In a game where everything was stacked against them, the Celtics showed what they were made of and came up big with a 110-91 win over the LA Lakers. The Celtics were playing in their 4th game in 5 nights and in the second of back to back games after a tough game against Utah. They were missing their starting point guard as Rondo sat out with a pulled hamstring. The refs were terrible with plenty of bad calls going both ways. In spite of all that, the Celtics dominated from start to finish with the Lakers only lead coming at 2-0.
The game was very chippy with 6 technicals called. 3 were on the Lakers and 3 were on the Celtics. Of the 3 on the Celtics, one was on Perk for glaring. Don't the refs know that's his game face? He never said anything, just glared after being fouled on a dunk with no call. The second was on Doc for complaining about a no call where KG was mugged. And the third was on Ray Allen for being tackled by Odom. That one was one of the dirtiest plays I have ever seen. Odom had just gotten his shot blocked by KG and Ray had gotten the rebound. Odom then blind sided Ray with a hard tackle that threw him out of bounds and into the first row. From the replays, Ray didn't retaliate but was called for a technical nonetheless. Odom was given a flagrant foul. It should have been a flagrant 2 as it was a body tackle with no intent to go for the ball and could have caused serious injury.
The Laker's biggest lead was 2 on the first shot of the game. The Celtics built several leads as high as 17 during the game but the Lakers would always come right back. AT the end of the first period, The Celtics lead of 11 was cut to 32-23 on 2 Kobe free throws. In the second quarter, KG and Bynum were battling for a rebound and KG came away with a nasty gash above his eye. He was incredulous that while he was going to the locker room to get stitches, Bynum was shooting free throws. While KG was out, the Lakers cut a 17 point lead to just 5. KG came back in with a bandage over his eye and the Celtics pushed the lead back to 53-42 before Fisher hit a 3 at the buzzer to give the Celtics a 53-45 lead at the half.
The Lakers had come out to begin the game with throw back short shorts but changed back to their regular shorts at the half. But, that didn't help them as the Celtics came out shooting and pushed the lead to 82-66 by the end of 3. KG and Pierce began the 4th period on the bench but came back in when the Lakers started to make a run and stayed in until there was just under 2 minutes to go. One funny sight was when they showed KG and Pierce high fiving the players on the bench and KG poked Big Baby in the eye. The final score was 110-91.
With Rondo sitting out, Tony Allen started at the point and did a good job filling in even though he still looked tentative at times going to the basket. He finished with a season high 16 points to go with 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. House came off the bench and shared time at the point with Tony finishing with 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Ray Allen sat out the last 6 minutes of the first half with foul trouble but was very efficient in the second half while Pierce and KG were on the bench to finish with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist in 28 minutes.
Pierce once again took over the game making tough play after tough play. He finished with 33 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 big steals in the 4th quarter. KG played only 30 minutes as he went to the locker room to get his gash stitched up but he came back in with a vengeance and finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Perk played solid defense inside, closing down the middle for Bynum who fouled out with only 8 points and 2 rebounds. Perk also contributed 7 points and 7 rebounds.
Posey brought energy off the bench and played great defense. He took one very hard charge by Kobe, hustled after loose balls, and finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. Pollard added 1 rebound and 1 steal. Scal, Powe, Pruitt and Big Baby all played limited minutes.
The Celtics won this game with defense. They shot 46% from the field and held the Lakers to 35%. The Celtics won the battle of the boards 49-41. The last time the Celtics went 4-0 on a Western road trip was in 1986 and that puts this team in some very good company. I considered this a must win game because there was no way Phil Jackson should pass Red for regular season victories with a win against the Lakers. It will happen, but not against the Celtics. With a 4-0 road trip, beating two of the West's top teams, this should quiet some of the critics who pointed to the lack of tough competition. The Celtics swept the season series with the Lakers in impressive fashion and have proved that they can face adversity and still win. This team is for real. 26-3. Who would have thought it possible?