Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers showed up to play, all of them. They played defense, they were physical and they played like their lives depended on it, all of them. The made shots, they rebounded and they made all of the hustle plays, all of them. It’s a refreshing change from the previous games where only one of them, that being Kobe Bryant seemed ready and willing to do whatever it takes.
It’s not often that one loss can have serious repercussions on the next game, the Lakers proved that in their bounce back performance in game 6. But Boston may have lost more than just game 6 last night. The Celtics got their asses handed to them, plain and simple. Ray Allen lead the way with a meaningless 19 points for the Celtics but scoring was at a minimum. In fact, the Celtics only managed to put up 67 points, one of the lowest scoring outputs in NBA Finals history. The biggest loss for the Celtics won’t show up on the box score, but it might in the injury report. One of the best defensive centers in the league, and the Celtics Pau Gasol stopper, Kendrick Perkins suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the first half while battling for a rebound. The often surly looking starting Celtics center, would not return and the rout was on after that.
It was a completely different Lakers team that showed up at the Staple Center. Perhaps facing elimination on their home floor was all the motivation the team needed to get their act together. The bench finally showed up to play, and Lamar Odom finally looked like himself, that is, the Lamar Odom that sometimes shows up and plays well, yeah that guy. When that Lamar Odom, the one who plays well, shows up, the Lakers almost never lose. Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown also made huge contributions for the Lakers off the bench, Pau Gasol had a field day and Bryant poured in 20 in the blowout.
There’s no doubt that momentum has shifted to the Lakers who will play game 7 on home court. With Kendrick Perkins out and Pau Gasol free again to play his
soft finesse game, the Celtics may have lost two games last night. The inconsistency of Pau Gasol has been one of the reasons why the Celtics found themselves one win away from another championship in the first place. Rasheed Wallace will not have to step up and keep his mouth shut for an entire game in Perkins’ absence, should he be unfit to play because its become official, Perkins is done. Read more.
The Celtics won’t be getting any sympathy from Lakers fans who have had to deal with their own injured center in Andrew Bynum all series long. Oh how the tables have turned.