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Running Blog For Game 3 Of The 2010 NBA Finals

What now?

The poll on this morning’s live SportsCenters on ESPN was: Which even will you be watching tonight? Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut or Game 3 of Celtics Lakers?

About 70 percent sided with the NBA Finals, but I’m trying to do double duty. So as soon as Strasburg’s throws the last pitch of his outing, I’ll be giving my full attention to Game 3, a game that is thought by many to be extremely pivotal. I somewhat disagree, but more on that later.

The Celtics have a bit of momentum coming into tonight’s game and the knowledge that they can beat the Lakers without much from Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett. The Lakers, who won in Boston in the regular season, need to get more out of Lamar Odom while also hoping that Andrew Bynum doesn’t go back into his hole. I don’t think he’ll be able to repeat his Game 2 performance, but same goes for Ray Allen.

But most of all, again, how will the pace of this game be affected by officiating? There were 54 personal fouls called in Game 1, 59 during Game 2. Just for fun, what’s your over/under for tonight? I’ll pick a random number like … say … 51. Sure. 51. Still a big number of whistles, but I don’t think the officials will ever let them play like playoff basketball should be played.

Overall prediction: I can’t see the Celtics losing their first home finals game. Games 4 and 5? That may be a little different, but the fans are going to not let that team lose tonight. I think Boston wins by a comfortable margin.

But we’ll see once 6 p.m. Pacific Time arrive. We should be close to finished with Strasburg for the night by then.

6:04 p.m. Perfect timing. I got a bit worried after the Nationals’ long bottom of the sixth, but Strasburg made quick work of the Pirates in the seventh (and really all night). Now, it’s time for basketball. I’ll keep tabs on the Nationals’ game and see if that bullpen can lock it down for Strasburg’s first win.

6:07 p.m. Garnett gets the first basket and off we go …

6:08 p.m. Garnett makes a statement early on: I’m not dead. He is outrunning the Lakers’ big men right now. 6-0, Celtics, all on Garnett easy buckets.

6:09 p.m. An early appearance for Luke Walton. If you are a Lakers fan — uh-oh!

6:11 p.m. Fisher’s and-1 draws the deficit back to three, 8-5.

6:13 p.m. Lakers need an early timeout. The Celtics clearly want it more right now. Faster offense, more hustle on defense and beating them on the boards.

6:16 p.m. But on a good note, we’ve played more than four minutes and have only three personal fouls. Less than one per minute! What an accomplishment, boys.

6:17 p.m. Fisher has to take that 3. He was too wide open.

6:20 p.m. I said earlier that I don’t think Game 3 is as important as everyone is making it out to be. I know the numbers backing up the importance of Game 3, but there just seems to be less impact on this game than every other one.

Game 1 is the first, you want to get off to that good start and dictate the series.

Game 2 is when the trailing team must win and can’t afford to fall behind 2-0.

In Game 3, it’s 1-1. If you win, you’re up 2-1, but your advantage can be quickly stolen two night later. If you lose, you’re down two one, but it can all be erased in the next game.

Losing Game 3 is OK, but that makes Game 4 a basic must-win game.

Game 5 will put some team within just one win of the championship. Just one away.

And then obviously Game 6 and Game 7 are must-win games for some team.

Just in my mind, Game 3 is the least consequential game of a series for both teams. I know the numbers say otherwise, but five of the six other games are basically a must win for one or both teams and it’s always good to win No. 1, to try and set the tone.

6:24 p.m. I would like to explain my standing further, but that’s the shorthand. Back to the game, where six different Lakers have scored. Meanwhile, Rondo and Garnett are carrying the load for Boston. Either way, it’s just a two-point game as the Lakers lead 18-16 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter.

6:27 p.m. By the way, despite what Van Gundy says, that foul by Rondo on Kobe’s jump shot was not a foul.

But it was good to see Lamar Odom get on the score sheet early, even if that was a pretty lucky 3.

6:29 p.m. In other news quickly, the Nats’ bullpen was fine in the final two innings as Strasburg picked up his first win. Nats won, 5-2.

6:30 p.m. The Lakers have done a nice job withstanding that almost-inevitable first rush by the Celtics and now lead by four. They are on a 15-4 run.

6:32 p.m. The comments section still isn’t showing up for me, but go ahead and let me know what you think of the game or anything I’m writing. I can see all of your remarks in my e-mail.

6:34 p.m. Obviously, I’ll have another running blog for Game 4 and Game 5.

6:36 p.m. What a turn at the end of the quarter. A really stupid foul by Wallace leads to a 3-point play for Odom and a nine-point Lakers lead at the end of one quarter, 26-17.

6:35 p.m. Ray Allen was 0-for-5 shooting in the first quarter. Quite a change, eh?

6:38 p.m. Both teams aren’t shooting the ball that well, but the difference, as it usually is, is seen at the line.

Lakers; 9 of 11.

Celtics: 1 of 4.

Still, I don’t have a big problem with the officiating.

6:42 p.m. Another 3-point play for the Lakers and this is now a 24-5 run over the past nine minutes.

6:44 p.m. I can settle with the fact that Allen is cooling down, but where — still — is Paul Pierce????

Nice open jumper from Robinson, but the Lakers will let him take that all game long.

6:46 p.m. Every shot I see from Rasheed Wallace seems to always end up short.

6:47 p.m. You can say that the Celtics aren’t running their offense, but who is supposed to run it with who is on the floor? Nate Robinson? Ice-Cold Pierce? There is no one that turn this offense around on the court.

6:51 p.m. Oh, Garnett blows an easy one.

6:52 p.m. Great, aggressive defense on Bryant. Fisher picks up his second foul on the other end of the court. It’s only the Lakers’ sixth foul of this first half.

6:55 p.m. Give me a few minutes while I try to reset my Internet connection. It’s just frustratingly slow, again.

7:10 p.m. OK, it looks like it is better now. Sorry for the 15-minute delay.

7:11 p.m. Just some things that I wanted to say during the time away:

How does Kobe make that save, moving out of bounds and somehow find Bynum underneath the basket? That was insane. …

Nice to see Pierce hit a shot finally, but he was open by about 10 feet. …

Was that PAU GASOL on a cross-court ALLEY-OOP DUNK?!?! That’s new. …

7:17 p.m. Lamar Odom was a nice factor in the first half, which is the most praise you could put on him through the first two games. And while I don’t think there is a lot of impact in the +/- stat, the Lakers are +20 when Odom is on the court.

The Celtics are -18 with Rasheed Wallace on the court.

7:24 p.m. At least Andrew Bynum has had a lot of time to work on his free-throw shooting. He is 12 for his last 15 from the line.

7:28 p.m. For Boston, it’s pretty simple. Make. Shots.

They don’t have an incredibly deep bench, but the Celtics’ bench is getting badly outperformed by the Lakers’ bench. The Lakers’ bench is 7-for-9 from the field. The Celtics will need to find some secondary points from someone other than Nate Robinson.

7:31 p.m. Pierce and Allen are 1-for-13 shooting combined.

7:33 p.m. I love that inside-the-game footage from ESPN cameras. It’s Doc Rivers telling his team that it needs to play defense, make stops.

REALLY???? I mean, the Lakers are shooting only 48 percent and have lit them up since middle of the first quarter.

Get stops. Novel idea.

7:36 p.m. Another missed shot that is wide open for Allen. He hit that same exact shot at least twice in Game 2. It’s just not falling tonight.

7:37 p.m. Nice shot by Pierce, but Ray Allen just threw Derek Fisher to the ground.

That ball looked like it didn’t go off Gasol, but Bynum traveled underneath the basket, so you have to let it go.

7:38 p.m. Well, Mike Breen, let’s just see if these free throws get him started.

7:39 p.m. Certainly not there.

7:40 p.m. Pierce stays on the floor with four fouls. Might as well. He’s giving the team about the same contribution on or off the court.

7:42 p.m. I sense a big run coming up. It’s too much back-and-forth ball right now. Someone needs to break off a streak.

7:45 p.m. We all need a timeout. That was some ridiculous offense on both sides for a few possessions. I know Kobe is great and greater, but he really does need to hold that ball and set it up there.

But he does have a one-on-three shot quota to fill.

7:50 p.m. Bynum is hurt. You can see him dragging his right leg.

7:52 p.m. Man, we have really hit a lull. Neither team has a field goal in four minutes.

7:53 p.m. Kobe puts an end to that, but Boston can’t really trade baskets.

7:59 p.m. This doesn’t feel like a seven-point game, but if only Boston could make some shots …

8:00 p.m. There’s one as Tony Allen shows up.

8:01 p.m. But Kobe Bryant answers right back. Ouch!

8:02 p.m. Mark Jackson sums it up: Pau Gasol needs more touches. The Lakers went away from him in the fourth quarter of Game 2. I’ll count his touches this quarter.

67-61, Lakers, at the end of three.

8:03 p.m. Also, another question is how much will Bynum play. Anything at all? If nothing, Lamar Odom will need a big quarter.

8:05 p.m. Scott Ferrall hosting an ABC game show? Oh, that sounds like the oddest pairing in network TV history.

8:07 p.m. No Kobe to start the fourth. That used to be an every-game tactic for the  Lakers for years, but things have changed in the past year. He sometimes starts this quarter.

8:08 p.m. Fifth foul on Pierce. They have to let that go. That’s an atrocious call, especially since that’s a star player in foul trouble. Don’t tell me the refs don’t know that.

8:09 p.m. And again, that’s another bad call. Wow, those are two REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad calls at the start of this quarter.

8:10 p.m. Glen Davis making some really nice offensive moves!

8:12 p.m. And it’s back to a one-point game! Boston’s defense has really picked up in the past few minutes.

8:14 p.m. I haven’t seen that Kia commercial before, but I love it.

8:16 p.m. More good defense, but that’s also a very sluggish possession for the Lakers. They have to look for someone else other than Kobe to step up.

8:17 p.m. Again, Rasheed Wallace comes up short. And Andrew Bynum comes back in. That’s a bit of a surprise.

8:18 p.m. Lakers, please, for the love of God, have someone else other than Kobe take a shot.

8:20 p.m. Late call and that wasn’t a foul at all, but don’t the refs have to give one back to Boston? They have really been tough on the Celtics.

8:22 p.m. Give the Celtics a ton of credit — these are some ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly offensive possessions by the Lakers. And some of their shots are finding a way in.

8:24 p.m. And in the most physical part of the game, the officials are doing a good job of mostly swallowing their whistles.

8:26 p.m. I know Paul Pierce disagrees, but this series is coming back to Los Angeles. And I had no problem with him saying that. He did it after Game 2 against Orlando. He just does it to pump himself up.

8:26 p.m. Glen Davis, doing very well. But what is with all of this tongue-and-slobber stuff? It’s a little weird.

8:28 p.m. On the other end, Derek Fisher is the unsung hero right now for the Lakers, but WHERE IN THE BLUE HELL IS PAU GASOL?!?!?!

8:29 p.m. Despite Kobe being guarded by Rondo, nice lay-up by Odom.

And Allen misses ANOTHER open 3 look!

8:30 p.m. This.

Is.

So.

Fun.

8:30 p.m. Finally, Pau touches the ball and even though he falls down and they have to reset the entry, Glen Davis is no match for Gasol.

8:33 p.m. Who takes this big shot for the Celtics here? I have to think it’s going to run through Garnett. He has been too good around the basket.

8:35 p.m. Nice D on KG, but better shooting. What a shot!

8:36 p.m. That ball went off of Kobe, from what I can see. But hey, the officials missed a replay review in Game 2, so …

8:36 p.m. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, THAT IS OUT ON GARNETT!

8:38 p.m. I was initially wrong and the officials got that one right. You can see the ball slip off Garnett’s hand and change angles. HEY, THEY GOT IT RIGHT!

8:40 p.m. And here we go again!!! It looks like it is off of Odom. And they get another replay review right.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

8:41 p.m. Ray Allen, trying so hard to get open, gets another good look from the corner that is off the mark.

Then Derek Fisher, who has been outstanding this quarter, rushes up court, Glen Davis falls asleep on defense and Fisher put in a Rondo-type lay-up AND ONE to put the Lakers up by seven with 48 seconds left.

I can hear a lot of yelling and screaming on the streets here in Long Beach, Calif.

8:45 p.m. But it’s not over yet! Lamar Odom commits a stupid foul as Pierce puts in a basket. He misses the free throw, but Odom touches it last!! Celtics ball with 39 seconds left and down by just five!!

8:47 p.m. Gasol draws the offensive foul on Garnett. He flopped, but he drew the foul.

Ray Allen should have launched it from the corner as soon as he got it from Rondo. That was not a bad look.

8:49 p.m. Frank Caliendo loves the free publicity.

8:50 p.m. Another Celtics turnover and that’ll do it. Lakers win, 91-84, and take a 2-1 lead in the series.

8:52 p.m. Nice moment there from Fisher. That’s a 35-year-old champion who has been in about three years worth of big games, knows this is his last year and he showed that he can still be a game-changer on its biggest stage.

8:55 p.m. Biggest takeaway for the Lakers: Derek Fisher’s fourth quarter, obviously. That layup over three defenders was special. Lamar Odom finally did something (5-for-5 from the field). Still not enough touches for Gasol, especially late. It’s only 2-1.

9:00 p.m. Biggest takeaways for the Celtics: Oh, what to do, what to do, what to do with Pierce and Allen. Allen, OK, maybe it was just a bad game (VERY bad) to balance out his record-breaking Game 2. But Pierce is just not that much of a factor in the offense. Garnett was great tonight, but Pierce has to get himself more involved. Where does Kendrick Perkins fit? He hardly played in the second half. Glen Davis is pretty underrated. He knows how to use his body well to get inside. It’s only 1-2.

9:03 p.m. Sure, big win for the Lakers, but like I said earlier: This can all be negated with a Thursday loss. The pressure is all on the Celtics to be sure. Another LA wins basically clinches the series. But this is a “pivotal” game that I don’t think is as pivotal that it is portrayed to be. Game 4 is really a pivotal game.

9:05 p.m. And I’ll be back on Thursday. Hopefully, I’ll have a more stable Internet connection then. But I’ll be doing another one of these then, so come on back. Thanks to all of those who followed tonight. See ya Thurrrrrrrrrrrrrsday!

"Yo, Fish! Thanks for bailing my ass out tonight, man!"

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  1. lou-lou
    June 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    tied 1-1 since they went to 2-3-2 format game 3 winners are undefeated.
    id say pretty important. lakers should look at it as must win. and just give up game 4 and look at game 5 as essentially a series cincher

  2. lou-lou
    June 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    game 3 is so important because at this point a lot of times it can come down to luck. so if your down 2-1 you need to get lucky/win 3 out of 4 times. you basically got no room for error or else your running a gauntlet

    • spokes310
      June 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Yes, the pressure is all on the Celtics. For sure, they have to win Game 4 now. But that doesn’t make Game 3 a “must win.” It makes Game 4 a “must win.” Only Game 1 truly has less riding on it in terms of the series than this game.

  3. lou-lou
    June 8, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    yo you think i could pull of this hair cut??
    with the jagged scissors top??

    http://www.gq.com/style/wear-it-now/201005/gq-summer-survival-shopping-guide#slide=2

    • spokes310
      June 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      Even without the goatee, I think so. It would make your head look smaller. And it’s a good look overall.

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