If ever Boston was going to steal a game on the road, this was definitely the night. Except for only one of the Big 3 showed up, this time it was Ryan Allen.
with how bad the rest of the Celtics performed, Boston actually had the lead in the fourth quarter.
Game 3 might have been an ugly "Eastern Conference" game, but it was definitely the most exciting and competitive game thus far of the 2008 Finals.
Kobe Bryant looked like the "Black Mamba" and "The Closer" leading the Lakers with 36 points. However the rest of the Lakers' starters combined for 22 points! Vladimir Radmanovic had 3 points and 1 board, Derek Fisher put in 6 points and 1 dime and Lamar Odom contributed another ghost like performance with only 4 points and again got into foul trouble early and often. And other than a couple of tip ins late, Pau Gasol wasn't what made the Lakers so dominant in the first three rounds.
The savior for the Lakers? Sasha "The Machine" Vujacic with 20 points (7-10) off the bench and a huge 3 with under two to play. If you didn't know how to pronounce his name before, you do now.
Paul Pierce, coming home where he's supposed to be just as deadly, was just that, dead. Pierce finished with a Ray Allen like 6 points on 2-14 shooting. Kevin Garnett wasn't much better with 13 points. Pierce and KG combined for 8-35 from the field.
Rajon Rondo was also roughed up leaving the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. How come he didn't require 3 teammates and a wheelchair? His status for Game 4 is questionable. This could be a huge blow to Boston considering how horrible Sam Cassell has played. Eddie House did look good (and so did Doc Rivers) getting the call off the bench instead of Cassell. House had 6 points, 2 assists and 3 boards.
LA really missed a golden opportunity to close this one out early. Just as everyone predicted, the Lakers would get to the line. LA had more ft in the first four minutes than they did in the entire first half of Game 2. In fact the Lakers matched their Game 2 total of 10 free throw attempts with 4:59 to go in the first quarter!
All this with the new allegations by Tim Donaghy. (That's a whole nother story).
If you're gonna complain about free throws, you better make em. Neither team did. Boston shot 68.2%, while LA shot 61.8%.
Kobe's postgame press conference was great. (Yeah, I'm a junkie. I even stay up late for stuff like that).
Asked about his poor free throw shooting, Byrant responded,
"It felt like I was in a foreign territory because I haven't been there in so long," Bryant said. "It's like somebody took me and just dropped me off in the middle of Shanghai with no translator . . . and no dictionary."
If that wasn't good enough, Mamba cussed on live national ESPN/ABC/Disney TV. It was awesome!
Funny how ESPN failed to re air any of this during its mammoth on going coverage of the Finals. I never saw again, even with shit being beeped out.
Game 3 Box Score
Game 4, Thursday night.