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Monday, February 1, 2010

Kobe and the Lakers steal one from the Celts

With a national audience tuning in on ABC, the Celtics had a chance with a full roster (other than Marquis Daniels-is he still alive?) to show the NBA that they're a dominant team.

Results were mixed as they played well at times (second and third quarter) and fell on their face at the start and in the end when it mattered most.

The Lakers (37-11) walked away with a 90-89 win at the TD Garden yesterday afternoon as Kobe Bryant (19 points, 8-of-20 shooting) hit a contested jumper with 7.3 seconds left to put LA up one and Boston (29-16) could only muster a fadeaway 3-pointer attempt by the buzzer from the ice cold Ray Allen (7 points, 2-of-10 shooting) that bounced harmlessly off the rim.

Kobe is a superstar and even during a bad performance, he still rises up when it matters most and hit the biggest shot of the game. Ray on the other hand, a possible Hall of Famer, is nonetheless rapidly losing his game (shooting) and yet the Celtics seemed to be blind to that fact.

Paul Pierce (15 points), Eddie House (9 points) or Kevin Garnett (10 points) should have taken that shot. Rajon Rondo (21 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds) was another option since he can get to the basket and was having a great game.

One of the most frustrating parts of the NBA is the late-game reliance on 3-pointers and impossible shots. Why not take it to the basket and force the slimy refs to make a call?

Anyways this turned out to be a much more exciting game than it looked like it would be in the first quarter. The Lakers are at the tail end of a long road trip but you couldn't tell as they jumped out to a 30-19 lead. Andrew Bynum (19 points, 11 rebounds) was a beast inside.

Strangely enough, the Celtics received their biggest spark and stayed in the game based on the contributions from its most up and down player, Tony Allen. His roller coaster game was at its best as he scored 14 points, continually taking it to the hoop against LA's suspect defense.

Rondo also got going with nine points and eight assists in the second quarter alone as the Celts cruised to a 52-47 halftime lead.

Boston outscored LA 21-19 in the third quarter and looked like they had the win in hand after House drained a three to put the Celtics up 11 early in the fourth quarter. However, since its Christmas day win in Orlando, Boston has not been able to handle fourth quarter leads and yesterday was no different as Pau Gasol (11 points, 11 rebounds), Ron Artest (11 points) and the Lakers took the fourth 24-16.

Other than Kobe's clutch shot, a shaky offensive foul on Pierce with the Celts up one and with under a minute left was the second biggest play of the game. It was a weak call at a critical moment but you have to expect that in the NBA and furthermore, the Celtics didn't deserve to win since they crumbled in the fourth quarter.

After losing all three games to Orlando, Atlanta and Los Angeles, the Celts go to DC tonight for what is basically a must-win. The Wizards are bad and Boston needs some type of positive momentum to build on before the All-Star break.

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