Kobe drops 30, Gasol dominates, Lakers draw first blood

By: 06.04.10  •  73 Comments

Kobe Bryant (photo. Mannion)

If you can’t teach height, then you can’t coach height, and so in that case you can see why the Celtics are in trouble. Remember how every Lakers fan claimed the ’08 Finals would have gone their way had Andrew Bynum been healthy, and every Boston fan responded by asking how their ass tastes? Last night we all saw what happens when L.A.’s big men are healthy and playing like they have some hair on their chests, before Kobe came in and delivered the fatal shots … Right off the bat L.A. looked to go inside, while Kobe looked to drive and put pressure on Boston’s defense. In control the entire time, the Lakers took a nine-point lead into halftime, then Kobe dropped 14 of his 30 points (10-22 FG) in the third quarter as they stretched the lead to 20 going into the fourth … Kobe had it going with the fadeaways, floaters and finger rolls — plus a couple of transition dunks in the second half that broke Boston’s will — but he also got some help from the refs. Any time Ray Allen touched Kobe he heard a whistle, so he spent long stretches on the bench while Kobe took advantage of favorable matchups … But the real MVP was Pau Gasol. You could tell from the look on his face during the player intros that he’d talked himself into playing Mr. Badass this series (a badass who isn’t above flopping, but anyway). Gasol was a beast, putting up 23 points, 14 boards (eight offensive) and 3 blocks and keeping Kevin Garnett in check. You’re never gonna openly intimidate KG, but it looks like the tables have turned as far as who is in who’s head. KG (16 pts, 4 rebs) was settling for jumpers and missing the layups he did get … Kobe was locked in, wasn’t he? He came out of the locker room with that look on his face guys have when they’re one “your mom” joke away from knocking out somebody’s teeth, and he didn’t smile all night. There was a great camera shot of Chris Rock trying to joke with Kobe from his courtside seats, and Kobe giving him the iceberg shoulder … Rock was sitting with Adam Sandler, David Spade and Kevin James, his co-stars in the movie Grown Ups, a.k.a. Four Funny Guys and Rob Schneider. Celebs Will Ferrell, Jack (apparently he doesn’t need a last name anymore) and Austin Rivers were also in the building. OK, Doc Rivers‘ kid isn’t a celebrity right now, but give it two or three years and he’ll be a household name … Two possessions into the game, Ron Artest was on the verge of brawling with Paul Pierce and KG. After that calmed down, Ron-Ron quietly kept Pierce on lock. He wasn’t going for the pump-fakes and had just as much muscle to combat Pierce’s strength. And with Ray unable to really help, Pierce needed a big scoring game. He finished with 24 points, but a lot of it came after the game was basically decided … Did you see Brian Scalabrine on the court stretching during a timeout like he was about to get in? Or maybe his butt was just sore … For a minute it looked like Rasheed Wallace was going to have a big game. He snuffed out Gasol’s attempt at a Dream Shake, hit a Duncan banker and a triple, and one time ‘Sheed even jumper over the front row of seats going after a loose ball. We weren’t sure ‘Sheed could jump over a Sunday paper at this point … Dumbest argument of the game: Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson debating whether Derek Fisher‘s number should be retired by the Lakers. Just like any good club in L.A., the rafters at Staples Center are exclusive: Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Wilt, Goodrich, West, Baylor. That’s it. (Kobe and Shaq will be up there eventually.) If you put D-Fish up there, you’ve got to throw Michael Cooper, A.C. Green, Byron Scott, Robert Horry, Rick Fox — basically anybody who was a key role player on multiple championship squads. And the day Rick Fox’s jersey is hanging from the rafters of an NBA arena, well, there’s actually a passage about that in the Book of Revelation … We’re out like Rob Schneider …

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