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Monday, January 31, 2011

Ain't no party like a West Coast party, cause a West Coast party don't stop

Can we just fast forward to June and the trilogy finale of the Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals for the third time in four seasons?

It seems only fitting. Yes, if the Celts get to the Finals this summer, I'm not going to complain about who they're playing (San Antonio would also be fun) but come on, you have to want the Lakers. Unfinished business, right?

The teams met yesterday afternoon at the Staples Center in LA for the first time since last June when the Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games.

This being the NBA, regular game meetings mean zilch (see Boston losing to Phoenix on Friday and the Lakers falling to the Kings-think they both were looking ahead?) but it's always nice to get a win in front of the beautiful people and frauds of LA.

Boston (36-11) came out on top of Los Angeles (33-15) 109-96.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 41 points but he also did it without recording one assist. Props to him, that's pretty hard to do.

As the Celts did in 2008, they used more balance and defense (something the Lakers are still allergic to) to take this one. The teams meet again in Boston a week from Thursday and from then on, we have to hope and pray that they do it one more time in June.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 32 points, Ray Allen had 21 points, Kevin Garnett put up 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while Rajon Rondo notched 10 points and 16 assists.

The Celtics bench was great mainly thanks to Glen Davis (13 points) and Nate Robinson (11 points).

With the way the Lakers have struggled at times this season, it was still interesting to see it up close. They seem to be in the same boat as the Celtics, they coast through the regular season because it doesn't really matter (except for home court).

When Lamar Odom (15 points) is your most consistent second option, you're probably not going to win a championship, sorry Khloe. Pau Gasol (12 points) looked too European as usual and Andrew Bynum (11 points) is just wasting time until he suffers another knee injury.

Ron Artest (3 points) appears lost and Derek Fisher (5 points, 4 assists) might finally be washed up, those look like the biggest issues for LA since they don't have anybody to pick up the slack in those positions.

The Cs were up 22-21 after the first quarter but the Lakers took a 52-50 lead into halftime. For once, Boston came out strong in the third quarter (27-18) and capped it off with an even more impressive fourth quarter (32-24) as they withstood LA's pathetic comeback attempt ie. getting out of Kobe's way while he took every shot.

Boston shot a season-high 60.3% to Los Angeles' 44.4%. Thanks to Pierce, Allen and Robinson who all made three 3-pointers, the Celts made five more 3-pointers than the Lakers (9-4). LA hit eight more free throws (20-12) which is a no-brainer at home but Boston grabbed 13 more rebounds (43-30). The craziest stat is assists, which the Celts won 34-10, not a misprint. The Cs had seven more turnovers (15-8) and the Lakers scored 13 more fast break points (18-5).

Don't you wish there were more regular season games like this? Ah well. Boston concludes its West Coast road trip with a game in Sacramento tomorrow night. It has trap game written all over it but with such a superior team, the Celts should be able to survive and come home 3-1 on a tough trip.

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