Stray Bullets: Live in Boston

Last night I had the pleasure of being at TD Garden to watch Kobe and the Lakers beat the Celtics on their home parquet. There's nothing sweeter in my basketball life than the Lakers beating the C's, no matter where they play (until the Lakers learn how to beat LeBron), and especially since Boston got good again. Last night was especially sweet considering the tension in the building from an overtime game that went to the wire. Of course, the Lakers pulled out the win, 88-87, thanks to a huge night from Pau, who Boston just loves to call soft. Just passed over for the All-Star Game in place of his lil bro, he dominated Kevin Garnett, putting up 25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. How you like dem apples, Beantown? The Lakers have now beaten the C's in their house in four straight seasons. Another win in Boston. How about that Ray Allen?

  • Anyway, there were tons of Lakers fans there. Most likely because of the heartbreak of the Patriots loss. The C's aren't what they used to be (neither are the Lakers...yet) and added to Super sore feelings, and the Bruins re-emergence, Boston fans didn't seem too fond of dropping tons of money on this game like in previous years. I saw tickets that were originally priced at $300.00 drop to $200.00 by Monday, then down to $180.00 by Wednesday. And I didn't even need to pay that much. Thank you Giants, you saved me hella loot. Sorry for the crappy pics....
  • Look at all the Lakers fans:

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  • Kobe got booed of course, but the decent amount of Lakers fans evened it out a bit. And they call us Fakers? Remember that MVP chant in Boston? They hate Kobe, but you can feel the respect when he has the ball. They fear him.
  • Ever notice that just about every team in the NBA has "Beat LA" shirts? Thanks.
  • Living in Rhode Island, I don't get to see the Lakers play often. Unless I plan on moving to LA, I will have few opportunities to see my team play live. Unfortunately, I'm not Ye's level yet, so I can't jet set all over the country watching the Lakers play. So I relish the chance to see the Lakers every chance I get. Especially Kobe. Because of that reason, I found myself wanting to see Kobe gun a little bit. That is exactly what I paid to see. Kobe go nuts. He usually doesn't against Boston (they're still good on D), but I was hoping for something north of 40.
  • Working the ball inside out is nice and all. For team cohesion and chemistry, it's necessary for these Lakers to find the right balance. Still, it's way more entertaining watching Kobe can some off-balance 20-footer with Ray Allen draped all over him than it is to watch Bynum recoil for ten seconds before getting hacked. That makes you say "Wow, you see that?!" Kobe's ill. Watching Kobe on TV and seeing him in person are not the same. Kobe knows what people pay to see, and he tries his best to accommodate his fans. I understand why he goes off the page sometimes.
  • That doesn't mean he went off the page last night. I thought Kobe played a great game overall. He was fairly efficient until some late misses and kept teammates involved. He took 24 shots, but it didn't feel like he shot a lot. I'm sure some of them look like bad shots watching on the tube. Up close? They all look so close and make-able for Kobe. Like why not? He has 2 inches on Ray Allen.
  • Ray Allen's tough though. I'd say he does one of the best jobs in the league in defending Kobe, and Kobe had his way for the most part. Kobe went to work in the third quarter, and I thought he might go for 40 until he slowed down the pace.
  • I got to see this:


  • I wish he'd stop his cross-court passes to Metta World Peace on the wing though. Anytime Ron gets it there, you'd have to consider that successful defense. Less shooting, more D, Metta.
  • Pau was sublime. He was the best player on the floor last night. He did everything on both ends of the floor. Not only did he have the put back to tie the game and send it into OT, but his block on Ray Allen's put back sealed the win, and saved a lot of TVs from getting smashed. Pau was aggressive and efficient, and looks like a number two option again.
  • Kobe looked for Pau often. It's easy to see the chemistry they have together. I know Bynum is coming along, but the Lakers just play better with Pau as Kobe's co-pilot.
  • Pau seemed like he had something to prove tonight. He was getting extra work in before the game with Darvin Ham. The reps translated into the game well. I'm sensing a Player of the Week. That is until Kobe gives the Knicks fans a special treat.

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  • Marc Gasol made the All-Star team and Pau didn't. C's fans still have nerve to say the Lakers got Pau for nothing. Wow, that's funny. Al Jefferson, folks. Thanks.
  • Bynum is the biggest human being I've ever seen up close. (I've seen Shaq, but always from the bleachers.) Wow. I was on steps at least a foot higher than the floor, and this dude was still taller! He's also strong as shit. While Pau usually gives up trying to establish position after two back down bumps, Bynum just pounds defenders backward. Dude gets fouled pretty hard and still manages to get some kind of attempt up. He was a man in the post.

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  • One thing that bothers me about Drew though is his season-long bout with missing close shots. He makes a pretty good percentage, but it seems like he misses his share of shots that he easily gets over smaller defenders.He rushes shots sometimes to beat double teams. He does a great job of getting good looks when he reacts quickly, but he needs to be money there. So far, he's still better on rebounds and good passes.
  • Speaking of rebounds, Pau and Bynum ate up everything. 17 rebounds for Drew (7 offensive) and 14 for Pau (4 offensive). I swear it felt like the C's had no offensive rebounds. The box score said the C's had 12 offensive rebounds. It didn't feel like it.
  • Ron Ron shut Paul Pierce down for the most part. When Paul came to life in the second half, he did it with World Peace on the bench. Pierce was able to score a couple buckets against Ron late in the 4th (including that clutch 3-pointer), but overall he was fairly ineffective most of the game. He only had 7 points before getting warmed up against the Lakers' bench in the third quarter.
  • Paul Pierce was way better than KG though. If I didn't see KG out there, I wouldn't have known. People call Pau soft, but can you get much softer on offense for a power forward? If David West is the 17-foot Assassin, then Garnett is the 18-Foot Murderer. Last night, he killed his team.
  • The Lakers did their "sag off of Rondo" bit on D. Rondo was able to hit a couple this time around. More than I can say for KG.
  • Kinda surprised Steve Blake got so much playing time late. He seemed rusty and indecisive, which was expected, but came through late with a huge three. Did he forget how to make an entry pass though? Too many of his post entries to Bynum are poorly thrown. Drew has to reach low to get the pass, or it's stolen or knocked away. Either way, Blake was wasting Bynum's efforts at establishing position or making Bynum regroup after catching the ball.
  • Matt Barnes should not shoot threes. Run and rebound, bro.
  • What happened to McBob?
  • Jason Kapono didn't see the floor. For this I am grateful. He's the exact opposite of my need to see Kobe earn my ticket price. I don't pay to see him play. Thanks, Mike.
  • The Patriots' Rob Gronkowski was sitting courtside. No, he didn't do splits on the parquet then rip Kobe's jersey off. Although I'm guessing SoCalGal wouldn't mind if he did.
  • Follow me on Twitter: @wondahbap
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