The Lakers took their home-court advantage back, just as expected. KD did his thing, now it's Internet time...
Matt Moore, ProBasketballTalk: "0-13 from the field, 0-8 from the three point line. Whew. There's really no way of getting around that. That's a pretty terrible performance. It's so bad, it deserves some cliches. Here are a few for you to use around the office today! 'Ray Allen(notes) couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat!' 'Ray Allen couldn't hit a barn door with a twelve gauge!' 'Ray Allen couldn't make a bucket with a welding torch, fifty tons of sheet metal and a class A welding instructor!' Okay, the last one's not really a cliche, but if you use it they'll never know. The point is, Allen's 0-fer last night was the kind of shooting night that gives pure shooters like Allen nightmares. The rim just not cooperating. The Lakers' defense also stepped up big times, interrupting passing lanes and forcing Allen further and further into the corner like he was that kid at the end of 'The Blair Witch Project.'"
Eric Freeman, The Baseline: "The Game 2 loss clearly had an effect on the Lakers, who came out of the gates looking very sharp and built themselves a 37-20 lead after a little under 15 minutes of play. The first halves of the series' first three games have in many ways been defined by one team coming out with more energy than the other, and that advantage belonged to the Lakers in Game 3. What set apart their play in this game is how they got contributions from nearly every player on the roster, from Kobe Bryant's(notes) usual contributions down to Luke Walton's(notes) steadying influence as part of the second unit. The L.A. bench hasn't always been effective in these playoffs, but they did their part Tuesday night. Those contributions from all over the roster were more important in the second half, when Bryant started to shoot poorly. Kobe ended up with a solid all-around line (29 points on 10-of-29 FG, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks, two steals) but his scoring fell off considerably in the second half. With Pau Gasol(notes) not in top form (13 points on 5-of-11 FG, 10 rebounds, two blocks), the Lakers needed other players to step up, and that's exactly what they did. Tops among those contributors were Lamar Odom(notes) (12 points on 5-of-5 FG) and Derek Fisher(notes) (16 points on 6-of-12 FG), who followed up poor performances in Game 2 with game-changing plays. Fisher was especially impressive, essentially carrying the Lakers through much of the fourth quarter and making a huge and-one lay-in on seemingly the entire Celtics defense to push the lead to seven with 48 seconds remaining. Fisher's been a punching bag for much of the season, but clutch performances like this one are his bread and butter."
Phillip, Forum Blue and Gold: "We've become accustomed to scoring barrages like this since 1996. Kobe Bryant has always had the ability to light up the box score in short periods of time. Eight points in just over four minutes isn't something we haven't seen before - but this time it wasn't from Kobe. It was Derek Fisher who almost single handedly kept the Lakers alive with the Celtics threatening to retake their first lead since just under five minutes left in the first quarter. And it would be Fisher who would ice the game. With just under a minute left to play, Fish grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball and scored while getting fouled. His free throw moved the lead to seven and completely out of reach for the Celtics."
Red's Army: "The referees were horrible (for both teams), yet again. It was almost as if they avenged Kobe Bryant's Game 2 foul trouble but frequently blowing the whistle on Paul Pierce(notes). The offensive foul on KG (induced by a Gasol flop) in the final minute was horrendous. Unfortunately, the refs had to make up for the previous out-of-bounds replay which was awarded to the Celtics because they missed an obvious foul on Rondo. Both benches stepped up their play. Lamar Odom had 15 points and 5 rebounds. I knew we were in trouble when he banked home that 3-pointer in the first half. As for the Celtics, Glen Davis(notes) had 12 points in 24 hustle-packed minutes. Lots of credit goes to Tony Allen(notes) for his defense on Kobe."
C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: "In a game that, in every imaginable way, was the yin to Game 2's yang, Fisher's 4th quarter will go down in history as one of the gutsiest performances from one of the gutsiest players in the game. In a game in which the defense, on both sides, was incredible, a game in which every other player, on both sides, was either shying away from the moment, or failing to deliver, Fish carried the Lakers to victory, 91-84. Filling the role normally occupied by Kobe Bryant, Fish was 5-7 with 11 of the Lakers 24 points in the final frame. 5-7, on some ridiculously tough shots: The 10 footer with Ray Allen draped all over him, the 12 foot bank shot with Rondo grabbing his arm (no call) on the way up, and the exclamation point, a driving layup in which Fisher gave up his body as he was fouled by 3 different Celtics as a mass of green, purple and intangibles went flying into the court-side photographers. 6 point lead (7 with the FT), less than a minute to go. Ball game. Fish didn't just close the refrigerator, he bought the groceries and filled the sucker up, too. While still finding time to make the Jello."
Brendan Jackson, Celtics Hub: "The Celtics squander a huge comeback, a break-out, bounce-back performance from Kevin Garnett(notes), and a poor shooting night from Kobe Bryant to end up losing Game Three, the first of three in Boston. Many would say this was a must-win game for the Celtics and in a lot of respects they would be correct. The Celtics had to come out and show that Game 2 was not a product of poor officiating and Ray Allen's shooting display was not a mirage. They did neither Tuesday night. Things got a little interesting when, in a seven point game with 40 seconds to go, Pierce drove left and banked in a lay-up after being fouled by Lamar Odom. On the ensuing rebound from the missed free-throw by Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo(notes) fouls Lamar Odom, but due to a soon-to-be-reviewed NBA replay rule the Celtics get the ball back. On the next possession, the Celtics get the ball to Ray Allen, who curls over a KG screen which initially looked like a two-handed merciless shove sending Pau Gasol tumbling to the ground. I should have known better. Gasol faked everyone out live, including the refs, but the replay showed the exaggerated flail to the ground that was so monumental it deserves it's own name and Naismith Hall plaque. Ladies and Gentlemen, can we put together? Can we start a petition and gain some traction for what can only be known as the infamous: Flop. Give credit to Pau Gasol. He made the game saving play. Despite a terrific and gutsy performance from Derek Fisher in the fourth quarter, it was Gasol sending himself to the floor with such authority that really put this game out of reach for the Celtics."
Matt McHale, Basketbawful: "Were the Celtics tired? Not all of them. KG (25 points, 11-for-16) looked pretty spry for a dead guy. But Rondo (11 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds) and Ray Allen (we'll get to him) looked flat as hell. You know how I've been slamming Doc Rivers' rotation -- or, more accurately, lack thereof -- all playoffs? Remember how I said it might bite him in the ass due to the short turnaround (plus traveling) between Games 2 and 3? Well, let's just say sometimes I hate being right. During the 2010 playoffs, Rajon Rondo is averaging over 41 minutes per game. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are just under 40. Not surprisingly, those three guys numbers one, two and three in minutes played during the playoffs. Boston shot 43 percent from the field and hit only 4 of their 18 three-point attempts. They also shanked eight free throws -- including seven misses during the first half -- which ended up being kind of big. The Celtics actually outscored the Lakers 50-38 in the paint, but they were outrebounded 43-35 (including 11-8 on the offensive glass). And check out The Four Factors: The Celtics and Lakers were pretty much dead even in every category exept Offensive Rebounding Percentage, which L.A. won by a significant margin. The rebounding stat is huge, especially in this series. Typically, the hardest working team wins that category. Last night, that team was the Lakers."
Mark Travis, But the Game Is On: "Derek Fisher skied in to get the rebound and made the biggest play of the night to follow. The Boston defense was confused as to what the Lakers were going to do. Kevin Garnett said post-game that he thought they were going to call a time out, other Celtics looked like they thought the Allen missed three had lost them the game. Either way, Fisher took advantage of a lazy/confused Boston defense and attacked the basket on a coast-to-coast fast break, finishing at the rim with a beautiful lefty lay-up even though three Boston Celtics contested the shot while two of them whacked him on the head. Fisher nailed the free throw, giving him 11 points on the quarter. Once again, Fisher had come through when it mattered most. I covered it in my column after the Phoenix series, but once again, after being criticized all regular season long, Derek has comeback in the post-season while facing the best competition in the world (Westbrook, Williams, Nash, Allen) and he is making big shot after big shot. We say it every time he has a game like this, we tell ourselves that this should surprise nobody, because, as Kobe said post-game, "that's what he does." But I'm surprised. How this guy keeps coming through in big moments is beyond logical thinking, at least considering his 82 game display before the playoffs. But I'm not complaining either, I'll take 0 points a game in 1000 games that don't matter if he you're going to give me 11 points in the fourth quarter of an NBA Finals game on the other team's home court. I'll take that any day of the week. Fisher finished with 16 points on six-of-12 shooting. He still sits without a three-pointer in the Finals, but that doesn't matter after tonight."