Thursday, December 25, 2008

LA Grinches Steal Celtics Christmas

They weren't the team wearing green, but the Lakers played the role of Grinches on Christmas day as they stole away the Boston Celtics incredible winning streak. The Celtics were on fire heading into LA with 19 straight games won, but Kobe & company decided it was their day to shine. The Lakers held the lead from most of the 2nd quarter on, until the Celtics began to charge back behind Paul Pierce (20pts) and KG's (22pts) hot shooting hand. The game became back and forth in the 4th, but the Lakers managed to pull away in the final 2 minutes, winning it by 9 points and defeating their Finals foes from this past June. Kobe was consistent as usual but it was the effort from Pau Gasol down the stretch which helped put things away. Kobe had 27 points, 9 boards and 5 assists, several of which were passes to teammate Gasol in the lane for buckets. Gasol also added a huge block of a Ray Allen 3 point attempt during the final stretch. Trevor Ariza retrieved the loose ball for a fast break reverse jam to cap off the play.

Not only did this mark the Celtics first loss in 20 games, it was Lakers coach Phil Jackson's 1000th Career win as a head coach. Jackson achieved this milestone faster than any other coach with 1,423 games. As for the Celtics they still have a shot at matching the great Chicago Bulls of years ago who had an incredible 41-3 start, coached by Phil Jackson also.

Kobe Bryant said they would use today's game as a measuring stick for the Lakers strength this season, but does it prove the Lakers are more formidable foes than last year? The Celtics still played tough and resilient in Los Angeles against a team obviously hungry for revenge and the upperhand. Bynum showed how valuable he will be in the lane for the Lakers D. If nothing else this game only served to prove how great a matchup this truly is. Fans who watched the ABC Christmas day games definitely were given quite a present, as they also saw the Spurs knock off the Suns at the buzzer with a 3 from Roger Mason. Game 2 of the doubleheader provided an intense meeting between the champs and runner-ups of 2007-08. Come playoff time fans will be just as greatly rewarded should the Lakers & Celtics meet again in a Finals rematch.

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