2008 NBA Playoffs: NBA Finals, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics, Game 3
Information about game 3 of the L.A. Lakers vs. Boston Celtics series in the 2008 NBA Playoffs, with score, recap, pictures, stats, highlights, quotes and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol performance.
2008 NBA Playoffs NBA Finals
GAME 3: L.A. Lakers 87 - Boston Celtics 81
Kobe leads the way, "the machine" follows and the Lakers win.
June 10, 2008 - STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES. --- In a game where most of the big names couldn't make a basket, Kobe Bryant led the way with 36 points, Sasha Vujacic backed him up with 20 and the Lakers escaped in the fourth quarter with an 87-81 victory to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the NBA Finals.
Despite an horrendous shooting night for Paul Pierce who had 6 points on 2-for-14 from the field, and Kevin Garnett who scored 13 but missed 15 of 21 shots, the Celtics managed to enter the fourth quarter leading 62-60.
Maybe the main reason was that Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol weren't playing much better. Odom, as has been a constant in these Finals got into early foul trouble and never found rhythm, he kept attacking strong and trying to cooperate but things are not going his way. He had 4 points, shooting 2-for-9 from the field while Gasol added 9 points on 3-for-9. Both got their first field goals in the third quarter.
But Kobe Bryant dressed with his MVP suit and showing all his repertory of moves attacked the basket and found the paths that were closed for him in previous games. And also the whistles started to sound when he was fouled for the first time in the series. With the game on the line Kobe showed how good he reads what the rival offers, getting rid of the ball when doubled or punishing Ray Allen when sent to try to stop him one on one.
Kobe also had a lot of help from Sasha Vujacic who lived to the expectations of his self-imposed nickname “The Machine” making three 3-pointers, including a crucial one from the left corner with 1:53 left that gave the Lakers an 81-76 lead. He had 20 points shooting 7-for10 and proved once again that he had developed into a good defender who can also drive the ball.
The score was tied at 20 after the first quarter, with 9 points from Vujacic in the second the Lakers held a 43-37 halftime lead, but then scored just 17 points in the third quarter and with 6:54 to go in the fourth were trailing 68-66 before Kobe Bryant received the ball so open that he took all the time he needed to make a 3-pointer and gave the Lakers the lead for good.
Later Pau Gasol recovered his memory to score 4 consecutive points and open the margin to 77-70 but Boston got to 78-76 with 2:41 left before The Machine connected his second 3-pointer of the period. Bryant's 19-footer while moving to his left gave the Lakers an 85-78 lead with 1:06 to play. Eddie House answered with a three-pointer, but Kobe got into the lane, faked his shot, Ray Allen fell into the trap and Kobe sealed the score 87-81 with 38 seconds left.
Allen was the only member of "The Big Three" that was effective, keeping his team on the game with 25 points that included 5 three-pointers.
The Lakers improved to 15-0 at Staples Center since a March 28 loss to Memphis, 9-0 in the playoffs.
Bryant made only 11 of 18 free-throw attempts (61.1%), the Lakers only 21 of 34 as a team (61.8%).
Phil Jackson (LAL Coach): "It was not a beautiful ballgame, that's a transition game from East Coast to West Coast. But we'll have a day to catch up tomorrow and hopefully both of us will play better basketball on Thursday night."
Kobe Bryant (Lakers): "What I tried to do with my teammates is just stay calm, it wasn't the end of the world. They did a great job of defending home court. We knew we had to come here and do the same. They feed off of my confidence and I have all the confidence in the world that we can come here and win.
Ray Allen (Celtics): "As bad as we played, we still had opportunities, that's the positive. We can look at it, but I don't think on either side of the floor we were good. We had so much more room for improvement.”
Doc Rivers (Celtics coach): “Kobe was fantastic but I thought Vujacic was the key to the game, I said before we are going to have to win a game when Kobe Bryant plays well. We know that. But when that happens, we have to shut off the other avenues.”