Kobe Bryant (19 points, 8-20 FG) overcame a mediocre performance and drained a go-ahead jumper with 7 seconds left to beat the Celtics 90-89.
Rajon Rondo played a brilliant game – 21 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds. Doc inexplicably went without Rondo on the court for the final play. Had I drawn up the play, I would have had Rondo drive and either shoot or dish to the open man. Granted his numbers tailed off since halftime, but Rondo was playing the best of the all the Celtics.
The Celtics started extremely slow and found themselves down 13 in the first quarter. Andrew Bynum had 12 of his 19 points in the opening frame. Perk did a horrible job of boxing out in this game. Countless times, Bynum grabbed offensive rebounds by simply using his long arms over Perk.
Tony Allen (14 points) played a fantastic second quarter. He was driving to the hoop, finishing with the left hand and even hitting jumpers. It was TA and Rondo who fueled a 15-0 run and propelled the Celtics to a lead at the half.
Rondo stayed aggressive offensively in the 3rd quarter. His 8 quarter points kept the Celtics ahead 73-66 heading into the fourth.
With the pressure on the second unit to maintain the lead, they delivered. Eddie House banged home a couple of 3s and the Celtics lengthened the lead to 81-70 with with 9 minutes remaining. But any relief was short lived as LA rattled off an 8-0 run to but the lead to 81-78.
Aside from Kobe's jumper, the key play of the game was Paul Pierce's offensive foul on Ron Artest with :27 seconds left and the Celtics up 89-88. It was a good call, Pierce clearly pushed off. Pierce drained some big threes in this game, but he struggled going head-to-head with Artest.
It should be noted that Ray Allen's defense on Kobe's last shot was near perfect. He muscled Bryant and stayed right in his face.