by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
*We’re here. I had to weave in and out of some serious traffic on the I-10 freeway and then had to shift through the redic crowds that are posting up in LA Live and outside of Staples. Ottawa’s finest citizen, Marcel Mutoni, is to my right. We’re sitting up in section 323–basically the last row up top. Surprisingly, it’s a decent view. I’m just happy and thankful to be here.
*Pregame: We’re 15 minutes away and there are still tons of empty seats. Yes, LA fans can’t even be on time for the Finals. Celts just came out and received boos about as loud as you would hear in a HS gym. Nothing to report pregame from the Lakers lockeroom. Lamar was quietly getting ready and Sasha was walking around in his Peak sneakers, hair a bit messy for those scoring at home.
*Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers’ pre game pressers were pretty tame. Some nice banter between LA Times columnist T.J. Simers and Phil. Simers: “Is this your last pre-game press conference?” Doc, was funny when asked why he’s starting Sheed. “Because he’s old,” he says. “I figured I’d go with the old guy.”
*I arrived at Staples @ about 3pm. LA Live was crawling with cats trying to find a way to creep into Staples. Security is super tight and there are cops patrolling all over. I saw two cops watching the line that led into ESPN sportszone. The line was around the block. I made sure to park my car several blocks away in order to have a sound exit strategy. We will see if it works.
*Spoke with Arash Markazi pregame. He was looking very comfortable in the front row as he watched D Fish put down some jumpers. My eyes were focused on Shelden Williams, who was putting in some work in the post. It will be interesting to see if he gets much PT tonight. Doris Burke has decided that pink is her color tonight. Ran into Sekou Smith before the game also. Great guy. Marcel introduced me. Doesn’t sound like he’s too happy with Lang for missing this trip. I told Sekou that I was more than happy to fill in for him.
*Fans screamed thru most of Christina’s anthem. Paul Pierce just threw his dice so now it’s time for the Lakers to be announced and this place is warming up.
*In the pregame presser, Phil was asked if tonight’s outcome would have an impact on whether or not he will return next season. Phil said he won’t know that until he knows the outcome. Classic.
*Jake brings up an interesting point in the comments about the Lakers making changes this offseason. It will be interesting to see what type of moves they make.
*Artest continues to creep us out offensively but Fish saves him. This place is freaking loud. Maybe it’s because I’m on the top deck tho.
*The bank is open for Sheed. He’s aggressive early and that has to be a great sign for Boston.
*Nothing was going to keep Kobe from taking that jumper after Rondo fouled him.
*C’s looking tough early. Rondo loves the right handed layup from the left board.
*We’re off to a great start. C’s are contesting everything inside. 10-9 Boston with about 6 minutes left in the 1st. How long can Andrew hold up?
*Tough call on KG. Let them play, ref.
*Even from section 323, Jesus Shuttlesworth’s jumper is wet. Big Baby with the nice up and under layup. Celtics are looking so strong early on. Nothing easy for the Lake Show tonight.
*Kendrick Perkins is very vocal and active on the bench tonight. Kobe and Pierce having some words as ball comes down court.
*Big Baby Davis is doing it.
*Heck of a 1st quarter. Very impressed with how strong Boston came out. They lead the Lakes 23-14 at the end of the 1st. Former Lakers great Michael Cooper just came out and shot a three-pointer in some type of contest to win something. He missed.
*Crowd is a little stunned. Kobe is 1-7 for 3 points. Big Baby and Sheed are filling in nicely for Perkins, giving the C’s a great lift early.
*Unique lineup for the Lakes: Bynum, Farmar, Artest, Sasha and Lamar. C’s call a timeout to adjust. 23-19, Celtics. 10 minutes left in the 1st half.
*Great foul by Jordan Farmar. If Rondo is streaking for the hoop, use a foul and hack him at halfcourt.
*Ron Artest’s breakaway layup has set this place on fire. KG nearly takes out Jack diving for loose ball. He gave everyone the word as he walked away.
*The pace has gone crazy. Knotted up at 25. Six minutes left till half. Anytime there is a chance for a rebound, bodies collide all over. “Both teams played hard.”
*3 fouls on KG. Big Baby might have to close the half. The defensive intensity is insane. 31-29 Celtics with about 3 minutes left in the half.
*Thanks for stirring up the pot, Jukai. Always appreciated. Tons of bad dancers on Lakers dance cam during break. Things getting testy at the end of the half and refs going to the whistle. 38-34 Boston with 43 seconds left till halftime.
*Scalabrine checks in. Appleman was right.
*40-34 Celtics at the half. My Attorney Richard A. Buffum just dropped this on me: “A 90s style NY Knicks game has broken out.”
*Props to all of you rolling with us tonight, especially cats like Alan who are overseas, watching this game at a wicked hour. Celtics are already back on the floor shooting shots with about 9 minutes left in the half.
*Stoked to see that Darksaber has joined our discussion. Now we’re officially ready for the 2nd half. No doubt, Ben. Thanks for the call. Feel very lucky to be here.
*Boston coming out the gate strong, adding to their cushion. KG puts C’s up 45-35 after that 3-point play. Fans are quiet as horrible music blares.
*Feel like the Lakes took a nap at the half. Celts up 51-43 after a bucket by D Fish. Fans back in it. 6 minutes left in 3rd. Pierce nails a huge 3 for celts that give them 54-45 lead. Have no idea where this game is headed but Boston should be feeling good. Kobe Bean Bryant is struggling.
*Lamar giving the Lakers a nice lift but is it enough? Not with Sheed banking everything in.
*Lakers closing in, but Rondo continues to be a problem. Fans don’t think Shannon Brown fouled him. Of course they don’t.
*One more quarter of NBA ball for the 2009-10 season. Celtics lead the Lakes, 57-53. Hoping for an incredible finish.
*They just played the song from the movie blade and followed that up with Enter Sandman. 90s Knicks indeed.
*Big And 1 by Pau. This place is erupting. 57-55 Boston.
*Great play by KG to stop Artest, but looked like a foul. Poor D by Pau leads to easy hoop by KG. 59-55 Celtics with exactly 9 minutes left in the game.
*Omid Farhang, one of the best creative people the ad world has to offer, has joined us in comment section for final 9 minutes. Lets get it.
*Fans still believe in Kobe. He really needed those three free throws. 59-58 Boston. Tough floater by Ray-Ray. 61-58 C’s. Nate Robinson back on the floor. Couldn’t finish at the cup.
*Artest with the And 1, all Lakers fans on the feet. Sheed just picked up his 5th going over the back of Pau. He stormed off after the call. Fans were hoping he would get closer.
*2 big throws by Ray Allen. Lakers have missed 10 FTs tonight. 64-64 with 6 minutes left after a huge 3 pointer by Fisher.
*The Rockets/Knicks scenes in the OJ 30for3o documentary last night looked like this game.
*Black Mamba. Finally. 3 ball. Lakers lead 68-64 with about 5 minutes left. Staples going crazy.
*Pierce with a huge jumper from FT line. 70-66 Lakers with 3 and a half left. (And thank you Alley for the editing help. I need it. Bad.)
*KG open again underneath. Big dunk. 71-68 LA. 3 minutes.
*3 out of 4 free throws by Pau puts the Lakers up 74-68. 2 minutes. Paul Pierce at the line.
*76-70 after the huge bucket by Pau, a layup over a few defenders. 90 seconds left in the game. C’s need a bucket badly when they come out of this timeout.
*Sheed. 3. Get it. 76-73. Wow.
*WOW. WOW. 79-76 after Jesus hits 3.
*81-76 Lakers with 25 seconds left after 2 FTs by Kobe.
*Rondo kills all chances of the Lakers covering the spread with a 3. 81-79 LA with 13 seconds left.
*It’s on Sasha and he hits 2 FTs to put LA up 83-79. Boston timeout.
*Rondo misses a 3 and the Lakers win 83-79. What a series. I think both squads should trade out jerseys world cup style. Bravo.
*That’s a wrap from Staples. Lakers get their 16th title. Heading to the pressers. Hoping to grab some champagne. Good night and good luck.