Kobe Bryant talked to Pau Gasol, trying to motivate him on the last 2-minute stretch against the visiting and defending champions, the Boston Celtics. The commercialized matchup between the best in the east and the west had to be played on Christmas Day. The game was not the finals nor the playoffs yet but the intensity was overwhelming. Players and coaches will always say it is a non-bearing game like in any ordinary season but at the back of their minds, this game was one of the most important one in the season. The Celtics were running on a 19-game winning streak and for the Lakers, a taste of redemption dating back to their 4-2 loss in the last NBA finals. Kobe told Pau to stay on the game and to always remember that he was the best player in the world…
The finesse team, so to speak, was always labelled against the Lakers. Pau was shoved, pushed and was taken advantage of his soft defense. The game was a seesaw battle right from the 1st quarter although the Lakers were leading in almost all quarters but Boston always found a way to get back at the game with the sweet shooting of Ray Allen and consistency of Kevin Garnet. The Lakers were in a different level as they showed the visiting Celtics that they were not to be pushed and they are now pushing back. Their defense was superb, diving for loose balls and fighting for screens. They were trying to make a statement, and the message was definitely clearly sent…
Boston has rallied in the fourth quarter and after Eddie House hit a long jumper, the Celtics were on the driver seat. Kobe was doubled team everytime he got the ball and after his motivating speech with Pau Gasol, Pau stepped up his game. After a long jumper, Pau went to work, slashing the basket after a Kobe pass and after KG retaliated with a long jumper of his own. Pau scored an “and one” basket against Paul Pierce but Gasol’s meaningful play was a three-point shot block against Ray Allen that led to a Trevor Ariza slam. Pau pumped up and the Lakers cruised on to win 92-83 to put an x mark against the streaking Boston team.
We might never see Pau do that in a consistent basis but having been motivated, sky is the limit for Pau… and as he put his fist on his heart, it just went to show everything is possible if you just put your heart into it.
What a Christmas win for the Lakers!
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