season.
The Lakers aren't playing Phoenix any longer, as Odom could definitely attest, the 14 points and 11.8 rebounds he averaged in the Western Conference finals apparently a thing of the past now that the Lakers are playing Boston in the NBA Finals.
Odom had a five-point, five-foul debacle in Game 1 that somehow got worse Sunday in Game 2, when he finished with three points and five fouls in the Lakers' 103-94 loss.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He is the Los Angeles Lakers’ barometer.
When Lamar Odom has his A-game, the Lakers are unbeatable. No other team can bring a versatile, play all five positions type off the bench?
But Odom is somewhat of an enigma. Most of the time, he's brilliant. Some of the time, he disappears.
For instance, former coach and ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy often calls the four-man a top thirty player in the NBA.
At times, such praise is warranted. Last year, he was brilliant as a sixth man for the purple-and-gold. And years ago, he looked like the second coming of Magic Johnson when he led an upstart Miami Heat squad to the second round.
Odom's reputation for going MIA prompted Phoenix Suns star Amar’e Stoudemire to call his 19 point, 19 rebound performance in game one of the Western Conference Finals 'lucky'.
Unfortunately Odom has vanished through the first two games of the NBA Finals (he's averaging a sub par 4 points and 4 rebounds). This doesn’t bode well for the Lakers, so here’s how Coach Jackson fixes the situation:
1) Go to Odom early and often. The coaches must put him in the game no later than half way through the first quarter.
2) Get him involved. Derek Fisher or Kobe Bryant, the veteran leaders, should call a play or two for him in the half court set.
3) ‘Run, Lamar, Run’. Odom needs to use his length and athleticism to score easy points in transition.
4) Get on the glass. Odom is at his best when grabbing rebounds. The other parts of his game follows suit.
Got thoughts on how the Lakers get Odom going?
Striking a similar tone as he did in Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce directed a bold prediction at Lakers fans in the final minutes of his team's victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
After Pau Gasol committed a hard foul on Kendrick Perkins with 1:12 remaining in Game 2 and the Celtics leading, 97-90, Pierce, as he helped his teammate off the floor along the baseline near the hoop was heard on video replays yelling, "We ain't coming back to LA!"
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Paul Pierce has reason to be confident.
Yes, his Boston Celtics looked solid in taking game two of the NBA Finals. And yes, the heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers' struggled on Sunday evening.
Pierce's outburst was, in part, due to the championship series switching to a 2-3-2 game format, meaning the lower seeded team - the Celtics in this case - have the next three matches in Boston.
The league uses a 2-2-1-1-1 game format for the first three rounds of the playoffs and critics believe the 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals gives the lower seed an unfair advantage.
Years back, the suits at league head office thought the 2-3-2 format was appropriate for the NBA finals because it reduced travel. Today, every team has their own luxurious, five-star plane, so travel isn't as great an issue.
With the next three games in Boston, the 2-3-2 format is an issue for the Lakers. And this has Pierce confident he "ain't coming back to LA!"
Will the Celtics finish the series at home? Is the 2-3-2 format fair? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.
HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: The only thing better than an original is a sequel. Not in all cases, but wasn`t game 2 of the NBA Finals far more competitive and entertaining than game one?
The good folks at NBA.com agree. They`ve made another mini-movie of game two highlights, so click the video below and relive this barn-burner between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
Ray Allen scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half with a record-setting 3-point shooting display, Rajon Rondo completed a triple-double down the stretch and the Boston Celtics evened the NBA finals with a 103-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 Sunday night.
Allen hit a finals-record eight 3-pointers in a dazzling effort for the Celtics. Rondo then took charge after Allen cooled down, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his fifth playoff triple-double to hand Los Angeles its first home loss of the postseason.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They came. They saw. And they got their all important split on the road.
After winning one-of-two games in Staples Center, the Boston Celtics have momentum against the defending champion and heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers.
There were three reasons Boston turned the table against L.A., and took game two:
1) Obviously, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had terrific games. Rondo dropped a Jason Kidd like, triple-double, while Allen stretched the defense with an NBA Finals record eight-3 pointers.
2) Rondo, Allen, and the Celtics got points in transition. For instance, the Celtics ran quick pick-and-rolls and pushed the ball, which surprised the Lakers' defense.
3) Boston got back to blue-collar basketball. They ran down loose balls. They set the tempo. And they out-hustled LA. This intensity and effort, led by reserve Glen Davis, was a major reason Kobe Bryant was in foul trouble most of the night.
The next three games of the NBA Finals are in Boston. If the Celtics can keep momentum and hold at home, they may just secure their eighteenth championship banner.
Got thoughts on game two? Get at us in the comment box.
Lakers big man Pau Gasol said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is not the player he used to be, but Boston coach Doc Rivers stressed on Friday that there is nothing physically wrong with KG.
The Lakers held Garnett to 16 points and only four rebounds in a 102-89 win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Did you miss game one of the NBA Finals? Or did you catch the opening tilt between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, but wanted a refresher before Sunday's game two?
Well, the good folks at NBA.com have a movie style video of the game one highlights for your viewing pleasure. So enjoy!
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: You knew ABC would respond.
Clearly, the rights holder for the NBA Finals wasn't pleased that LeBron James' upcoming interview on CNN with Larry King was making headlines. After all, CNN is ABC's rival. And The Two Kings were upstaging the championship series.
In an attempt to minimize the King interview, ABC announced on Thursday that they'd be re-airing their Nightline interview with James following game one of the NBA Finals.
So ABC and CNN are competing over James. This will be repeated on July 1st when the three-man becomes a free agent, only teams, not media conglomerates, will be doing the competing.
Watch the Nighline feature with James and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It's here.
After a multiple day wait, game one of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers is finally here. To celebrate HoopsVibe News has a video preview to get you hyped (originally found on dimemag.com). Watch the clip and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Like you, HoopsVibe News loves having the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals because of the controversy.
For instance, in 2008, you'll remember these two met, clashed, and fought for championship glory. The mighty green-and-white of Boston prevailed, in part, because of Paul Pierce's heroics in game one.
The All-Star injured his knee, but - in a moment that reminded many of Willis Reed emerging from the Madison Square Garden tunnel to lead the New York Knicks to victory on a sprained ankle - returned to lead the Celtics' comeback.
Was it really heroic?
Of course, there were doubters, especially amongst Laker-nation. They felt Pierce exaggerated the injury. They felt he wanted to set the stage for his dramatic return.
Others, however, believed Pierce displayed tenacity and guts by playing through the pain. And Boston fans see it as the defining moment of his proud career.
The Truth, pun intended, may be somewhere in the middle.
Was Pierce's return in 2008 acting or heroics? Was he faking or hurt? Watch the clips below and get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.
(The case for Pierce faking!)
(The case for Pierce having a legit injury!)
The King has spoken to Larry King.
LeBron James, the NBA's two-time MVP on the cusp of free agency, taped a sit-down interview at his home Tuesday with King. The segment will air Friday on CNN's "Larry King Live."
James has not talked to the media since the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. The 25-year-old heads a star-studded free agency summer class featuring Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer and others.
HoopsVibe's Quick Call: What will the two Kings chat about? Perhaps, they'll solve world hunger. Perhaps, they'll discuss the floundering financial situation in Greece and ways to combat debt contagion. Or perhaps, they'll craft out a two-state solution for peace in the Middle East.
After all, Larry just got off idol week, while LeBron is still smarting from getting trounced in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the upstart Boston Celtics. Do expect Larry to ask LeBron where he'll sign next season, and expect LeBron to tell politely Larry nothing.
So why is James doing the interview? Why is the intensely private superstar having the CNN mogul in his home?
Well, first, James hasn't spoken to the media in some time and it doesn't get bigger than Larry King. And second, this is his people's not so subtle way of reminding the basketball world - during the NBA Finals, mind you - 'The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010' is nearly upon us.
What will the two kings talk about on Friday? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.
Now the Celtics. They led, 3-0. They let it get away, losing Game 4 in overtime. In Game 5 Wednesday in Orlando, they were spanked. When the game was finished, they had two guys with concussions, one who was ejected, and a few others hurting.
We wonder if this might be the sports god taking revenge for what the Red Sox did to the Yankees in 2004 — the 3-0 comeback to end all 3-0 comebacks. Is this Garden gag of 2010 some kind of macabre payback for the Biblical revival of the Idiotic gang, who shucked 86 years of hard-luck hardball?
Don’t go to that dark place, people. Not yet. The Celtics are going to win tonight. They have a healthy Big Three. They have Rajon Rondo ready to answer Jameer Nelson. They have Kendrick Perkins, granted a stay by the NBA’s behavior police.
HoopsVibe's Call: There's no reason to panic, but there's cause for concern in Boston.
After all, the Bruins, the city's beloved NHL team, held a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Bruins are now golfing, while the Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cups Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Of course, the Celtics were up 3-0 and seemed on cruise control to the NBA Finals. Then the Magic appeared, winning the last two games.
Tonight, however, is do-or-die for Boston. Winning a game-seven clincher in Orlando, after dropping a 3-0 lead, might be too much, even for a veteran Celtic squad that plays air-tight defense.
Is game six a must-win for Boston? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.
Kobe Bryant is absolutely disgusted. I’m hearing the buzz. I am feeling the tremors. I smell fear. What’s going on?Read More