Game 3 of the NBA Finals was a defensive showing that ended up having an offensive team win, buoyed by Kobe Bryant's 36 point performance. However a great deal of credit for the Lakers' win, must be given to the dismal performances of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce who only combined for 19 points with a 22.9 shooting pct. In this case the playoff's most silent member of the big three (Ray Allen) stepped up and had the big game with 25 points (15 from three pointers).
If the Celtics hope to steal game 4 from the Lakers at least two thirds of the big three must show up and have big performances. The key factors for the Lakers will be how Gasol and Garnett respond to way below average scoring nights in game 3 and whether Kobe can put up 35+ points in game 4 the same way he did in game 3. If Gasol is able to have a big night and score in the 20+ points ball park the Lakers should win if Kobe makes his free throws and has another collosal night.
For the Celtics, Paul Pierce must return to playing Finals MVP caliber basketball the way he did in games 1 and 2. At the same time Garnett must put himself in that 25 point 10 rebound range. If the Celtics can do this with Allen playing efficiently and Rajon Rondo contributing they should win. The playoff trend for the Celtics seems to have been that when Pierce and Garnett are on their games the whole team plays decently and the team pulls through for a win. However the Celtics highly vaunted defense must contain Kobe because Kobe is unpredictable and can explode for 50 or more points at any time.
Prediction: Lakers 110 Celtics 98. Gasol will come out playing physically and he will set the tone in the first half. Expect a big game from Kobe, I think he will explode and have the best game of the series. With Radmanovic, Vujacic and Fisher chipping in the Lakers should set an offensive tone in this game that the Celtics won't be able to keep up with.