Just a strange, strange game. The Lakers opened up with unreasonably hot shooting, especially Kobe, and you knew it would cool off and that Boston would come back. For the entire second half it felt like Boston was about to seize control of the game, and they just never did.
After the game, I wasn't really sure how LA scored in the fourth quarter. If I had been watching the game without looking at the scoreboard, I would have thought that Boston was up 6-10 points; it seemed like Pierce was going to the basket at will, while Kobe was firing up wild shots. Farmar kept them afloat early in the quarter, Kobe got hot in the middle, and they kind of muddled through with foul shots in the end.
The broadcasting crew, JVG in particular, really butchered LA's effort, basically saying that they didn't deserve to win. I felt like that was a little harsh. I mean, they got strong contributions at different times from many different players, got just enough stops, and finished the game with more points than their opponents. That's the name of the game. It reminded me a little of San Antonio's win over Detroit in Game 7 in 2005; it wasn't clear how they amassed enough points, but they kept pounding that rock, and eventually it split open (with Manu's big dunk at the end).
Umm, Luke, You're on TV
Before the game, they showed Rivers' and Jackson's pregame speeches. Luke Walton is sitting directly opposite Phil Jackson with his hand down his pants, adjusting his crotchal area. Not subtly, either, it's like, "reach reach, juggle juggle juggle, reach, juggle, all right, I got it." This is why it is a bad idea to bring cameras into the locker room.
I also have to mention that Jordan Farmar was also visible in this shot, reclining sans shirt. My wife asked me as she walked through the room "why does that naked guy have such huge ears? You'd think with all the money he makes he could get that surgery (to pin his ears back)."
Kobe Passes to Gasol
This pass, more than anything, encapsulates why I like the Spurs and dislike the Lakers. Kobe and Pau run a pick and roll, and Gasol kind of rolls lazily to the basket while Kobe fires a pass at him with enough velocity to escape Earth's orbit. Kobe gave Gasol an extended grimace, like "come on, catch the ball!" Gasol kind of responded with a "how could I catch a pass like that?" kind of pouty gesture.
If Manu had thrown a laser like that to the front row, Manu would react by pointing to himself and saying "my bad." Then the other guy, let's say Timmy, would pat him on the back on the way back to the bench and be like "no, I should have been rolling harder, then I would have caught it, my fault." No drama, both guys resolve to try harder, and that's that.
Vujacic Wanted to Miss Another Shot
At the end of the first half, Kobe drove the length of the court and fired up a wild shot against basically the entire Celtics' team, while Sasha Vujacic stood at the three point line WIDE OPEN spotting up and waving his hands, calling for a pass that everyone knew would never come. After Kobe missed, Sasha clasped his hands on his head in exasperation, doing everything short of holding up a sign that read "come on, Kobe, pass the f*ing ball!"
I get the feeling with the Lakers numerous times during games that they are playing a "deflect the blame" game with each other. It's gotten them this far, but they have yet to be really pushed until this series. It's not hard to imagine the team splintering when the going gets really tough, to where you have a situation like Phoenix had where they had to break up the team just because their guys couldn't get along.
Bill and Luke Walton at Half
I miss Bill on the games. He reminds me of Jesse "The Body" Ventura's commentary for the WWF in the 80s, with his nonstop hyperbole and his bombastic and nonsensical rants. I just think he's funny, if you realize that he's not being serious with anything he says ("the greatest warrior in the history of civilization").
There's a certain feeling I get when I watch the English version of The Office, or the movie "Meet the Parents," a mixture of entertainment but also dread for the extreme awkwardness of the fictional situation. The Father's Day interview with Bill and Luke at half was off the charts for that feeling. Bill sitting on a couch showing Luke pictures... I don't want to even think about it anymore.
As bad as Luke was in the interview, he's even worse in the games. He is pushing Robert Horry for the title of least effective player of the playoffs.
Seriously, Chris Mihm?
WTF? If I went to the game in a jersey and sat next to the Lakers' bench, would Phil put me into the game?
When I saw that he was assigned to the game, I immediately thought that the fix would be in. However, he called it fair and square, as far as I could tell. Pierce got a lot of FTs, but he drove to the basket relentlessly, and I can't remember a single foul he drew where I disagreed. Anyways, whenever Bavetta made a shaky call (like the two late in the fourth to give five fouls to KG and Pierce), I reflexively wondered if the call was on the up-and-up.
And that's a problem. How can the NBA be so tone-deaf as to assign a referee who is at the eye of the referee scandal? Seriously? What are they thinking? On the heels of sending Crawford to San Antonio, I mean, it's like they are daring us to see a conspiracy. Regardless of whether there is malfeasance or not, the very fact that that is what the casual fan thinks means the NBA can't make these kinds of stupid mistakes.
Series Going Forward
I still think Boston is the better team. I wonder if playing Pierce and Allen such heavy minutes in games 4 and 5 will hurt them in game 6. If the Lakers take game 6, then the seventh will be a tossup, and Boston knows that, and will be going all-out at home to prevent that. Doc will probably give a rousing pregame speech imploring his troops to focus on the trophy ceremony or some such nonsense. The specter of crooked officiating will loom over this game, as everyone will assume the league wants a seventh game.
Hopefully Boston will game 6 and put this season to rest without Phil Jackson eclipsing Red Auerbach's record (not that I have any special affection for Red) and without Kobe tying Timmy D. in the rings department.