Welcome to Boston! We’ll be here all night watching and talking about Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals (or at least as long as the internet connection here at the FleetNorthCenterBankCenter holds out — so don’t hold your breath). We’re 20 minutes until tipoff and there’s already a deafening “BEAT LA!” going on.
Sam and I arrived in Boston a few hours ago, and we’re ready to go. According to a note in the Celts’ locker room, the pregame sermon topic was “Living amongst the wolves, dangerous but do-able.” Not sure if that’s related to KG or not.
National anthem was by Paula Cole (who?). First Celtic announced was Kendrick Perkins, and the roof nearly came off the place. It would be funny if Perk was announced, then did the jump ball and didn’t play again the rest of the game. You want head games Phil? Huh?
The internet is already slowing down. Keep your fingers crossed.
• I’m going to try and update regularly, but it just took about 5 minutes to post those last few sentences. Anyway, we’re about to tip it off!
• It’s really frigging loud in here. Loudest game of the Finals thus far. But LA ruined it by winning the tip.
• If you weren’t sure, the refs tonight are Bennett Salvatore and Joey Crawford. KG got drilled on his first shot with no call, and yet the Celts have two fouls in the first 60 seconds, on Pierce and Perkins. I wish they’d at least try to be underhanded about calling it one-sided. It’s 4-0, Lakers.
• Ray Allen west a three on the break to make it 4-3…and Eddie Rush calls a foul on KG away from the ball on the other end. This is crazy. Vlad Rad gets a token foul and Ray Allen hits two free throws, and then Kobe drains a three. Looks like he stares at the announcer’s on his way back up court, but then, I’m so high up he could have been sneezing and I wouldn’t know any better.
• Rondo draws a foul on Fisher and makes it 7-7, and then Kobe pops another three. He better hurry because the first quarter is going to end in 8 minutes, and we all know he doesn’t shoot after the first quarter.
• Defensive three seconds is called against LA. KG puts some back into it and decks Gasol without a call. A layup ties it at 10.
• Rondo finally looks active again tonight. Don’t know who that was yanking on KB’s jersey on that play, but that was wild — Kobe nearly scored anyway.
• The FleetNorthCenterGardenBank is so nice that they have a 10-inch black-and-white TV up here for the media to watch the game on. I’m so not kidding. I think this TV used to belong to Johnny Most.
• A Rondo jumper gives Boston the lead, 12-10.
• And then Kobe takes a hit from Ray Allen and drains another three. This might be the night he finally goes for 40+.
• Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s award for best acting in a led role, Paul Pierce! For drawing a foul on Vlad Rad!
• Steven Tyler and Bill Russell are in the house. And so is Luke Walton, who just replaced Vlad Rad.
• Ray Allen picks up a loose ball off the floor and drives to the basket, but he accidentally headbutts Lamar’s hand on the way. No call there. As Ray stumbles around under the basket, Lamar to the line on the other end and makes one.
• Doc goes to his “old” line-up, bringing in Posey and PJ Brown.
• KG hits back-to-back jumpers, one over KG and one over Luke Walton. Then he gives Gasol a taste, too. Six straight for KG as Boston leads 20-18, with 2:40 left in the first.
• Out of the TO, Rondo rips the first pass from Farmar. Pierce misses a contested layup — he still hasn’t scored.
• Farmar is dribbling along the sideline and he just dribbles it off his own leg and out of bounds. Ugh.
• Then PJ Brown(!!) throws an alley-oop to Kevin Garnett. Powe and House check in with 48.8 left in the quarter to give Rondo and KG a break. Sam points out Rondo has 4 steals. Boston leads 22-20.
• Just got official word from the NBA that Ray Allen was “poked in the left eye, has a cut on the bridge of his nose and is expected to return.” I didn’t ask why it wasn’t a foul when that happened.
• Luke Walton gives a foul just before the quarter. Boston inbounds with 1.8 left and dribbles out the clock.
• After one, 24-20, Celtics lead. It’s like things are reversed tonight — the Lakers are playing terrible and yet they’re still in this thing, while Boston can’t seem to put them away.
• The PA system is playing some song about saving a horse and riding cowoys or something, and the fans are into it here in Boston. There’s one we didn’t hear in LA.
• Stat man Sam points out Gasol and Odom have all 10 Lakers rebounds so far.
• Kobe, Gasol and Odom each played the entire first quarter.
• Kobe gets D’d up by Posey and forces a bad shot, and the fans love it. Then Powe gets called for a foul trying to help on Kobe. And then? You don’t mess with the Vujacic!
• Eddie is in the casa! Three ball for House.
• Big Baby comes across to foul Lamar and ends up crashing to the floor. I could hear the wood splinter from up here. Odom hits one of two to make it 26-23. And somehow Doc Rivers picks up a T. Maybe he’s mad about Boston having double the fouls against them?
• Pierce pulls for a three and nails it, and then Lamar fouls Powe. Remember Leon Powe? That guy nobody on LA could guard a few days ago?
• Donde esta Pau Gasol?
• Powe scores again. Kobe misses a three. Farmar picks up a foul with 8:23 to go. It’s Boston 31, LA 26.
• Pierce goes up and into Fisher, and this time they call the foul on Fish. Pierce misses the first, makes the second. 32-26, Boston. LA is hanging around.
• Ah, there’s Gasol. He hits a runner for his first two points of the night. LA needs to get somebody, anybody, going besides Kobe.
• Posey from the corner, BANG! And then Eddie House from the same corner, BANG! Boston jumps ahead 38-29 with 6:25 to go. It’s loud up in here (although I really think it was louder in Atlanta during Games 3 and 4 in the first round).
• Belichick on the scoreboard with a blond stroking his thigh. That was kinda uncomfortable.
• Kobe misses a jumper out of the TO. One thing Boston is way better at than LA is at running plays is out of timeouts.
• D-Fish just went flying into the stands on the baseline. Looked like he bounced a few times like a ping pong ball. He hops right up, though.
• Pierce steals the ball from Kobe, and finds Posey for another three, pushing Boston’s lead to 14 with 5:20 left in the first. Another timeout. Even Phil’s done screwing around.
• KG goes for a steal and dives onto the floor, but he can’t make the save. Great hustle. Then Ray Allen checks back in and gets a huge hand from the crowd. If LA can overcome all this they deserve to win a title. 13-4 run from Boston right now. 45-33, Boston.
• Sam points out Kobe has no assists. But I think that’s mostly because nobody on LA can hit a shot — they’re shooting 36 percent from the floor.
• Luke Walton takes a jumper that hits off the rim and bounces up into the basket support. What a horrible, horrible shot. Timeout, 3:04 to go in the first half, and Boston up 47-34.
• Statman Sam points out the Lakers have made just 8 field goals thus far. Ugh.
• Boston is back to dominating the game physically, like they did in Games 1 and 2. And they’re also spacing the ball really well.
• Lamar just got Rondo’d. 53-35, with 1:04 left in the half.
• So did KG, who drove and double-pumped while palming the ball and threw it in off the glass. I have a feeling that’s a replay we’ll be seeing for years.
• Perkins inside for two more. LA holds for the last shot of the half as the crowd goes wild. Kobe fires up a three too early, and KG jacks it up from halfcourt at the buzzer. Oddly, everyone in here thinks it’s going in. But it doesn’t. At the half, it’s Boston 58, Los Angeles 35.
• Stats from Sam: LA ends with 8 field goals for the entire half and shooting 29.6 from the field. Also, Boston has 17 assists on 20 field goals. Yuck.
• If Boston wins this thing, I’m kind of worried about TONY ALLEN getting out of hand during the postgame. Can we keep an extra eye on him?
• Pierce, Ray Allen, Rondo for the wide-open jumper, good. Then Lamar goes to the line and misses his first…but he makes the second.
• Perk with back-to-back fouls, but then Ray Allen nails a three. Man, Boston is just firing on all cylinders tonight. But then Rajon got rondo’d by himself, picking up a walk o the break. The score is a palindrome right now, 63-36.
• Farmar drives and draws the foul! That’s the fifth foul on Perk, but more importantly, that ends a 6:38 drought without a field goal for LA.
• Gasol gets a dunk on an alley-oop. LA is unstoppable the last 25 seconds!
• Then Pierce drives and scores pretty easily. Then Vlad sucks the blood from a three.
• Hey Kobe? You got rondo’d! A free throw gives Boston a 70-44 lead.
• The Celts get a breakaway and Ray Allen breaks to the rim, but Rondo doesn’t toss it to him. So Ray keeps running all the way to the opposite corner, when Rondo hits him and he drains a three. Sam says, “Oh, no…” Boston leads 73-48.
• LA turns it over in the halfcourt, and then Boston nearly turns it over but just outhustles LA to the ball two or three times. Finally, LA gets a timeout. 77-48, Boston leads.
• If Boston wins this, KG is definitely going to cry at some point in the postgame stuff, right?
• It’s 82-53, with 4:21 to go. The Laker should just quit right now and go home. Seriously, what would happen if they went into a huddle and Phil tossed a white towel onto the court?
• Boston’s up 84-54, 2:57 left. This is not going to be the most exciting finish. As for the game, you can probably guess what’s happening — LA’s not playing well and Boston is. The Boston fans did just start chanting “USA! USA!” at Pau Gasol. Dino Radja doesn’t like hearing that.
• Kobe just scored and a grumble went up form the crowd, like they were nervous. I looked up and LA was still down 85-56.
• Guess who’s in? TONY ALLEN! Gasol scores to cut it to 25. 55 seconds left in the third. BTW, forgot to mention that after Game 4, when my main man TONY ALLEN had a few minutes of burn, I passed him in a hallway under the stands and he said to me, “Told you I was the secret weapon.” You’re not a secret anymore, TONY.
• LA just threw sort of a match-up zone at the Celts, kind of like Boston’s been doing to them all night, and the Celts shredded it in about 5 seconds. After 3, your score is Boston 89, Lakers 60.
• That would be awesome if Bynum came limping out from the locker room in his sweats right now.
• Sam notices that the Lakers have missed 28 field goals but have no offensive rebounds.
• Farmar gets tagged with a flagrant foul, though that seems excessive. Phil Jackson’s upset, although he probably doesn’t realize David Stern has had that scheduled to happen for weeks.
• Can Sam Cassell get some burn?
• KG checks in for PJ Brown, and PJ gets a big ovation from the crowd.
• Ray Allen hits a three to make it a 30 point game with 9:52 left. After this game, KG, Pierce and Allen should each be allowed to shave the heads of a member of the Lakers of their choosing. I’d take Turiaf or Zohan first.
• Maybe Doc’s not putting in Sam Cassell because he doesn’t want to run up the score. Or maybe he just forgot about him, although that seems unlikely. It does remind of a decade ago when Lenny Wilkens was coaching the Hawks and he snapped Ty Corbin’s league-leading consecutive games played streak one night at like 300-something games. And on the postgame show a fan called in and asked why he’d broken the streak, and Lenny said he had no idea it was even happening. Oh, and Ray Allen just made another three. What is this, the All-Star Game?
• Ainge gets a close-up on the scoreboard and the crowd goes wild. Ainge looks like he might cry a little, but then he controls it. Robert Horry should come and throw Ainge’s ring at him next year.
• Rondo takes a knock, and Eddie House comes in to replace him. House can’t run out onto the floor fast enough to take part in this carnage. 108-72, with 6:22 left.
• Hey, Kobe just was involved in a play. Remember him?
• Wait, Ray Allen just made another three pointer from the corner. At some point the Lakers will realize that he’s pretty good from over there. 113-77, with 5:07 to go.
• Big Baby, Leon Powe and TONY ALLEN are all waiting at the table to check in. Where is Sam?
• 4:01 left and The Big Three come out. A roar comes from the crowd as the guys all hug Doc. Then Doc walks downt eh sideline and hugs Cassell, but I guess he’s either too hurt or something to play. Or maybe Doc knows he’ll just shoot every time he gets the ball and he’s worried about running up the score.
• 3:10 left and Boston’s up 118-84. Can we play running clock the rest of the way?
• Guess not — timeout with Boston up 123-85, 2:21. About 250 cops march out and surround the floor — looks like the graduation scene from “The Departed.” They show the American Bandstand highlights on the scoreboard and cut to the Celtics huddle, where Paul Pierce is dancing along.
• Now “Paradise City” starts and everyone’s singing and dancing along. Fans are chanting “Seven-teen! Seven-teen!”
• A Bill Russell scoreboard closeup draws wild applause.
• TONY ALLEN! Reverse on an alley-oop. The Lakers want to let them run out the clock but Boston has no interest. 129-89, with 1:04 to go.
• Paul Pierce just gave Doc Rivers a Gatorade shower, using red Gatorade (hopefully that’s not a menacing color). Now there’s Gatorade and ice all over the court with 30 seconds left.
• And that’s it. Boston Celtics — 131, Los Angeles Lakers — 92.
You know what? It smells like cigars in here.