The historic rival between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics continued tonight for the first time during this shortened locked out season with the Lakers coming out on top in overtime, 88-87.
Both teams are not what they once were, however nether can be counted out.The Lakers have struggled on the road and have lost 6 of last 10.Either way you look at it, this game was as special as all games are against the Lakers.
Paul Pierce was named to his 10th NBA All Star game today as a reserve for the Eastern Conference squad.Rajon Rondo did not make the squad and was snubbed out by the coaches who vote for the reserves. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum were voted as starters for the Western Conference for the game in Orlando later this month.
Boston has taken a strange approach defensive to start this game by double teaming the ball.Whoever gets the basketball ends up double teamed outside of the inadequate point guards for the Lakers
Offensively Boston has got Ray Allen going while early while sharing the basketball with everyone getting some shots.Ironically, they only have one assist on their first five made baskets.Los Angeles has been able to keep their turnovers down early on beating the double teams resulting in easy baskets.
Boston has slowed their pace of play in the second quarter with the Lakers being the team with good spacing and ball movement.The Lakers are running some fantastic screens for their guards and in the process the Celtic guards are getting lost.
Despite all of the good looks by the young center for the Lakers, Boston has been able to contain the first time All Star but Pau Gasol has been the problem tonight.With the extra attention on Bynum, Gasol has been able to shake a tired Kevin Garnett who has not been able to get his legs in his shot.
Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo have carried this offense because Metta World Peace (formly known as Ron Artest) has cooled down Paul Pierce, who has been on fire lately.With Garnett and Pierce struggling so far in the game, it has put more pressure on the guards and bench.
The third quarter has ended up being a nightmare for the Celtics.Los Angeles took the lead with a big run to end the quarter.Boston displayed a poor passing and stagnant offense as no one was cutting or moving, even the basketball.The Celtics did nothing right to end that quarter as the Lakers size and physicality is catching up on the Celtics.
Expecting anything less than a dogfight tonight against the Lakers would be foolish, as both teams played their tails off in a very strategic game that saw constant changes in line ups and schemes. Each team has adjusted well to each other down to the final possessions as they trade baskets and the lead.
Ray Allen hits a three to put the Celtics ahead by two with under a minute left.On the next possession, the Celtics stand around as the Lakers fumble and bumble their way to a Pau Gasol tip in to tie the game with 9.8 seconds remaining.The Lakers have one foul to give. Mickael Pietrus misses the hail mary three point misses the final shot wide left sending this game into overtime.
In overtime, the same story of exchanging baskets except this time the final shot for Boston resulted in a win or a loss.Unfortunately, it was a loss as Paul Pierce missed the elbow shot over Metta World Peace and Ray Allen gets blocked on the put back off the rebound.