November 23, 2007
7:30 PM EST (Comcast SportsNet)
TD Banknorth Garden (Boston, MA)
Announcers: Mike An-Gorman-agement and Tommy "Want to Touch the" Heinsohn ; Gary PoonTanguay and Donny Darko (in-studio) ; Greg "Old Saint" Dickerson (sideline reporter)
Celtics Starting Lineup: Rayden, I've Got a Rajon Rondo, Perk'd Off, Kevvy G, Da Troof
Lakers Starting Lineup: Black Mamba No. 5, Derek Fisher-Price, Andrew Bynumb3r, Lamar Odom and Domber, Ronny Fast and the Turiaf
The Rivalry (note the capital letters) has been dormant for quite awhile now. In fact, it's been at least seventeen years, by my last count.
I remember it well, as the two most storied franchises in professional basketball history saw a major decline in their success levels during the mid-90s ... However, whereas the Celtics have never really recovered from those title-less doldrums, the Lakers were able to make the moves and lure in the free agents to surge ahead and regain their own glory days.
So, we fans had to watch Shaq and Kobe hoist the championship trophies high over their heads ... while those green and white banners in the rafters continued to collect dust, waiting for a new member to join in their ranks.
And yet, things are a little different in the here and now - Mr. Bryant has alienated a lot of people with his on-again/off-again trade demands over the summer, and (even though his teammates have helped put together a respectable 7-4 record thus far) it's looking like La-La Land may be waiting a long time before they get another whiff of the NBA Finals ... Meanwhile, our 9-1 Celtics are grabbing the headlines for all the right reasons; it may still be too early to say whether there's more hype than substance there, but at least we're starting to see some light (however dim) at the end of the tunnel.
This building is rocking right from the start, as Bynum wins the opening tip against Perkins and Odom collects the loose ball; he gives it back inside to Andrew, who backs down Kendrick but misses the hook shot. KG grabs the rebound, and makes the pass upcourt to Pierce; he proceeds to give the ball to Rondo, who swings it around to Ray and he finishes the nice ball movement with a bounce pass inside to Perk for the layup (2-0 11:28).
Odom inbounds the ball to Kobe (which immediately brings down a rain of boos) as he brings it upcourt, then gets it back to Odom who tries an alleyoop pass underneath to Bynum; howwever, Perkins is able to break that up and Rondo collects the loose ball. He pushes things back the other way and finds Pierce for the three-point attempt, but is shot is wide to the right and Bryant pulls down the rebound (to more boos). He sends the ball up to Fisher, who takes a pick from Bynum to get Rajon out of the picture and scores on the layup (2-all 10:48).
Allen works the baseline against Bryant for a layup of his own, then at the other end Kobe pulls up for the three-point shot over Ray and misses; Garnett gets another rebound, and sends the ball upcourt to Rondo. He passes to Ray, who finds Pierce in the corner (as he almost loses the ball out of bounds) and gives it up to Perk for the hook shot in the lane (6-2 9:44).
Bynum tries to answer but comes up with the miss, and Rondo takes down the loose board; he dribbles upcourt himself and spots Allen in the corner for the trey (9-2 9:21).
Nice start to the game ... however, the Celts proceed to miss their next four shots, while a layup by Turiaf gets LA within three with 6:40 on the clock. Rondo then makes a nice pass inside to Perk, where he's fouled by Bynum trying to go up for the dunk. That puts Kendrick at the line as Chris Mihm's The Word comes in to replace Andrew (he has two fouls), where he makes one-of-two free throws (12-8 6:18).
Odom then misses the shot, but gets his own rebound and kicks it out to Fisher. He gives the ball to Kobe, who quickly passes back to Fisher open behind the three-point line (Rajon left him alone to focus on double-teaming Bryant). However, the shot misses, and Perk gets himself a rebound; he passes upcourt to a hustling Rondo, who finds Pierce in the corner and he is able to knock down the three-pointer (15-8 5:40).
Two foul shots by Fisher cuts the lead down to five, while at the other end Ray passes inside to KG but he airballs the fallaway jumper over Turiaf (!); however, Perk gets the loose ball (his third rebound) and is fouled by Derek trying to score on the putback. So, he's back at the line, and makes both of his free throws (17-10 4:53); for the recordd, Kendrick has made 15 of his last 18 free throw attempts (impressive).
Turiaf then tries to score on the pullup jumper over Garnett, but comes up short; KG grabs the rebound and passes upcourt to Rondo. He passes to Ray, who swings the ball around to Pierce, and the captain spies Kevin motoring up the floor. So, he throws up the alleyoop pass to KG for the strong two-hand slam (19-10 4:18).
The crowd likes that, but they like it even better when Pierce proceeds to steal the ball from Odom at halfcourt and takes it all the way in for the layup (21-10 3:50)! That really whips them into a frenzy, and that emotional energy siphons into the Celtics' defensive efforts, as Garnett goes up high to reject a shot by Mihm (wow!) and Ray recovers the loose ball. He passes upcourt to Perkins, but he mishandles the ball and Fisher comes away with the steal.
He takes it back the other way, and finds Odom alone in the corner. However, he misses the three-point attempt and Pierce snags the 'bound, then makes a fullcourt pass to Ray who goes in for the easy layup (23-10 3:06).
That forces the Lakers into a timeout (this place is going crazy), and when play resumes Glenn Rivers M.D. decides that it's time to make some substitutions: Parker Posey and Allan Tony are in the game (Perk and Pierce have a seat). Meanwhile, Kobe tries to take it in against Posey but misses the layup (!) and James grabs the rebound. He gives it to Rondo, who takes it upcourt and then passes inside to KG. He goes for the turnaround "jay" over Odom but front-rims it; Kobe gets the loose board and takes it coast to coast for another layup attempt, but misses again (he's 1-for-6 from the floor). Me likey ...
Bryant is finally able to score with two minutes remaining in the quarter to get the Lakers within eleven. However, at the other end Posey makes a nice bounce pass inside to Tony who finishes with the two-hand dunk (25-12 1:26)! Nice to see that elevation back in his game ...
Hugh Laurie comes into the game for Rondo in the closing moments, while Kobe takes matters into his own hands and drives right at Tony to draw the foul (his second already). That puts him at the line, where he makes both free throws (25-16 :33.7).
Celts can't score, so the quarter ends with with the score remaining 25 to 16.
Sasha Vuja-cicle (starting the second quarter in place of Kobe) is fouled by Tony while going for the jumpshot; that's his third foul (!), so The Scals of Justice comes in to replace him. Meanwhile, Sasha makes both free throws to inch LA closer (27-17 11:13).
House is then called for a travelling violation (Boston's fourth turnover), as the Lakers regain possession and Luke Walton Disney takes it in over Scals for the layup (27-20 10:49).
Pierce then has the ball knocked out of his hands by Walton; he goes to the floor to save it, but Vujacic ties him up and forces the jump ball. Paul wins the tap, as the ball goes out to Scalabrine and he fakes the three-point shot to get Walton in the air; instead, he passes inside to Perkins, who scores with the two-hand dunk. Not only that, but Vladimir Totally Radmanovic fouls him from behind as well, so Kendrick steps to the line where he makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (30-20 10:24).
Jordan "Old McDonald Had a" Farmar answers with a three-point basket, then Perk is called for the travelling violation trying to make a move on Bynum (he comes up limping after the play). LA regains possession, and Farmar passes inside to Andrew for the layup (30-25 9:42).
House scores with a trey of his own, then Farmar comes up short with the long-ball but gets his own rebound and kicks it out to Vujacic. He goes for his own three-point shot, but comes up with an airball instead (the Lakers are now 1-for-7 from three-point range).
It's Celtics ball, as Perkins tries to pass inside to Pierce, but the refs whistle him for the offensive foul as he pushes away Walton. That means that LA gets antoher chance, however Radmanovic misses the three-point shot (maybe they should lay off the three's for awhile) and Posey pulls down the rebound. He gets the ball upcourt to House, who passes to Scals and - spotting James hustling up the floor - gives it to Posey who drives to the basket and scores on the layup (35-25 8:13).
House then steals the ball from Farmar, as we head back the other way; he finds Pierce who misses the jumpshot, but the loose rebound goes off one of the Lakers out of bounds. Boston retains possession, and Pierce is left alone behind the line and knocks down the trey (38-25 7:50)!
At the other end, Walton misses from beyond the arc (see, they never learn) and Posey snares the rebound. He gives the ball to Pierce, who takes it upcourt himself, then Perk sets a screen on Farmar which leaves Paul an open path to the basket for the layup (40-25 7:16).
A basket by Walton breaks the Laker's scoring drought, then Pierce tries to pass inside to Perk but Radmanovic picks it off. He gets the ball upcourt to Farmar, who tries to make a move around Rondo, but is called for travelling with 6:34 on the clock. Garnett comes back into the game during the stoppage of play, as it's Celtics' ball; Pierce makes the pass inside to KG, where he's fouled by Bynum (his third). So, Kevin heads to the line, and makes both free throws to give Boston a 15-point lead (42-27 6:24).
Now Kobe makes his return to the game after a long rest (Mihm is also in to replace Bynum), as a "Beat LA!" chant from the crowd starts up; that's always nice to hear ... Meanwhile, Mihm misses the turnaround jumper over Perk, and Garnett swallows up the rebound. He gets the ball upcourt to Pierce, and he passes inside to Kendrick who's faced with a double-team. Rather than force the issue, he simply passes to KG, who is fouled by Turiaf making a move to the basket; that means that Kevin's back at the line, where he adds two more foul shots to his total (44-27 5:55).
The Lakers are starting to unravel, as Mihm is called for offensive foul; that gives Boston back possession, as KG misses the turnaround jumper over Turiaf. However, Rondo goes up high for the offensive rebound (I think he accidentally hit Fisher across the back of the head during his jump); unfortunately, he can't score on the followup shot, and Odom secures the rebound. He passes upcourt to Kobe, who kicks it back to Fisher and he hits the pullup jumper over the outstretched hand of Rajon (46-29 4:42).
KG scores again (Turiaf cannot guard him), then Odom tries to take it in against Perkins but misses the layup (LA is shooting 5-for-14 from the field in the quarter); Garnett grabs the rebound whilst being fouled by Odom over the back. Lakers are over the limit, so Kevin makes yet another trip to the line and hits one-of-two free throws (47-29 3:32); KG has some decent numbers in the first half thus far (9 PTS, 2-7 FG, 7 REB).
Fisher scores at the other end, then Garnett misses the jumper and Mihm grabs the rebound. He gets the ball upcourt to Kobe, who finds Odom and he slices down the lane between two defenders for the layup (47-33 2:50).
Perk then makes a nice crosscourt pass to Rondo for the outside jumper (he's 1-for-3 from the floor). Fisher tries to answer with the three-point basket, but comes up short and Rajon saves the loose rebound from going out of bounds by getting it to Pierce (nice hustle play). He takes it back the other way and passes to Ray, who gives it right back to Paul behind the three-point line. However, his shot misses, and Fisher comes away with the board. He dribbles up the floor and passes inside to Mihm, who kicks it back out to Turiaf and he knocks down the pullup "jay" (49-35 1:41).
Pierce then tries to back down Odom, but misses the shot and Bryant gets the rebound. Lakers still have a chance to chop this Celtics lead down further before halftime, but Turiaf front-rims his shot and KG snatches away the rebound (his eighth). He passes to Rondo, who finds Pierce in the lane covered by the smaller Fisher; taking advantage of the situation, Paul just shoots over him and buries it (51-35 :52.7).
The Lakers call for time, and when play resumes Kobe has his pass stolen by KG (ha HA!); he gets the ball upcourt to Rondo, who finds Ray in the corner. He tries to work the baseline, but has the ball knocked out of his hands by Bryant; however, Rondo picks it up and fakes the behind-the-back pass (to get Fisher looking the wrong way), then proceeds to take it all the way in for the layup (53-35 :28.1)!
Oh man, the crowd is on their feet after that one ... Lakers can't score on their final possession, so we go into halftime with the Celts leading 53 to 35. A great offensive output by Boston, shooting 50 percent from the floor (19-38 FG), with 14 assists on 19 made baskets; not too shabby.
Pierce is the leading scorer with 12 points (5-10 FG), but Perkins - of all people - isn't too far behind with 10 (3-4 FG) and five rebounds. Keep it up, big man!
Bynum scores with a dunk to open the second half, then Ray answers with a pullup jumper off the pass from Rondo (55-37 11:11).
Bryant tries to answer but misses the outside shot; however, the loose rebound goes off Pierce out of bounds. The Lakers retain possession, and Fisher makes the bounce pass inside to Kobe who scores on the reverse layup (55-39 10:43).
Garnett comes right back with a nice dish inside to Perkins, who finishes with the impressive one-hand slam. At the other end, Kendrick blocks a shot by Bynum, but Fisher collects the loose ball and finds Kobe for the three-pointer (57-42 9:54).
Perk then tries to back down Turiaf; the second-year player hits the deck on a (poorly-executed) flop job, but the refs' whistles remain silent (good for them). That leaves Kendrick an open look at the basket, but he misses the hook shot and Bynum grabs the rebound. He passes upcourt to Kobe, who gives it up to Fisher and he nails the three-point basket of his own (57-45 8:55).
Lakers are trying to rally, but Bynum ends up fouling KG (his fourth!) and Mihm is back into the game to replace him as Garnett makes both free throws. At the other end, Mihm misses the shot and Pierce pulls down the carom. He gives the ball to Rondo, who dribbles up the floor before passing inside to KG, and he finishes with the layup (61-45 8:17).
A trey by Radmanovice makes it a 13-point Celtics lead with 7:30 on the clock, then Ray drives down the lane right at Mihm to draw the (late) whistle. That earns him a trip to the line, where he makes both free throws (65-50 7:21).
Bryant and Garnett trade baskets, then Kobe pulls up over Ray from behind the three-point line and the refs signal a foul (Heinsohn: "He never touched him! NEVER TOUCHED HIM!"). That may be, but Kobe still heads to the charity stripe for three free throw attempts; he's only able to make two of them (67-54 6:37). For the record, Kobe has made 45 of his last 47 free throw attempts, and that was his first miss on the road this season. Just so you know.
KG then misses an outside shot, and Mihm takes the rebound. He passes to Fisher, who goes coast to coast and tries to go in for the layup, but knocks down Pierce and is called for the offensive foul (Heinsohn: "Pierce was spread WIDE, baby!"). Boston regains possession, as Garnett is double-teamed so he passes over his shoulder and inside to Pierce, who hits the fallway jumper over Radmanovic (69-54 5:45).
Mihm responds by throwing a pass intended for Odom out of bounds (LA's 11th turnover); that gives it back to the Celts, and Rondo scores on the pullup "jay" from the free-throw line over Fisher (71-54 5:11).
Wait, it gets better, as Kobe makes the pass inside to Mihm but his shot is rejected by KG (Heinsohn: "That's Bill Russell stuff!"). Perk grabs the loose ball and passes upcourt to Pierce, who takes it inside against Odom to draw the foul. He heads to the line and makes one-of-two free throws (72-54 4:48).
The Lakers continue to bungle away their opportunities, as Odom is whistled for the travelling violation while trying to make a move inside against KG; Boston regains possession, and Ray misses the shot, but Perkins muscles his way in against Mihm for the offensive board. He is fouled by Kobe while scoring on the layup, then makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (75-54 4:24); that's 15 points on the night for Perk, he almost has as many as Bryant (19 PTS)!
Whoops, Kobe must've heard me, as he answers with the three-point basket to up his total over the 20-point mark ... At the other end, Ray tries to work the baseline but is double-teamed, so he kicks it out to Pierce for a three-poiner of his own (78-57 3:55)!
It must be "bombs-away" time, as Radmanovic counters with another trey. Turiaf then blocks a layup attempt by Ray; Farmar gets the loose ball and passes up ahead to Kobe. He misses the jumpshot, however, and KG controls the rebound. He gives it to Rondo who takes it back the other way, driving down the lane to draw in the defense, then passing off to Perkins who finishes with the two-hand slam (80-60 2:57)!
A turnaround jumper by Garnett makes it a 22-point Celtics lead with 2:30 remaining (Boston is 12-for-18 from the floor in the quarter). At the other end, Kobe misses the outside shot (the Lakers, meanwhile, are shooting 8-of-17 in the quarter) and KG goes up for his tenth rebound (another double-double). He passes upcourt to Rondo, who finds Ray in the lane and he tries to take it in over Turiaf but misses the layup; man, another off night for Allen, as Ronny gets the rebound and gives the ball to Farmar. He takes it back the other way, then passes inside to Walton who shoots up an airball (!); Pierce snatches the loose 'bound, then dribbles coast to coast and makes a nice move around Farmar but the refs call him for travelling (aw, what a bunch of spoil sports).
At this point Perk and KG take a seat with 1:34 on the clock (Posey and Scals come back into the game); Kobe also returns to the bench in favor of Vujacic, as Walton misses the shot but Radmanovic is able to tip it in (82-62 1:20).
Rondo answers with a nice pass inside to Scals for the basket (seventh assist for Rajon), but Radmanovic quickly answers with the outside jumper over Pierce (84-64 :53.5).
Vujacic scores in the closing moments, but the Celts are still leading big (84-66) heading into the final stanza ...
Vujacic scores again to open the quarter, but Posey answers with a three-point basket (87-68 11:26).
Bynum then tries to score inside with Pierce covering him, but Paul is able to slap the ball out of his hands out of bounds; it's still Lakers' ball, as Walton inbounds to Radmanovic, who quickly scores on the layup while being fouled by Pierce. That earns him an extra free throw to complete the three-point play (87-71 10:43).
A layup by Farmar gets the lead down to 14, but Posey comes to the rescue as he pulls up over Jordan for another trey (90-73 9:22).
Farmar scores again (he lost House off the dribble), then Walton steals a pass from Scals and gets it to Jordan, who finds Vujacic open in the corner. His three-point shot misses, however, and Pierce nabs the rebound; he takes it upcourt himself before making the crosscourt pass to House for the outside jumper (92-75 8:28). That's Paul's seventh assist (he's right on Rondo's tail).
Farmar then throws a pass off the leg of Pierce out of bounds with 8:16 remaining; Doc takes the opportunity to get KG back into the game, which Phil 'Er Up Jackson quickly counters by re-inserting Kobe back into his lineup. It's still Lakers' possession, by the way, and Bryant immediately makes his presence known by hitting the pullup jumper over Tony (92-77 8:03).
At the other end, Pierce is double-teamed in the paint, so he passes inside to Garnett for the open one-hand slam (94-77 7:50). Kobe then misses a fallway jumpshot with Tony right on him, and Posey grabs the rebound (the crowd has now gotten a derisive "Ko-BEE" chant started up, much different from the chants of "MVP! MVP!" they were directing at him last season) ... However, Pierce back-rims the shot, and Bynum pulls down the rebound. He gets it upcourt to Farmar, who passes inside to Radmanovic for the layup (94-79 6:40).
Bryant knocks down a three-pointer with 5:30 left in the game (he now has 27 points), but at the other end he commits the foul on Ray (Kobe's third). Lakers are not yet over the limit, so Boston retains possession and Pierce makes a nice pass inside to Ray; he goes up for the layup and is sandwiched in between Odom and Bryant. Of course, the refs call the foul on Lamar, so Allen steps to the line with 5:07 showing on the clock.
He misses the first free throw (man, is he struggling), but is able to compose himself and ... misses the second! You don't see that everyday, as Odom grabs the rebound and passes upcourt to Kobe; he gives the ball up to Radmanovic, who finds Farmar in the corner for the three-pointer (94-85 4:53)!
Uh oh, things are getting a little tight now (Heinsohn: "The Celtics are letting the Lakers become aggressive"), as Ray puts up a three-point shot that just barely grazes the rim and bounces out of bounds. It's Lakers ball with a chance to inch closer, but Kobe gets a little too cocky and pulls up about two feet behind the three-point line with Ray right in his face; that misses, and Perk gets the rebound (his eighth). He gives it to Rondo, who takes it upcourt and finds KG in the corner. He tries to back down Odom, and Farmar comes over for the double-team; Kevin then gives it back to Rajon, who now has an open lane to the basket. That brings Bynum over to try and stop him, but Rajon just dishes it to a wide-open Perkins for the layup (96-85 4:01)! That's a career-high 19 point for the big man!
At the other end, Farmar passes inside to Kobe, who is double-teamd by both Garnett and Allen. He tries for the shot anyway, and the refs whistle Ray for the foul; that's his third, as Heinsohn exclaims "Nobody touched him ... but he's Kobe Bryant so he gets to the line!"
As Tommy predicted, Bryant steps to the line with 3:42 remaining in the game, but misses the second free throw. Kevin grabs the rebound, and gets the ball upcourt to Rondo. He passes to Pierce, who drives down the lane as the defense collapses around him. He then finds Perkins underneath the basket, where he's hammered from behind by Radmanovic (no call) but is still able to score on the layup (98-86 3:11); there's no stopping Perk tonight!
After an LA timeout, Odom misses the three-point attempt, and the loose rebound goes off Farmar out of bounds. Boston regains possession, and Rondo makes the nice bounce pass out to Ray who finally hits a three-pointer (101-86 2:11) ... Radmanovic hits a trey of his own to quiet the crowd somewhat, then Kobe gets his hand on a pass by Rondo, and Odom comes away with the loose ball. He goes coast to coast for the layup to get the Lakers back within ten (101-91 1:33).
LA is still fighting, as Lamar blocks a layup attempt by Ray out of bounds; it's still Celtics' ball, as Rondo passes out to Garnett for the pullup jumper (103-91 1:16). That's ten assists on the night for Rondo!
At the other end, Pierce steals the ball from Farmar and sends it back up the floor to Allen. He dribbles some time off the clock, before Bryant just decides to give foul, putting Ray at the line where he makes both free throws (105-91 :52.0) ...
That pretty much kills any hopes for an LA comeback, as The Rivalry (remember to capitalize!) has begun anew and the Celtics take the first game, 107 to 94!
FINAL SCORE: Boston 107, Los Angeles Laker 94
GAME RATING : 16 (Slam Dunk)
BOSTON TOP PERFORMERS:
- Perkins: 34 MIN, 21 PTS (8-10 FG, 5-6 FT), 9 REB
- Garnett: 36 MIN, 21 PTS (7-16 FG, 7-8 FT), 11 REB, 3 AST, 2 BLK
- Pierce: 44 MIN, 20 PTS (8-18 FG, 3-6 3PTers), 9 AST, 6 REB, 3 STL
- R. Allen: 35 MIN, 18 PTS (5-15 FG, 2-7 3PTers), 4 REB, 4 AST
- Rondo: 34 MIN, 6 PTS (3-6 FG), 10 AST, 1 TO
- Posey: 18 MIN, 10 PTS (3-4 FG), 6 REB
LOS ANGELES TOP PERFORMERS:
- Bryant: 36 MIN, 28 PTS (9-21 FG, 3-7 3PTers), 4 REB, 3 AST
- Radmanovic: 29 MIN, 18 PTS (7-12 FG), 4 REB
- Fisher: 23 MIN, 13 PTS (4-8 FG), 2 REB
TONIGHT'S COG (CELT OF THE GAME): Kendrick Perkins
- Boston is now 7-0 at home.
- No surprise that Perkins was tonight's Tommy Award winner.
- It was another rough night for Ray Allen ... He shot just 2-for-9 in the second half.
- Prior to the game, Just Pruitt was assigned to the Utah Flash of the Developmental League, where he will join Snifter of Brandon Wallace for the NBDL's season opener Saturday night.
- California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was in attendance tonight.