Lakers-Celtics Game Three: Deep Thoughts

Zina ZaflowCorrespondent IJune 11, 2008

1. That was some ugly, ugly basketball. Can't recall ever finding a game so unattractive. If that game had hit on me at a bar, I would have lied and told the offending game that I already had a boyfriend.
2. Why did the Celtics go single coverage on Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter? Try as I might to wrap my head around the possible strategy behind that decision, the best I can come up with is that the Celtics were simply TIRED.
3. The Rajon Rondo injury, unlike the Paul Pierce injury, was real. Rondo earned much respect from me in his handling of the sprain, but I worry what will become of the Celtics if he's not 100% by Thursday.
4. Sasha Vujacic. All hail the inconsistent conquering hero. The Lakers REALLY needed him and he came through with 20 points and, at the risk of sounding like a girl: he's super cute...I would marry him and have 10,000 of his inconsistent babies.
5. The Celtics give good screens. Like, really good. However, those screens sometimes veer into illegal territory, and the Lakers need to capitalize on that.
6. I miss the good old days—when refs weren't the sixth man on the court...Yesterday was the worst day ever for the Tim Donaghy claims to rear their ugly head. This is a guy who is about to go to JAIL for betting on games he was officiating. I'm not saying he's lying, but I am saying we need to consider the source.

This game was more evenly called, though, aside from the first quarter 14-2 disparity in favor of the Lakers. The rest of the game went 34-22. Better.
7. Not that winning the free throw battle was great for the Lakers, as Kobe Bryant missed seven of his 18 free throws. If Kobe was his usual self at the line, this would have been a more decisive victory.
8. Game Three was all about the disappearing superstars. Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom were all no calls/no shows for Game Three, with Pierce and KG combining to miss 27 of their 35 shots. Gasol and Odom fared only slightly better, shooting a combined 5 for 18.
9. Great defense wins championships—but makes for crap games. The lead changed seven times in this game and the score was tied four times. Sounds like the makings of a great game, right? Wrong!

To play defense against a high-scoring team like the Lakers, and to match the defensive energy of the Celtics, both teams have to lose some of their speed and offensive numbers. It's too bad, really, but efficiency is often boring. Just ask the Spurs.
10. The teams were evenly matched in the rebound column, which made me really happy. The reason I called this series to go seven games is because the Celtics are such a fantastic rebounding team. I'm happy to say that the Lakers have it in them to keep up in this column, which I still believe is the key to this series.
In conclusion, as ugly as last night's game was, and as much as people are saying that it was there for the Celtics to take, I must disagree. You can argue that Games One and Two were there for the Lakers to take, and I would disagree with you on that one also.

Save for the occasional blowout, in hindsight, almost all games were "there" for the losing team to take. This is just something homers tell themselves to feel better about a loss.

Though the Celtics lead the series 2-1, I still think The Lakers are the better team—the more skilled team with the deeper bench.

The Celtics are, however, a rougher team, and these Lakers with their pretty skills and silky finesse are simply going to have to be willing to wrestle. And last night, they were.
As I called it before the Finals began:
Lakers in seven.