LA Lakers 87 Boston Celtics 81 : It is no surprise that the Lakers won Game 3 after losing the first two games in Boston and I think most people expected the Lakers to play better coming home. With the Lakers shooting 13 more foul shots than the Celtics and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combining to shoot 8 of 35 from the floor, the surprise is that the Lakers still only won by 6. It looked as though Boston had a chance to steal this game but in the end they just didn't have enough offense.
Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers as you would expect and he really set the tone for his team by coming out aggressive in the first quarter. The Lakers as a whole seemed to have a lot more energy and aggressiveness then they did in the first two games. Kobe had a great night finishing with 36 points on 12 of 20 shooting, It also helped that he went to the free throw line 18 times, knocking down 11.
While Kobe had a great game, the rest of the Lakers pretty much sucked to be honest. The only other Laker who played well and contributed more than a few buckets was Sasha Vujacic. The self-proclaimed machine finished with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 3 of 5 from deep. Jordan Farmer only scored 5 points but he did add 5 assists and 4 rebounds off the bench.
The rest of the Lakers? Well, not so good. Pau Gasol was 3 of 9 from the floor, with only 9 points but did have 12 rebounds, although in this game of bricks he could have had 12 rebounds fall in his lap. Lamar Odom was just 2 of 9 with only 4 points but added 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Derek Fisher was a measly 1 of 6 from the floor and finished with only 6 points.
On the other hand, the Celtics weren't much better as they shot a lowly 34.9% from the floor in Game 3. Ray Allen continues to play well though, which has to be encouraging for the Celtics. Allen led the Celtics with 25 points on 8 of 13 shooting, including 5 of 7 from three. Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins both had effective games scoring 8 points each and combining to shoot 8 of 13 from the floor. James Posey was about the only guy to play well off the bench for the Celtics and he finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
The main problem for the Celtics in Game 3, which I mentioned above is that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce really struggled and combined to shoot 8 of 35 from the floor. Paul Pierce was 2 of 14 from the field, finishing with just 6 points and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Kevin Garnett was just as bad shooting an awful 6 of 21 from the floor and finished with just 13 points. He did add 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 block.
Despite the poor performance by the Celtics best two players, they still had the lead in the 4th quarter with as little as 7 minutes left to play. Now personally, if I was the Lakers I would not feel too encouraged by their Game 3 win because I highly doubt that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will continue to play so poorly. The Celtics had every chance to win this game and they only shot 34.9% and took 13 less free throws than the Lakers. The Lakers should have blown the Celtics out in this game and they didn't, so unless some of the other players on the Lakers start to step it up, I think they should be a little worried.
It will be interesting to see what happens in Game 4 of the series because to me it is pretty much a must win game for the Lakers. If the Lakers win Game 4, then they are right back in the series and set themselves up to possibly sweep their 3 home games. However, if they lose Game 4, then that means they would have to win 3 straight games against the Celtics, including the last two on the road in Boston. That scenario would be highly unlikely and I think the Celtics would be wise to play Game 4 like it was a Game 7 situation.
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