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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 7: Boston closed their eyes and it slipped away

Jun 18, 2010, 1:51 AM EDT

Garnett_sad.jpgIt’s a very bitter taste for a team that remembers the sweet taste of champagne.

It’s made worse by knowing that they had a 13-point lead in the third quarter. Worse by knowing that this team may never be together in this form again. Worse by knowing that Ray Allen went 3 for 14 in what likely will be his final game in a Celtics uniform.

Worse because for the first time this playoffs, Boston actually looked old.

“Well, there was a lot of crying in our locker room, a lot of people who care…” Doc Rivers said after an 83-79 loss at a game played right at the Celtics pace. “I just can’t stress enough how crazy close this team was, you know, and that would be the word, crazy close. They’re the type of group that they could scream at each other but no one picks on any of them. That’s a special group.”

They played special at the start. Boston came out playing physically on defense, taking away the Lakers primary options, forcing the Lakers to shoot 22 percent in the first quarter. Kobe Bryant wanted desperately to put his imprint on the game and the Celtics had a game plan to take the ball out of his hands. Boston trapped him, they pushed him off his spots, they gave him no space and he shot 1 for 7 in the first quarter. And Boston was up 9 after one.

That defensive effort continued through the third quarter, and the fans Staples were on edge. It wasn’t pretty, and the Celtics were fine with that. The Lakers would make a mini-run and the Celtics would make a couple stops, a couple baskets and re-establish themselves. Boston was the better team. They were getting some transition points and they were up 13.

But the size of the Lakers kept wearing on a Boston team that missed Kendrick Perkins.

“I thought the lack of size at the end of the of the day was the difference in the game,” Rivers said. “I thought a couple things hurt us – when Rasheed started getting cramps, that was killer for us because they attacked out lack of size after that, and then it made me, forced me to extend Kevin (Garnett’s) minutes, which I know is not good.”

Pau Gasol, “befuddled” by Rasheed Wallace in the first half (to use Phil Jackson’s term), started to come to life. The Lakers were making their big run. Boston could no longer run its offense through the post because the Celtics big men were too tired to be effective, Rivers said.

So when Boston needed points, they turned to Allen. And he missed. The guy that won them Game 2 with his shooting was 3 of 14 on the night, 2 of 5 in the fourth quarter. Missing at the rim and from three.

It may well be Allen’s last game as a Celtic (although he said he wants to be back), he is an unrestricted free agent this summer and other teams are likely to pay more than a Boston team that needs to start getting younger. It was an ugly way to go out, looking old.

“It’s hard to see it end this way,” Allen said.

It wasn’t just Allen, either.

“You know, it’s the fist time all year that you can actually say at the end of the day we were old because at the end of the game because we didn’t have enough bodies,” Rivers said, referring to Perkins. “I thought it hurt us.”

It hurt them a lot. To the point of tears.

105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Rick - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    I’m not a Lakers fan, but was happy to see the Celtics lose. Perkins, Garnett, Wallace and Davis are some of the biggest jerks on the basketball court, and all on the same team.

  2. madmax - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    They are not jerks. They just wanted the ring the same way Kobe wanted his. They’re old alright but they won last 2008 but again tired old bodies could not sustained their defense. The Lakers felt that too after Shaq and Kobe quarrelled and lost to the Pistons 4-1.

  3. avomonster - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:08 AM

    No, Rick has it just about right. Although he was being polite by calling them “jerks”. Egocentric arrogant thugs would be better, or another term for an orifice would be most accurate.
    That’s just the way the Boston likes their teams, bullies through and through, no grace, no style. Just brute, ugly force. Knock down the other guy and take their ball, cheat if you have to (Bellicheat). Where’s the sportsmanship in that kind of play? There is none, they sold their soul and humanity.
    I think it is fantastic that the better persons won tonight, as well as the better team. It shows us that sometimes good guys do finish first and can beat the bullies and a-holes at their own game.
    GO LAKERS!!!!!

  4. pnut - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    hahaha you dare call out Boston fans and the team(I’m not from Boston), yet completely ignore your team? Your team of whiny crybabies that flop like they are made of glass. Let’s not forget the terrible hooligans your trash city has that rioted in the streets.

  5. Dr J - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Thank-You Both Celtics and Lakers; what Great Championship Organizations; I loved the Playoffs this Year and Especially the Gut Determination, Brilliant Skills and Heart of these two Championship Teams. Actually I feel there was a certain Ego Transcendence & Grace (except for Kobe and Pierce only a little bit) I hadn’t seen since MJ years; Pure Basketball and Intense Competition; it was a Joy to watch and as a B-Ball Fan I’m very grateful to occasionally leave my stressed life behind and immerse myself in old fashioned competition as though I was out there making the Shots…
    As a true Fan, Thank-You, this is what its ALL about!
    …and actually I feel as a Die-Hard Laker, (Jackson) Fan, that the Celtics impressed me to no end; they were all Champions in my Book; they left their heart on the Floor and it was Bliss for me to watch pure professional skill and the real competitive spirit of the Game!

  6. Ilbert - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:27 AM

    I really do not like the game today. There is entirely too much contact, to the point that the referees do not even know when a foul have been committed. Early in the game, the Lakers could not get a call. The Celtics lost because the Lakes finally started playing Celtic ball, it became old men vs. young men, starting in game six. It is ugly ball and the league has to do something about the wresting, hacking, punching, scratching, slugging, pushing, etc. It is not the basketball I grew up with and I do not like it. It is street ball with a vengeance. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

  7. davy boy - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    as long as that non convicted rapist kobey dobey is on the lakers team, i will NEVER support them.
    the great lakers teams of the past with wilt and baylor and jerry and magic—now THOSE were great teams!!!
    as for the “thuggish” celtics—they are no more thuggish than any other team. basketball is a rough tough game under that basket–as it should be!!!
    i m rooting for the best player in basketball, lebron, to get his ring soon….

  8. Hackpiper - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    Boston guy here…
    Congratulations to the Lakers for the title…and to the Celtics for fighting through to the finish.
    Please just ignore the twits and jackasses posting here dissing the Celtics. They don’t do credit to the Lakers, their fans, or LA. They DO show why most Bostonians think that — in this rivalry – some LA people HATE Boston a LOT more than Bostonians even think about LA. It’s sports, folks, not some wierd opportunity to show your regional bigotries and ignorance of that “other place” on the opposite coast.
    It hurt to watch the Celtics fall last night after the extraordinary season they’ve had fighting through every obstacle and bad break to exceed all expectations. It would hurt just as bad if the Suns or another Western team were the winning opponent. A good rivalry is about the competition. Moronic statements about “better people” and ‘thugs” — etc. are just so much ugly and childish hot air.
    Enough said. This moment belongs to the victors. Congratulations, Lakers and LA.
    …Now off to drown my disappointment. :)

  9. John - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    Well said… It was a football game… They beat the celtics at their game. You are going to have a terrible field goal percentage when you allow grabbing shoving to go on. Just like the Pistons with Lambeer …

  10. Mike R. - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    High five Dr. J. Your remark was spot on! Great series with multiple ebbs and flow. I had no horse in this race, just the love of The Game!

  11. Who cares - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    I no longer watch the NBA nor do I care anymore who wins or loses. I used to love the game when the players were decent human beings. After the whole Indiana players attacking the fans ordeal I woke up and realized I don’t want to give my money to these individuals. Now, I just see them all as overpaid babies in large bodies who are accustomed to getting their way. I find the game disgusting and it’s because of the attitudes and behaviors of the players. I know there are decent players, unfortunately the bad overshadow them. If I want to watch violence I’ll watch a UFC match, If I want to see tackling I’ll watch football, and if I want to see people throwing fits I’ll go visit a nursery.

  12. OLias McHugh - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    Better people? You must be talking about the rapist…yeah he’s a great guy. It’s so nice to see him hug his daughters after a every game . He’s a real nice guy and clearly a family man. Or maybe your talking about the thug Artist…dirtiest player in the game. Suspended for a year for beating up fans…a truely great guy. No question you know your stuff…your an idiot.

  13. It's all BS - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    Boston fan here: It was a great series! Both teams were awesome and played their hearts out! Shame on all you haters on both sides. I would have loved for my Celtics to have won this one but it was not meant to be and so be it but you cannot take anything away from either team. No one even expected the Celtics to go all the way but they did and they forced 7 games. It’s a great rivalry and all a part of the game! Now when is football season?????

  14. marc - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    If your not convicted of rape then your not a rapist, stop your crying.Lebron obviously is not the best in basketball when he’s sitting at home watching the championship on TV.The LAKERS ARE THE CHAMPS.

  15. LASucksCokk - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    At least none of them ever raped somebody (or were even accused of it). How does it feel being a Lakers fan and rapist lover?

  16. Tao Mokoda - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. When you folks have had your fill of analysis, excuses and hating, just remember what history will remember; the ONLY thing history will remember: The Lakers WON, the score was 83-79. The rules of the game make NO provision for age, tiredness, players being hurt, “cheating” officials (surprised no Celtics fan has come out with that one yet) or planetary alignment! The only thing that matters is, when the clock goes to 0.0, who has the most points. That would be the 2010 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers!! And as a Laker fan whose least favorite team in ANY sport is a team from Boston, that’s just perfectly fine to me!

  17. casual fan - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    Well I am not a Lakers fan or a Kobe fan, but I felt good seeing the Celtics lose. The first commenter got it right, I find Boston completely devoid of any qualities I want to root for in a team. They are like the biggest bunch of babies/egomaniacs ever. And it does bleed over into their other sports, especially the arrogance and cheating of the Patriots. COME ON, thats not about football, that’s about cheating to win. Don’t even get me started on the red sox, whose fans are the most obnoxious I have ever seen (first hand when they came to Houston for the Super Bowl). They act like some cinderella, cult favorite when in actuality only one team spends more than they do! silly.
    Whatever, Im glad Boston lost, I never root for them in anything anymore.

  18. Doolies - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    So many other cities are so jealous of Boston. Despite a few lost championships here and there, Boston IS the sports city of the last decade. Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins… zip it and grab a seat.

  19. Curt - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    I would hope that all of you would have the understanding that so-called pro basketball is just a game. And not one of us owns a plug nickle of these two teams. They are a private business that supports themselves with dollars gained from ticket sales and television revenues.
    Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed watching the finals. And the NBA got what it was hoping for. A full seven game final series that drew a large viewing audience. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!
    Just keep the perspective clear. This is nothing more than entertainment or none of us would have watched or would watch sports or t.v.
    O.K….it was nice to see the Lakers win. I guess it has to do more than anything else with watching fans believe that it’s “THIER” team…not…but it has to do with attitude. Win or lose…the sun still rises the next morning and life will continue without delay.
    And the NBA won with this one for sure!

  20. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Sorry, the better TEAM won.

  21. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Well, gee, whatever will Boston do without YOUR support…!!! OMG!!!

  22. Hackpiper - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Take a pill and relax, will ya! It’s just a game…not some epic cross -continent battle of civic virtue. Enjoy the win. Methinks you have revealed more about yourself than you intended. LOL!

  23. Delores Wilson - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    Since I’m not either a Celtics nor Laker fan, advanced age was not the only reason the Celtics lost. Playing in LA, LA refs, noise, etc didn’t help. Why aren’t these championships played on a neutral court like every other sport?

  24. Lakerfan - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Go Lakers !
    Congratulations to both Lakers and Celtics for playing such a high quality game. Defense was at its best from both ends. But in the end the best of the two Teams won.
    Too bad the Celtics look Old now and there is no young core to take over the mantle from Big 3, and I don’t see Celtics making to NBA finals atleast in next 15 years.

  25. ocgunslinger - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Then get out of here.
    As to the series it was a great series with a lot of guts shown by both teams. I salute the Celtics for an outstanding season. Same for the Lakers who if they can get Bynum and Kobe healthy for next year will have an excellent opportunity to three-peat…. especially if Phil returns.

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