The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday afternoon, returning to the Staples Center for the first time since their heartbreaking defeat in Game 7 of the NBA Finals last June in the same building, yet for this fan it was really a showing that was bittersweet. The 1st half of the game stayed rather close, of course that is what should be expected in a game between two of the league’s top 5 teams…of course those expectations were helped by Joey Crawford and company giving every call to Derek “Flops Around Like A” Fisher, and creating a new type of foul in the NBA called, “Kobe bitches, get him to the line*.”
Going from the 1st to the 2nd half was like reading halfway through a really good book and stopping in favor of reading a much better story. The C’s outscored their biggest rival 54-42 in the 2nd half leading to their impressive 109-96 victory, and dropping the Lakers to a sad 1-5 against the top teams in the league. Paul Pierce hit a streak circa 2001-2006 where he just could not miss and ended with a team high 32, Ray Allen added 21 including 3 more 3′s to inch closer to Reggie Miller and his record, Rondo somehow had a quiet 16 assists and 10 points, KG did not tap anyone in the package and finished with 18 and 13, and Grown Man Davis made another push for 6th man of the year with 13 and 8 including drawing yet another offensive foul. Everyone mentioned above played well, but our best offensive weapon was none other than Kobe Bryant, scoring 41 with 0 assists for the game, taking 7 consecutive shots late in the game, with at least two of those leading to fast breaks ending in a KG lay-up and a Ray Allen 3 pushing the lead back up to 12 and sealing the game. If you would like you may go into the archive and see the last post I made about a week ago under my original name SAKEOFLOGIC…it was about Kendrick Perkins and the difference he would make on the glass. That difference resulted in the Celtics, ranked in the bottom of the league in rebounds per game, outrebounding the Lakers 43-30…that is not a typo…and while I’m still on my knees in front the Celtics let us not forget that they shot 60% from the field, which will only keep them alone by far at the top of the league**.
Ok I have finally stood up and will discuss what I wanted to really mention and what I was eluding with the word “bittersweet” at the beginning of this post, and I am going to list them the way I have become accustomed to:
1 ) I just looked at the calendar and was utterly disappointed to see that it is only January 31st. I just take a lot of joy when the Lakers perform poorly, and since it is such a rare thing I need to take my shots when I get the chance. Trust me that I FULLY believe when it is all said and done there will be a vicious rematch between the Celtics and Lakers when we enter June, only this time we will start and finish in Boston…and by finish, I mean done in 6, banner 18.
2 ) Kobe Bryant has easily been in a certain category for 5 or 6 years now. That category has a title that one way or another says “List of athletes whose greatness we do not truly appreciate until we do not get to see them anymore.” If I was not in love with the Celtics, Kobe may just be one of my favorite players to watch because of what the man can do with a basketball, and many, like myself, will not appreciate it until it is gone***.
3 ) Here is the really painful one. We lost in Game 7 last year for a few reasons****, but while watching the game the glaring difference became rebounds….rebounds, rebounds, rebounds. That is why Kendrick Perkins has almost become as indispensable as any other member of our starting team. Grown Man Davis hustles more than anyone, but at the end of the day he ends up being too undersized to compete for all of those boards. There are always keys to winning titles, a healthy Perkins cleaning up the glass is the lock.
* I would love to show what should be the appropriate hand gesture for this call, but here at NTCF we think about the kids.
**The Celtics, as a team are shooting .501 from the field! Next closest is Phoenix at .472…then the Lakers, Spurs, and Heat at .471 … that is ridiculous.
***I’m guessing because I just had a Will Ferrell “Old School” moment when he debates James Carville and then blacks out…
****No way will I get into this…after that game I took a 3 month hiatus from this blog and from thinking about the Celtics because they hurt me so badly…but I will always take them back.