Saturday, November 24, 2007
Blast from the Past: Beat LA chants fill the Garden
Watching the Celtics against the Lakers last night, it was obvious why Boston has high hopes for this season while LA looks like a fringe playoff team (at best) in the Western Conference. The blueprint for championship teams in the NBA this past decade has been to have a few superstars, surrounded by capable role players, who each step up at different times. The Pistons, Heat and Spurs have all won it using this model and you can't help but think, at the moment, the Celtics have one of the best mixes of that formula in the NBA. This doesn't mean much in late November but it certainly is promising. The Celtics (10-1) took care of the Lakers (7-5), 107-94 at the Garden.
Kendrick Perkins (who I bashed in the last post) had a career-high (and team-high) 21 points and nine rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 10 assists. Paul Pierce (20 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds), Kevin Garnett (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Ray Allen (18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) all did their thing while James Posey added 10 points and six boards off the bench. It would be ridiculous to expect performances like that from Perkins and Rondo on a regular basis but you have to admit that both are proving to be better (already) than anyone would have guessed.
The Lakers seemed to have copied the Warriors game-plan from the other night as they came out clanking jump shots and as a result, were down 18 at the half. One can only imagine the gems that zen-master Phil Jackson was coming up with in the locker room at halftime, in the wake of his now-infamous Brokeback Mountain joke.
Some interesting stats from the game: Boston entered with the top rebound differential in the league while they had the fourth-highest assist total as well as holding opponents to the lowest field-goal percentage.
The Lakers woke up in the second half but it was too little, too late as they could only cut the lead to nine points. Kobe had a game-high 28 points but he was only 9-for-21 shooting with four rebounds and three assists. The next highest scorers for LA were Vladamir Radmonovic (18 points), Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmer, who both had 13. I'm not a huge Kobe fan but it is a shame to watch such a talented player on such a blah team. He's been the subject of non-stop trade rumors, you kinda hope he gets on a team that can put him in some important playoff games.
The C's shot 50.6% for the game and had 10 more assists (31-21) than the Lakers. Boston only fouled the Lakers 13 times to the Lakers 25 fouls. This is indicative of the Celtics concerted effort to drive to the hoop while the Lakers took the first shot they saw on almost every possession.
Boston travels to Charlotte tonight to take on a banged up Bobcats team. Charlotte's Adam Morrison is out for the year after tearing his ACL and their best player, Gerald Wallace, got hurt and didn't return last night. Playing back-to-back nights is never easy though so the Celtics should have their hands full for a while.