Lamar Odom calmly sank two pressure free-throws with still 16 seconds left in overtime and the crowd was on their feet and shouting their lungs out “Beat LA, Beat LA, Beat LA”
It was just days ago when Ray Allen took a perfect pass from a slashing Paul Pierce with 0.5 seconds left and buried the heart breaking three from the baseline. The Celtics have carried a 12 game winning streak after having a skid of 2-7 record which Los Angeles made a halt to their 19 game winning streak. But this time the Lakers are singing a different tune. Andrew Bynum is playing a superb season and on their first meeting the Celtics had to work hard for their shot and sometimes double pump when they see Gasol and Bynum coming forward but there is no Andrew this time and the Celtics has already set their mind offensively… get the ball in the inside…
Kobe who enjoyed a worry free offense early in the season had to step up his game and feel the urgency to complement the hole that Bynum has vacated.
It was clear on his 61 point performance in New York when he opts to shoot more rather than a team facilitator. The Celtics covered Byrant and made him work defensively. Eddie House was hitting treys all over the court and Fisher and Vujajic can’t seem to find the answer on Ray Allen.
It was a perfect game for the Celtics and after a seesaw battle when free-throw matters LA only shot a dismal 50 percent from the line. KG after battling the flu has proved little resistance from Powell and Odom. But when the game was on the line Kobe carried his team with two crucial back to back three pointers.
LA was lucky enough to escape a win but it was clearly evident that they really need Andrew Bynum from the middle. It was last year when Bynum change the whole perspective when he went to a season ending injury.
With 3 seconds left, Fisher recently made a non-shooting foul and in the inbound pass Ray Allen tried a desperation three but Pau Gasol went to block the shot and the ball went on to the hands of Gasol and the ballgame ended.
Kobe feels he still has to step his game more but he also has to know that when the game is on the line it doesn’t need a 60 point outburst it just needs five players who work their butts off… and so far the Lakers has done that even without a Bynum in the paint.
As the crowd’s loud cheers “Beat LA” went deafening, Kobe and company knew that this time it’s all about team effort and after a humiliating game 6 loss in the finals on the same arena the Lakers gave a subtle but strong message. See you in the finals…