Fast Break: Lakers hold on to beat Celtics in another classic
|03.11.12 at 6:11 pm ET|
It took a half for the Celtics and Lakers game to truly start, but when it finally did we were treated to yet another classic in the tradition of these two teams. In what might have been the final meeting between the Celtics and Lakers as we know them, the Lakers held on for a 97-94 win.
The second half was one to savor as they traded baskets and leads. The Celtics were up by five points with 2:41 left, but that was when Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum went to work. Bryant made two shots and got off a pass to Bynum at the rim for twisting layup.
The Celtics had a chance to take the lead, but Brandon Bass missed an open jump shot and Bynum muscled home a shot on the other end. On the final possession, a Lakers switch disrupted the final play and left Paul Pierce to miss a long, forced 3. Rajon Rondo got the back tap, but his 3-pointer was short.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Who set the alarm clock? After six minutes, the Lakers had a slim 11-9 lead. Six minutes later, they were up 24-14 and the numbers were hideous. The Celtics shot 6-for-24 in the first quarter, a number that looked even worse when you consider that Kevin Garnett was 3-for-3. (That’s 3-for-21 for the rest of the team if you didn’t feel like doing the math). The only thing that kept the Celtics in the game early were eight first quarter turnovers.
You call that World Peace? Things got hot in the third quarter when Metta World Peace and Pierce tangled under the basket. Garnett intervened, shoves were exchanged and the intensity level finally reached Celtics-Laker levels. The mild skirmish also woke up Peace who scored 11 third quarter points.
Not a happy homecoming: Pierce missed nine of his first 10 shots and never really got into a flow. The Celtics were able to overcome as all five starters scored in double figures, but World Peace gave Pierce all he could handle on the defensive end.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Second quarter reversal: Everything the Celtics did wrong in the first quarter they did right in the second. They worked their offense through Paul Pierce on the post, which led to some easy baskets and opened the floor. Greg Stiemsma and Avery Bradley provided a lift off the bench and the C’s hit the defensive glass, holding the Lakers to just one offensive rebound.
Rondo took advantage of the don’t guard Rondo defense: Like the rest of his teammates, Rondo started slowly making just two of his first even shots. He picked it up a bit in the second and continued through the second half making six of his next seven shots. Rondo finished with 24 points and 10 assists, and had one of his best games against the Lakers.
Brandon Bass steps up: Tasked with guarding Gasol for most of the afternoon, Bass held the 7-footer in check, allowing just 13 points on 11 shots. He dropped 15 on the other end and shot 7-for-12. His missed jumper aside, Bass has a strong game.
Greg Stiemsma too: The Celtics received some troubling news when they found out that forward Chris Wilcox is out indefinitely while he undergoes heart tests. Wilcox’s absence gave Stiemsma an opportunity to play and he made the most of it, recording blocks on both Gasol and Bynum. The Celtics still need another big man, but the 26-year-old rookie was able to hold the fort against the biggest frontline in the league.