Rondo's Game 3 was eerily similar to his Game 1: Not bad, but not special, either. Rondo looked spectacular in the first few minutes and his decision to go out of his way to get Kevin Garnett involved early paid off. But overall the offense struggled, with Rondo not making anywhere near the impact he did in Game 2.
It's a bit shocking how staggeringly bad Allen was offensively. He was so bad that his solid defensive effort against Kobe Bryant was overlooked. His jump shot was flat all night, but Allen needs to do a better job of making sure his defender runs right into the scores of screens that are set for him.
Perkins continues to have a marginal impact against Andrew Bynum, whose length and touch have caused Boston's bruising center problems all series. With Glen Davis doing a credible job defensively, Doc Rivers opted to go with the more offensive-oriented player down the stretch. That trend could continue if Perkins doesn't make a bigger impact.
The looks were good, but the shots weren't falling. Pierce has yet to have the kind of breakout game Bostonians are accustomed to. Credit Artest as the cause for some of that, but Pierce is doing a lot of it himself.
K.G. was Boston's go-to guy, abusing Gasol in the post so often that you wondered why the Celtics weren't going to him every possession. While Gasol made a key bucket down the stretch, Garnett kept him in check most of the night. It was expected that matchup was one Boston could exploit -- it just took them three games to do it.
The Lakers did a lot of damage against the second unit early, ballooning their first half lead to 17 against Boston's subs. But Davis (12 points) put in a few key buckets and Tony Allen harassed Bryant defensively while converting two nifty drives on the other end. Nate Robinson gave the team a jolt in the second quarter but (surprise) his shot selection was pretty terrible.
Doc Rivers, Head Coach
Can't fault coaching too much when your best outside threats can't buy a bucket. Rivers admitted the team should have run more offense through Garnett, but the Celtics' problems in Game 3 didn't come from the sidelines. The defense closed out on shooters well (L.A. shot 13.3 percent from beyond the arc), and the offense created plenty of open looks. Problem was, when they got them, not many players could convert.
Offense? Check. Fisher made half his shots and canned the biggest one of the night, a running layup that banked in while he was being gang tackled by three Celtcs. Defense? Check, check, check. Fisher blew up screens and blanketed Allen all night. A near flawless game from L.A.'s elder statesman. .
Bryant got his points, but it took him an equal number of shots to get there. Boston's one-on-one defense was extremely effective all night, and Bryant fed into it, forcing a lot of contested shots. No question, Boston will live with this kind of output from Bryant.
Not the greatest game for Bynum, who looked like he tweaked his heavily bandaged right knee again in the second half. Bynum did help L.A. control the glass and outplayed Perkins for the third time this series. Given his questionable health, L.A. can't ask for much more than that.
You would like to credit Artest for stifling Pierce, but Artest got into early foul trouble and most of Pierce's misses came with defenders several feet away. Artest didn't force up as many shots (four) as he did in previous games, but he bricked both his three attempts and never looked comfortable on the floor.
Gasol finally caved to expectations in Game 3, allowing Garnett to abuse him on the low post while cowering in his presence offensively. Still, Pau's 15-foot jumper in the fourth quarter was one of the biggest shots of the night, and his 10 boards tied for a team-high.
Lamar Odom finally came off the milk carton, scoring 12 points. Shannon Brown, Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar (eight total points) didn't have great numbers but they weren't a liability down the stretch, either. Each sub hit at least 50 percent of his shots.
Phil Jackson, Head Coach
Like Rivers, Jackson and Co. didn't impact this game much. With Bryant's shots consistently finding iron the Zen Master might have gotten in his ear a little more about moving the ball. But certainly Jackson has learned over the years that you have to live with these kind of shooting nights from his star. But Jackson's decision to keep Fisher on Allen after Allen torched him on Sunday was arguably the most impactful move of the game. Overall, an even effort from the sideline.
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