FINAL: 91-84, LA.
87-82, LA. 0:32: Offensive foul. KG moving pick. LA will escape.
87-82, LA. 0:40: Woah, wait up. Pierce gets a bucket plus a foul. Misses the free throw, but it goes off of Odom. The refs will go to the monitor, but it’s clearly off of Odom. There is so much life!
87-80, LA. 0:48: Derek Fisher hits a bucket plus the foul. This is his swansong, everybody. He has 16. The Lakers lead by three possessions, and fans are leaving in droves. LA has momentum and the series back.
84-80, LA. 0:59: Ray misses another open three. If you’re going to live and die by that, you’re going to be drawn-and-quartered tonight. He’s 0-for-12 and 0-of-8 from 3.
84-80, LA. 1:10 left: Dan Crawford calls a jumpball on an out-of-bounds play. Smooth. They go to the replay and give it to the Celtics.
84-80, LA. 1:29 left: Refs just overturned an out-of-bounds call using replay, giving the Lakers the ball. The C’s come out of the timeout down two possessions without the ball.
84-80, LA. 1:40 left: Kobe hits a stepback jumper over Allen at the left elbow. He’s secretly shot himself into a rhythm.
82-80, LA. 2:00 left: KG sliding through the lane for a pull-up J.
82-78, LA. 2:17 left: Lamar Odom out-quicks Big Baby. Garnett outmuscles Gasol. Gasol outmuscles Baby. It’s a ridiculous Russian doll situation.
78-76, LA: Paul Pierce from the elbow extended for three. Noise. He’s 3-of-4 from 3 and 0-of-7 from everywhere else.
78-73, LA: Derek Fisher. Two more on a floater. I want what he’s taking.
I guess it’s actually relevant that he has five fouls, huh?
76-70, LA: Fish for two more. This is Robert Horry on HGH.
74-70, LA: Derek Fisher has been LA’s primary offense. It’s working. Everything I know in the world has been shaken.
TV timeout. Looks like LA is going with Bynum and Gasol — who is 4-for-10 — at the end, here. Gasol only has two fouls, but Odom was playing well enough to stay on the floor until there was 5:33 left. Big Baby remains in for Perk.
70-67, LA: Derek Fisher (!) throwing his weight around, absorbing a blow and tossing in a floater for two. Kobe misses a three pointer from Providence at the end of the shotclock. @Slamonline confirms he’s 9-of-26.
68-67, LA: A quick stat recap before we hit crunchtime: Rondo (11) just joined Garnett (19) as the only Celtics in double figures. Kobe has 25. Gasol has 11. We have a classic.
68-67, LA: Rondo with the hesitation and floater over Gasol. The Celtics are within one. Welcome to Rajon Rondo’s America. Everyone will be getting plenty of handouts in a lot of visually appealing ways.
68-63, LA: The loudest “Bulls–t” chant I’ve probably ever heard overtakes the stadium on a Sheed foul of Gasol. The ref called it from behind the play. He had no angle on it. He telegraphed it. It’s a bad call. But what’s worse for the Lakers is that the crowd is at full-blast because of it.
67-63, LA: Tony Allen for two! Tzvi just asked me which summer pickups mattered in this game. The answer is none. Know what counts in this game tonight? Growth. Check out Tony Allen, Big Baby, Shannon Brown, Bynum (on a different level).
End of 3 - 67-61, LA: Pau closes the quarter out with a jumper. He is not fazed. But they already let Rondo back into it. It’s a whole new ballgame. Kobe’s on his game. Rondo is on his game. Who takes it?
65-61, LA: Rondo finds a seam that did not exist, like Sasquatch or Gary Coleman’s wife’s moral code, and delivers a pass to Tony Allen for a free lay-in. The Celtics are within four.
65-57, LA: Kobe 3. This guy is unreal.
62-57, LA: The pace is at perfect Rondo temperature after that timeout. Tony Allen for a fast break lay-in. The Celtics are within 5. Rondo has been Humidor’d.
62-53, LA: This crowd really wants a run, but Kobe is taking away any chance at it. He keeps hitting buckets when they need it (and not when they don’t). Ray keeps taking shots and missing them. The entire Eastern seaboard keeps dozing off. 62-54, Lakers.
58-51, LA: Perk gets a foul call after three straight possessions where he couldn’t finish around the rim. That’s been the story of the game for Boston’s bigs so far. He makes both. Big Baby will see if he can try to get some paint points for the C’s, and he’ll replace Garnett.
58-49, LA: Tzvi (he’s dominating over at @slamonline right now) just pointed out that Kobe is 6-of-18 from the field after that miss. It does not feel like it.
58-49, LA: Ray just airballed a layup. Yep, a layup. He’s 0-of-9. I’ve never seen him this hesitant.
Meanwhile, KG has picked up his third foul. We just went two minutes without scoring on either end.
56-47, LA: The Celtics make a quick 6-2 run, but it’s squelched by a Kobe 3. I don’t have many epiphanal moments, but I went into this series thinking LeBron was the best player in basketball and, regardless of what happens this series, I know Kobe is #1, and it’s because of what he did in Game 1. He has a game-high 18.
52-42, LA: Pau for two. KG for two. Two warriors standing, upright, running, jumping, climbing trees, making mini-hooks.
That was ESPN promo copy, stolen verbatim from one of their forty tents downstairs.
Update, 10:30: This is what you’re greeted by when you enter the Garden. Yep, that’s an ice sculpture. I chiseled a little bit off for my orange drank.
HALFTIME – 52-40, LA: It’s close and it’s not close. It seems like LA is winning by 40. Only Boston seems jetlagged.
Jon Gruden’s here, Doc. Ask him if he’s got one of those speeches he used to give to Jeff Garcia lying around.
51-40, LA: Up until these KG free throws, no one on the Celtics who has shot free throws tonight shot better than 62 percent for the season (Rondo, Perk, Tony Allen). LA has shot 13 free throws. The Celtics are shooting their 12th.
51-40, LA: Ruh-ro, Boston. Kobe is starting to get hot. He has 16 on 5-of-13, but he’s been deadly from 20′.
46-35, LA: Kobe with the ultimate hustle play. He sees KG bobbling a rebound, Kobe runs through the key, pokes it away, dives into the stands to save his board for Bynum and Andrew gets the hoop, and-1.
You know when they’re talking about what separates Kobe from the other superstars? Other superstars score. But what other superstar do this?
43-34, LA: Something is called on Paul Pierce. The world will never know what exactly.
39-29, LA: Hello. Kobe delivers an NBA Street 2 alley-oop to a leaning-in Pau on the break. That will shut some people up. That will also be a Slamadamonth candidate, depending on who wins this Finals.
37-29, LA: Classic Rondo psyche-out. Allen was wide-open in the corner, Rondo’s look over got two defenders to commit, and he got a free layup. This is SportsCenter Top 10 stuff for anyone else. It’s Tuesday for Rajon Rondo. 9-0 Celtics run.
37-26, LA: Very, very quiet 6-0 Celtics run. The fans are just starting to figure this out during the Lakers’ possession. Ray Allen returns for Tony — the ceremonial swapping of Allens — and we’ll see if the Celtics usual offense can get back on track.
Truth is, they haven’t iso’d Pierce or ran Allen through many screens. All of their shots have been out-of-sync, end-of-possession forced-heaves, so maybe it’s not the players but the strange pace and comedown from the adrenaline. If the Celtics can make some stops here, we should have a very competitive second half.
37-24, LA: Pierce, Allen, Perk and Sheed are a combined 0-for-14.
37-20, LA: Well, that was brief. Tough Lamar bucket off of Big Baby’s large, infant frame for a layup. From Tzvi at @slamonline, the bench scoring disparity is 16-4 in LA’s favor.
31-20, LA: Looks like Doc just gave Nate the keys. He hits a top-of-the-key three. They need a boost, but preferably one that can draw some fouls.
29-17, LA: You know when Mark Jackson calls something a “grown man move,” but he does it so much it loses its effectiveness and it actually sounds kind of creepy, like something said in a anti-sexual harassment seminar video? Well, that sucks, because Kobe just put on a real life Grown Man Move, taking a bump and making a layup. So strong. It’s going to be a long night in Boston if he keeps this up.
END OF 1 – 26-17, LA: Lamar Odom has arrived at the NBA Finals, everybody! Fashionably late, but also right on time! He gets a layup plus the foul to end the half and extend the LA lead to 9. He has 6 and is +12 on the floor. The Garden faithful is churning out some unintelligable Chloe Kardashian-based chant, but it doesn’t matter. The Celtics need to respond right away next quarter. LA is on a 21-5 run right now.
21-17, LA: NateRob getting some early burn because of the Rondo free throw trouble. This energy is probably both awesome and dangerous for him.
21-16, LA: Boston is shooting its first free throws after a Rondo slash, but Rajon misses them both. The Lakers have shot 8 free throws. As I’m typing this, Pau is shooting two more. No one on the Lakers has more than one field goal, but six players have one.
18-16, LA: Pierce is 0-for-5 and Allen is 0-for-4. That makes Pierce 2 for his last 16. KG has completely returned to form, though. He’s 5-for-6 for 10, but no one else on the team (other than Rondo) has even scored. Timeout, Boston.
16-14, LA: Lamar for three. I can’t believe they fought through the noise of this crowd so quickly. There’s no way they could have been prepared for this kind of volume. Unless Phil had them do shootaround at a Metallica concert.
I wouldn’t put it past him.
12-12: Kobe hits a jumpshot and “is fouled.” He “is fouled” like I’m “in Connecticut right now.” It’s Rondo’s second, and Doc is going to ride this out, it appears. Nice J from just inside the three-point line, though.
12-9, C’s: Pau gets to the line (completely unjustly — he fell down) off of a nice pass from Lamar. The Lakers have done a nice job of weathering the storm and they’re only down one possession. It’s much quieter in here.
12-7, C’s: Luke Walton stepback fadeaway over Perk from 18 feet. Just the way Phil drew it up!
12-5, C’s: This is a Celtics fans euphoric fever dream. They’re playing Now That We Found Love by Heavy D & The Boyz and the Celtics are up by 7 to start Game 3 of the Finals. This is a scene from a Spike Lee movie, if Spike Lee was born in Boston 20 years later.
12-5, C’s: Rondo steals a save out of bounds and goes up-and-under. Then a KG pass to a dive-cutting Rondo for two more. Each of them have 6. LA timeout. It’s almost too loud in here to think. Boston couldn’t dream up a better start.
8-5, C’s: Hope you have your Twinkies handy because it’s the end of the world: Rondo hits a half-covered 16-footer.
6-0, C’s: Here we go. Crazy noisy in here. Three straight layups for KG to start. I’ve never been in a place this loud. There’s no joke for that.
Update: You can follow @slamonline for Tzvi’s updates. Including actual information, like the following:
Celts Locker Room, note 2: Nate Robinson was preoccupied. It seems he forget his earphones at home. We agree that’s a bad omen.
8:56: Some French dude on the elevator just told the lady to go to “Number 1 with a bullet.” This guy’s going to be devastated ocne he realizes how retarded that sounds nowadays.
8:54: Monica is our anthem singer. Cool, it’s 1998! Anybody want to watch Friends?
Update, 8:52: Comment of this young decade, so far, from Moose: “I think the officials will win.”
We’ll be highlighting the best comments of the night, by the way. So be excellent.
Update, 8:50 It is crazy loud in here. There’s 11 minutes until introductions and there was just an arena-wide, unprompted “Let’s Go Celtics” chant. It’s full in here. The 9 p.m. start time was supposed to help Lakers fans, but it’s going to get the C’s a crowd at its peak in noise and drunkenness right away.
Update, 8:30: Nate Robinson is playing around with an iPad. Can you think of one better spokesperson for the iPad than this dude?
Nate Robinson is the iPad in a nutshell: It can’t do much, but your grandparents will be very impressed.
Update, 8:20: Some man wearing a Lakers jester outfit, replete with purple-and-gold hat and a shawl (let’s be real — a blanket), approaches Ron Artest. He starts soothsaying. It’s completely weird. He’s whispering things like, “You can do this,” and “Don’t let them get in your head” loudly into Ron’s ear. He’s a walking, mutton-chopped motivational poster.
Ron looks, um, peeved.
I’m thinking about coming up to Ron with one of those kitty posters that say “HANG IN THERE” next game and see how that flies.
Ron returns to his headphones a little frazzled. Tzvi guesses that he’s “probably listening to 1940s jazz.” Exactly what I was thinking.
Update, 6:55: Tzvi and I are here. It’s cold and crowded. Like a pet store. With cake. Lots of cake.
We’re about to head out and watch Ray Allen shoot jumpshots. Until then, talk amongst yourselves. Who do you have tonight?
I’ve got Celtics by 8, with Rondo getting out on the break and Kobe going toe-to-toe for a while until he runs out of gas in a loud Garden. Tzvi says he “has no f–king idea.”
He’s probably right. I’m talking out of my ass. This series is unpredictable.