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I know it’ll be said, and you all know it’ll be said – that the Lakers won this game because the Celtics had a depleted roster. Well to Doc Rivers and his “Lakers never beat us when…” philosophy, I say, cancel my subscription, I’m done with your issues. The Lakers won, not because Boston didn’t have enough players, but because they a) played to their strengths – length and Kobe Bryant b) played defense and c) remained poised until the very end.

Fans, analysts and even the Lakers themselves have gone through the wringer this season for the inability of the defending champions to secure a win against a title contender. All of us watching have grown anxious waiting for the dominant Lakers; the hungry Lakers; the fired up for every game Lakers to show up and run over every team they met. Then Kobe Bryant came on the radio this week and said that, from the beginning, the one word he’d used to signify the 2010-2011 season was patient.

In the third game of their longest road trip of the year, in the arena filled with their biggest haters in the nation, on the night a beloved home team hero would be regaled for making record book history, the Lakers played to victory because they found their focus and maintained that which their fearless leader knew all along they would need – patience.

In their last meeting with Boston at Staples Center, the Lakers were anything but. They forced shots late into each 24 seconds, failed to run any offense, defended haphazardly and therefore ineffectively, their seven-footers played timidly and Kobe Bryant was forced to do too much, too late. Maybe it was the trade talks that got to Andrew Bynum. Maybe it was that “soft” label arising to haunt Pau Gasol. Whatever it was that prompted the Lakers big men to up their game from the last meeting (as there was ample room to rise up from their stinker in January), it was welcomed.

The visiting team had a lot of distractions to contend with on this night. Never mind that they were playing in the most hostile environment. They also had to compete with all the hoopla that surrounded Ray Allen surpassing Reggie Miller’s NBA record for most three-pointers. When Allen hit that record-breaking shot from beyond the arc in the first quarter, the crowd applauded for a good length of time and the game practically came to a halt as Allen took his moment, walking by the TNT table to pay respects to Reggie Miller. With Boston leading 27-20 after the first quarter, the cameras followed Allen as he hugged Miller again, hugged his mom, hugged his wife and kids, shook hands with his teammates and waved to the fans. It was quite the spectacle, and the Lakers had every chance to be distracted, but they perked up to attention instead.

After getting behind by 15 points, the Lakers buckled down their defense and found their offense, going on a 10-0 run to get within five points before a late Boston surge put them behind by eight at half-time. They also committed nine turnovers. But instead of bringing their first-half negatives into the third, they brought their positives instead.

The second half was played by a more focused Laker team. Kobe Bryant started putting his stamp on the scoreboard, and the Laker defense just went stingy. They won the third quarter 27-15 and the fourth 20-18. After giving up 53 points and 51% shooting  in the first half, they allowed just 33 in the second, and Boston shot just 40% for the game. The rebounding battle was also won by the road team, 47-36. As for individual contributions, there were plenty.

20 points on 8-13, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block – the Black Swan cometh. No Kevin Garnett or Big Baby could get in Gasol’s way tonight. If they got in his face, he’d hit a jumper over them. They left him to double Kobe Bryant, he’d cut to receive a pass for an easy basket. And speaking of cuts, as if the blow to Garnett in the last Lakers-Celtics meeting wasn’t enough, Gasol struck again as teammate Lamar Odom tipped in a missed shot and then ran into the Spaniard’s teeth. Odom was patched up temporarily to play but eventually needed eight stitches on his forehead. “Watch out for Gasol’s alter ego,” opponents will now say. He’s even hurting guys on his own team! (cue sarcastic laugh here)

And despite his name being dragged around the trading block, Andrew Bynum played tonight as if to remind the Lakers organization why he means more to this current team than any Carmelo Anthony would. 16 points on 6-10, 9 rebounds, an assist and a no-nonsense block of Kendrick Perkins – this is what Bynum offers every night and this team is far and away a title contender because of it.

After scoring just three points and attempting just three shots in the first half, opting to help distribute the ball to get his teammates involved, Kobe Bryant unleashed his alter ego in the second half. He shot right over Ray Allen and that 3-point record of his again and again, causing Allen’s fourth foul with just under seven minutes left in the third. When former Laker, Von Wafer, came in to replace Allen, Bryant merely continued his field day. He shot over and dribbled past the smaller guard. He drove to the hoop and laid it in over Glen Davis with ease. Late in the game, with the Celtics trying to make a run at the Lakers’ lead, Bryant drew three defenders at the baseline before throwing a pass to Pau Gasol for an open basket before hitting the dagger 60 seconds later. 23 points on 9-17, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block – the Black Mamba clutcheth.

It was a solid win against a solid team and the Lakers are now 3-0 on the road trip. Their second game of this back-to-back is against the Knicks tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks will be looking to avenge their embarrassing 22-point loss, and the Lakers will be looking to ride this momentum.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts:
Boston ain’t a farm, Lakers. No laying eggs tonight. The Celtics are depleted with injuries and it looks like Paul Pierce is playing sick again. Play with focus and aggression. Play with FOCUSED AGGRESSION. Know your game and this won’t be difficult to win.
Half-time Thoughts: 45-53 – The Celtics led by as many as 15 and were shooting 56% at one point. The Lakers didn’t come into this game half as ready and aggressive as we’d hoped, but a 10-0 run cut the lead and the road team are taking advantage of their size with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum leading the way with 12 points a piece, and the points in the paint belonging to the Lakers in a big way, 28-10. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher are just 2-6 from the field but have a combined seven assists. The hoopla over Ray Allen breaking Reggie Miller’s 3-point record has charged the home team and the crowd and the Lakers need to play above it if they want to win this game.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Turnovers – The Lakers collected nine in just the first half, but only accumulated five the rest of the game. They have to start getting into a habit of taking care of that ball though. With teams like Boston who are ready to run the break, the Lakers can’t afford to give away easy points off mistakes.
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Kobe Bryant closed the game in Mamba fashion, but Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum played like the prized possessions that they are on this team. Unlike their last meeting with Boston, the Laker bigs actually played BIG – on both ends of the court. You simply can’t teach length.

  • FAKERS FOREVER!!!

    Ana?
    You are so fast to blog after fakers pathetic victory…
    Last time fakers lost….I could not find your blog until almost next day….hahahahah

    You are done with issues?
    I am done with your idiotic theory…moron..

    It is true fakers never beat CELTICS or HEATS with their full strength…you know better.

    It is true fakers barely won today against 9 CELTICS players.

    It is true fakers don’t have a defense. Please, Please stop bringing up the defense thing…you don’t have it.

    Was that all you fakers could do?
    Barely won over banged-up CELTICS?
    What a pathetic theory you have there…
    You are disgusting….please don’t blog here
    What defense you are talking about….it was not fakers, but CELTICS just did not have man power today.
    You know what?
    They will be in full strength by the playoffs.

    Lastly, Anna, I thought you were one of those intelligent fakers fans.
    What a disappointment you are!!!!!

    • Hammers

      Reading this made me dumber. Go Lake show, good win on the road tonight!

    • sam30

      Hahahaha. If you had stopped to even think for a second, you’d realise that the Lakers (a) are missing two pieces of their own (and have been for quite some time), (b) only played nine guys themselves, and (c) nearly every time these teams have played each other in recent memory, someone has been injured on one side or the other.

      Re: (a)
      Yes, they players they’re missing are reserves, but the same is true for the Celtics. Their starting 5 was intact, as was the Lakers’.

    • andy

      as opposed to the celtics beating the lakers by 1 measly point when kobe didnt play last year? man, sometimes you celtic fans pov is way too subjective. open ur eyes u pricks

    • lakers2000

      Hey moron (as you like to say a lot), this is a Laker site. Not a Celtic excuse board. What a trolling douce!

    • Anna

      First of all, Fakers Forever, thank you for seeking my postgame posts. Is it cuz Celtic bloggers are such pathetic homers? Second of all, Boston is so full of excuses it’s sad. They had a 3-2 series lead in last year’s finals and got blown out in game 6. They had. 13-point lead in game 7 in the 3rd quarter and lost it to a Laker team who could barely put the ball in the hoop. And last night, the Celtics another double digit lead AT HOME. At least the Lakers own up to their shortcomings. Celtics and their fans hide behind injured rosters and wheelchairs.

    • LakersFirst

      Remind us again …… WHO IS THE BACK TO BACK NBA WORLD CHAMPIONS??? That’s right, you know who it is you f*ggity little b*tch.
      With regards to the Suckdic injuries, hey its not our fault that the Suckdic team are a big bunch of p*ssies that can’t play through injuries.

    • the lakers rock!!!!!!

      youre banged up because u keep signing mommies like the 2 o’neal’s u faggot, we beat your ass tonight and back in the finals, and while we celbrated u cried hahahahaha. u celdicks live in the past, we are the present. while we rise more banners, you celdicks create excuses, nice legacy fuckers!!!!

    • EMoney

      @FAKERS FOREVER!!!

      Are you an idiot….First of all we beat your tail in the Finals last year (and don’t give me that Kendrick Perkins crap either…Andrew Bynum was out for most of that series…in fact he missed more time than Perkins). And second of all your Bean Boys shot about 30% for the second half….so get back to us when you can present facts and not a bunch of cry baby comments……….30% shooting in the second says they play pretty good defense. But, oh wait, Celtics fans or players can never admit that another team outplayed them. It’s always we didn’t do this, or he was out, or________ (fill in the blank here). It’s never they took away what we wanted and we couldn’t adjust…….

    • #1 Lakers fan

      yo uh fakers forever, you best shut up now!!! cuz u dont know crap, u just jealous of the lakers. they are and continue to be the single best team in the nba. dont talk crap until you go pro, which we all know you will never accomplish. so SHUT UP!!!!!!!

  • FAKERS FOREVER!!!

    ANA!
    I ONCE LIKED YOUR BLOG, BUT TODAY, YOU ARE A DISAPPOINTMENT AFTER READING YOUR BLOG.

    • scared to death

      maybe you forgot this is a lakers blog. go to your celdicks blog and go show your disappointment there because i tell you we wont mind you at all here because we are riding on a high note while you are there on the ground still thinking why oh why im still here and im growing old just like the rest of my celdicks boys and still im a big looooser.

    • LakerMarc

      well in that case, get lost! Faker

  • scared to death

    THIS IS WHAT LAKERS ARE CAPABLE OF, AND THAT IS WHY THE REST OF THE LEAGUE IS SO AFRAID OF THE LAKERS.

  • SHOWTIME4EVA

    The celtics organization and their fans have built in excuses.they’ll all be crawling out from under rocks with this loss.the G.O.A.T might be a little older but he’s still Kobe and when we need to win, this team responds. in the end we are just a better team than boston.

  • rowley

    @fakersforever .. get a fucking life you piece of shit.

  • rowley

    and fuck the celtics. 3peat bitches

  • lilkobe24

    STD:STEVE BLAKE..

  • Rafael

    Rivers and Perkins kept arguing that LAL wouldn’t have beat them in game 7 if Perkins had played.
    Well, he was playing last night, and so was Andrew Bynum (absent from game 7, but to the Cs that is not important to mention), and what happened??

  • LakersEnElCoco

    Does anybody know were I can watch this game?
    Cause I missed it because I had school and I dont know were to watch previous games. If someone could help I would appreciate it :)

    • LakerMarc

      They repeated it on NBA TV last night at 11pm to 1:15am . Check the listings they will prob play it again

  • TOUCHING_MYSELF

    GREAT ARTICLE AGAIN ANNA! I totally agree with you on your reasons as to why the Lakers won the game in your opening paragraph. Your A and B were mos def a huge part of the contributing factors, but I think that the biggest factor of all was C, that the boys in the purple and gold kept their poise all night long!

    The Lakers played like WORLD CHAMPIONS last night. They know that the CHAMPS are gonna get everyone’s best shot and they just took it and absorbed it and even when they were down in the rounds on the score cards, they waited patiently for the most opportune times to unload their own flurry of punches to the challenger!

    At a time that we’re so accustomed to seeing Kobe’s obvious dismay towards his teammates missed assignments or the teams lack of concentration on the defensive end, I was quite shocked and pleasantly surprised to see Kobe not phased nor visibly upset when the Celd!cks extended their lead to 15.

    He simply, got the ball and threw it to a teammate for him take the ball out. That was just so refreshing to see! It’s great to see Kobe just being poised and not throwing his usual tirade at his teammates when things aren’t going right.

    Also, I would have to throw in Artest and his defense and LO and his rebounding and his 2 critical shots as keys to the Lakers win! That put back just before getting “bit” by Pau and the 3 that extended the Lakers’ lead from 2 to 5 were so huge!

    I’m sure that LO had plenty of Snickers and Ron Ron had another great session with his shrink before the game last night.

    2 other observations from last night… I loved how Kobe was NOT about to be posterized by Ray Ray’s record breaking 3 pointer! Kobe took a step towards Ray and then cooly backed off when he realized that he had no chance of contesting that shot. The second was how awkward Kobe sounded in complimenting Ray on his accomplishment. It was great!

    p.s. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK ANNA!

    • #1 Lakers fan

      yo touching myself, shut up. ur such a fag. ana knows nutin just like u. so go crawl under a boulder u lifeless homo.

      • TOUCHING_MYSELF

        I know that you’re the homo, you stupid ass cunt! And if you had any sense of reading comprehension, then you’d know that I’m not a homo, but JUST LOVE MYSELF! That’s why it’s TOUCHING_MYSELF, not touching_another dude, you fcukin jack ass!

        And really… crawl under a boulder”? The saying is “crawl under a rock”. Get the sh!t right, you illiterate fcuk!

        You should just do yourself a big favor and STFU! You’re an embarrassment to yourself and to your parents. It’s offsprings like you that keeps me on the PRO CHOICE side on the abortion issue! You’re just a total waste of atoms and sucking up our natural resources for no apparent reason!

  • LakersFirst

    Where is that f*ggot Nick at???? Ain’t talking sh*t now is he. I swear Paul Pierce has got to be the biggest p*ssy in the NBA, using a little cold as an excuse. I’m surprised he didn’t walk out on the floor with a respirator. HAHAHA. It’s always nice to see the Suckdics lose.
    Now show some respect for your BACK TO BACK NBA WORLD CHAMPIONS you f*ggity little b*tch (when was the last time the Suckdics could say they were back to back champs – HAHHAHAHAHAHA)

    • LakerMarc

      I’m tired of his fucking buck teeth…he kept cussing last night in the last couple of minutes you could easily read his lips and he was like “Fuck! Fuck!” So sorry Bugs!!!

  • 242LakerFan

    A great win for Laker fan but a sad day for a closet celtic fan like me..

    • 242LakerFan

      Wow, check it out! The Lakers get a big win and look what comes crawling out from the dank pile of old clothes in the corner of the basement, leaving a trail of sticky mucus. It’s Hack!
      Welcome back Hack. I was really starting to miss your piss-poor grammar and inane, sophomoric comments. How are things in the land of I-haven’t-the-self-confidence-to-use-my-own-name-and-face?

  • fingerpointin

    lakers,sure looked dangerous coming out in the third quarter,,,,,seemed they just played with the celtics,,,,not to promising for boston come june.