The Los Angeles Lakers showed up tonight.
Well, the real Los Angeles Lakers showed up and put a hurtin’ on the Boston Celtics, 89-67, in Tuesday’s Game 6 to force and seventh and deciding game Thursday in Los Angeles.
They clamped down defensively, Ron Artest showed up and Kobe Bryant set the tone. Couple that with Boston center Kendrick Perkins going down with a knee injury in the first quarter and that was the beginning of the end for the Celtics tonight.
Now Perkins did walk out the arena on his own, but if he can’t go for Game 7, Boston is done.
Coming into the game with a 3-2 lead, the Celtics had a chance to close out the series, but also realized they had a game to play with. So you didn’t see them come out with the emotion needed to win on the road.
No need to talk too much about this because there isn’t much to discuss.
The Celtics played poorly (shot 33 percent for the game), the Lakers played better and Bryant was the best player on the floor (26 points, 11 rebounds).
So what are keys for Game 7?
1. Which Ron Artest will show up? The one that played well in Game 6 did more than take 3s. He drove to the basket, played better defense and showed more of a complete game. He has to play that way in Game 7.
2. Rondo must set the pace? The Celtics have the advantage when they push the ball with Rondo leading the break. That gets him in a rhythm. Once he starts creating, the Lakers react and that opens it up for everyone else. If Paul Pierce starts slow Thursday, Boston will need Rondo to set the table.
3. The benches. If Kendrick Perkins can’t go and Andrew Bynum is limited for the Lakers with the bad knee, both teams will have to go deeper in their benches. The Lakers would seem to have the edge since reserves typically play better at home. However, a guy like Nate Robinson for Boston, to me, is the one guy who has the guts to just come out and be a difference maker.
My pick for Game 7?
Lakers. If Kobe wins this, he’d be another ring away from winning three consecutive titles on two separate occassions. We all know who did that in the 1990s.