Heir'z Corner: Boston Streak Comes To An End in LA
Kobe was rolling, Ariza was hustlin' (hehe), Red was rolling over in his grave, and Chick was dancing on it. This game meant more to the Lakers than it did to Boston for the simple fact that this was a Finals rematch. Of course Boston was hungry to get that 20th win and there's no other team in the league who they would've preferred to get it over, especially on the road, but when the season is over no one is talking about streaks. All that stuff goes out the window. What matters most is who was the last one standing after the war and based on the way the Lakers played, that's exactly what was going through their minds.Bill's Son
- Luke played a lot better than I expected him to and had a pretty good impact on the game. With the exception of the last few minutes in the first half where he and Pau killed the momentum we had going, he still played a good game. I don't know what it is about Pierce, but Luke seems to give him a little bit of trouble. Didn't Luke block one of his shots last year in the Finals? Anyway, he stayed in front of Pierce the vast majority of the time and forced him to take outside shots. Many Boston fans laughed at their matchup coming in, thinking Luke had no chance. I gotta keep it real with yall; I wasn't on Luke's side either. But he proved me wrong and actually got it done. From this point forward I'll call him Luke instead of "Bill's son", he deserves it. Final stat line: 8 points, 2 blocks, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3-6 from the field, 2-3 from downtown.
- Drew just sort of laid in the woods in this one. He cleaned some shots up every once in awhile and was the recipient of some nice passes, but if we make the Finals again and face Boston he has to have more of an impact on the boards and in the paint in general. I think we could've fed him the ball in the post a little bit more, but scoring isn't the only way you can dominate the paint. Pau, on the other hand, made a complete 360 after the first half. While the rest of the team was playing with the grit and toughness that we lacked in the Finals, Pau looked like the same player from that series. No force, no aggressiveness, no swagger, he just went up softly in the paint and expected to either get fouls called on Boston's big men or a layup. It was frustrating to watch and it had a lot to do with Boston going on a little run to close the half, but everything changed after intermission. Pau didn't hesitate to challenge Boston's bigs in the paint, he just went straight up into the chest of the defender and it's no wonder good things started to happen. He was the man in the 4th quarter on both ends. Final stat lines: Bynum- 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4-7 from the field. Gasol- 20 points, 3 blocks, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 7-14 from the field, 6-6 from the line.
- A lot of us thinks that if we had Bynum in the Finals against the Celtics, we would've won. But more than anything if we had the Kobe Bryant of today's game we would've at least gave Boston a run for its money. It was painful to watch Boston shut our offense down in the Finals by focusing their defense on him and keeping him out of the paint. Today, however, Phil's brilliance went to work. Instead of Kobe being out on the perimeter and putting him in a position to work for his points, we slid him down into the post and in isolations so Boston's defense couldn't key in on him. The good thing about that is it leaves one guy to guard Kobe one on one, which is no contest, so if they send another defender out there to help then someone is bound to be open on the weak side or in the paint. This may not have been a playoff game but the playoff Kobe definitely came out the bag. His relentless attack was there from the opening tip. I was unhappy with his defense on Rondo, though. It's one thing to force a guy who's not a scorer into taking a lot of hopeless shots so the other players get less opportunities, but that doesn't mean its okay to just let him get into the paint. If a guy like Rondo gets to the rim it breaks our defense down because someone else has to rotate over and cover Kobe, which leads to THEIR man being free, and before you know it either there's a wide open shot instantly, or our defense is scrambling all over the place and it eventually leads to a free shot. He has to bring the hunger and determination on defense too. Final stat line: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 13-23 from the field.
- Fish didn't have a great game, he didn't have much of a role since Kobe was the story of the first half and then it was all about Pau in the second. Final stat line: 6 points, 7 assists, 2-10 from the field, 2-6 from downtown.
- It's funny, if you look at the box score you'd think Ariza didn't do much. His impact was felt throughout the arena, though. His hustle kept our electricity going and Boston on their heels. Lamar's energy was big too; those two threes at the end of the 3rd quarter gave us a much needed boost heading into the 4th quarter. It was also fun seeing Sasha battle House and gets the best of him. He may or may not work out at point guard, but he's holding it down right now at least and is getting his touch back and lucky us it came at the perfect time.
- This loss knocked the wind out of Boston, but more importantly it looks like we might have gotten our swagger back. Mostly everyone expected us to not only lose, but lose badly. This win is a major confidence boost and we can only hope that it starts a building block of not just more victories, but convincing victories. Look out, world, we coming after yall.