Shannon Brown levitated. Ron Artest actually made shots (three 3-pointers). Pau Gasol nearly registered a triple-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists). The Lakers’ bench outscored the Celtics’ reserves 25-13 – though it was 24-0 in the third quarter – and for the first time since 2005, the NBA Finals will have a game seven. It’s difficult to fathom Boston winning.
Besides Rajon Rondo’s bad 5-for-15 performance and the combined 2-for-18 from Glen Davis, Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace, the worst part about the 89-67 beatdown was the knee injury suffered by Kendrick Perkins in the first quarter. There are unconfirmed reports that he won’t play in game seven, which means heavy minutes for Davis inside. In three games in LA this series, Davis is 5-for-19 with 11 points; he had 30 points in the first two games in Boston. Boston icon Bill Russell was 10-0 in game seven; Kevin Garnett is no Bill Russell. Surely Doc Rivers – about to coach his last game in Boston – is thrilled that Ray Allen found his shot last night (7-14, team-high 19 points).
While there’s obvious excitement for game seven, we’re only cautiously optimistic it’ll be close or a classic. The Celtics are 7-point underdogs and will have a short bench without Perkins. How will old farts KG and Pierce bounce-back from this defeat? Can the bench summon the energy they had in Boston? Our early guess – Lakers 85, Boston 80.
* Where’s Kobe, you ask? He gets his own post.