There can be only one main story to this game and it wasn't Kobe, it wasn't the big three, it wasn't even the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. The story of the game was the Beast Kendrick Perkins with a career high 21 points to go with 9 rebounds and some solid defense in what was perhaps the best game of his career. Of course the story of the game for my wife was the fact that Ellen Pompeo was sitting courtside right next to the C's bench. Thus the title of this post, "Beauty and the Beast" that my wife came up with.
Of course, any game where the Celtics beat the Lakers could be described as "beautiful" anyway. The rivalry is not anywhere near it was in the glory days, but it is nice that both teams have marquee superstars (for now at least, that could change for LA any moment) and legit playoff teams. On the other hand, I was a little surprised by how 2 dimensional the Lakers offensive attack was. If it isn't Kobe creating shots for himself, it was three pointers launched by everyone else. When the shots were not falling, they fell behind by 20 plus points. When the shots did fall, they were able to climb back into the game and make it somewhat interesting down the stretch.
In stark contrast was the balanced approach by the Celtics. Four starters scored between 18 and 21 points and Rondo dished out 10 assists (to go with Paul's 9 dimes). Everyone had time to shine and everyone that played got at least a basket. Perkins got it started early as it seemed like the team was rewarding him for all his hard work on defense by getting him some quality offensive looks early on. As the Lakers interior defenders cheated over on Garnett, Perkins was once again able to get to open areas, catch the passes rifled at him, and finish strong around the hoop. He showed a lot of agility in avoiding defenders, finding the 3 inches of open space under the hoop, and getting the ball up and into the basket. Just a great, great night for him and my puffed my chest out with pride for him.
You have to think that Danny Ainge has just as much pride in the guy that he picked up in his first NBA draft several years ago. He knew that in this league you need a quality big man and he was willing to be patient with Perk as he developed his body and adjusted his game to the NBA and then fought through injuries last year. His patience has been rewarded thus far this year as Perkins plays a great tandem role with Garnett on defense and is able to benefit from the open looks KG gives him on offense.
So all in all it was a fun night. I will say that it was a little anti-climatic to see the Lakers not put up more of a fight. It almost seems like now that we've finally come to the fight with a stacked deck only to see the Lakers packing up and getting ready to hit the "rebuild" button. Oh well, as long as Phil Jackson doesn't pass Red anytime soon, I'll be fine with that.
The Celtics, for one night and probably for the near term future, have the upper hand. All is right in the world once again.
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