From the Clouds

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With rumblings about LeBron’s future and the impact and exact meaning of Dan Gilbert offering Michigan State god Tom Izzo a contract near $6 million per, the Lakers and Celtics officially do not care. For now, neither do I.

There are varying reasons the Lakers won (Fisher, Bryant, maybe Artest’s foul). There are varying reasons the Celtics lost (Ray Allen coming back to earth, Paul Pierce demonstrating that the 2008 Finals were in fact two years ago).

At least KG played some good basketball, despite the Octagon’s frustration with Garnett’s “act” on the court. He scored 25 meaningful points when the rest of the Celtics looked like they were fighting the Lakers’ defense and a bit of jet-lag. Called out after game 1 by Pau Gasol, unable to defend his honor in game 2 because of referee intervention, Garnett exploded (at least as much as he can still explode nowadays). Although, six rebounds and three assists isn’t filling the stat sheet and the five fouls didn’t help the cause.

But its not like the Celtics had much help otherwise. I don’t know exactly why Perkins played only 22 minutes, giving Glen Davis significant playing time while Rasheed Wallace continues to be hampered by his bad back and his three musketeers facial hair. I can’t explain Ray Allen’s shooting struggles, other than he must be exhausted attempting to guard Kobe (10-29 from the field). That was really bad, and I felt bad. But not heartbreaking, its not heartbreaking when a shooter goes cold from the field. Oh, and his leg may have been hampered by Ron Artest to begin the game when he fouled Allen who was sprinting like he does.

Oh well, that doesn’t really explain why the Lakers were +13 with Luke Walton in the game and -12 with Artest, who spent some time on the bench. Or why nobody cared about Tony Allen when he was injured by Kobe Bryant while attempting to defend him. Or why the Champ’s basement flipped out at Ray Allen for selling the contact when Kobe threw his shoulder into him (and didn’t argue the call, a sure sign of guilt), but accepted Pau Gasol’s blatant flop that cost the Celtics a key scoring opportunity.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Lakers always have a chance to win, home or road, when Kobe Bryant is still lacing up the sneakers. Also, when Derek Fisher forgets what year it is and how old he is and plays like he is still capable of shooting the lights out of the gym, the Lakers are going to be good. When Gasol and Bynum combine for 22 points and 3 blocks, and the Lakers still win, that is impressive (or depressing for Boston? I can’t tell). Kobe played well but not pinnacle Kobe, Gasol and Bynum were limited, Artest was in early foul trouble and didn’t fully recover, and KG goes off on a scoring tirade, and the Lakers still win.

Saying all that, and you have to believe the Celtics will win game 4. That is just how this series appears to be wired, and Kobe might have a huge game and not be able to rescue LA. Rondo didn’t explode, maybe because his normal substitution pattern was eschewed for Nate Robinson in the second quarter (was there an unexplained injury?) and maybe because Kobe willed it to be so, and that is likely to change. I’m not exactly sure how it will happen, but this series was always primed for a long, fight-to-the-death, knockout series. The way for that to happen is for Boston to win game 4.

Also, Paul Pierce, please show up and do more than play defense against Ron Artest (who is spotty on offense anyways). If Pierce can drop even 25, like in a game like last night’s, the Celtics have a good chance of winning. Also, don’t expect Ray Allen to miss that many open threes again. Ever.

Hand down, man down.

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