Los Angeles Lakers (57-25 SU, 34-46-2 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, June 10, 2010, TD Garden, Boston, Mass. TV: ABC
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers +3.5/Celtics -3.5
After splitting the two games in Los Angeles, the Lakers regained control of the series with a road win in Boston in Game 3. With the Celtics now down 2-1 in the series, they have a virtually must-win situation in Game 4 to avoid going down 3-1 and having to win three games in a row, the last two of which will be in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Lakers can really gain a stranglehold on the series if they can win Game 4.
The Lakers won Game 1, 102-89. The Lakers controlled the entire game, leading by 20 after the third quarter. Kobe Bryant had a terrific game with 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Pau Gasol dominated down low with 23 points and 14 rebounds. The Celtics just never really had a shot to win the game.
But in Game 2, the Celtics turned it around and won the game, 103-94. Ray Allen had a historic night with 32 points on 8-of-11 shooting from 3-point range. That set an all-time NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a game. Rajon Rondo made his own history by notching a triple-double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
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The Lakers won Game 3, 91-84. The Lakers held a nine-point lead after the first quarter and a 12-point lead at the half before the Celtics made a nice comeback and cut the lead to six after the third quarter. The Celtics had many chances in the fourth quarter but the Lakers held on for the victory.
Kobe only shot 10-of-29 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range, but he scored 29 points. Pau Gasol had a solid effort with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Lamar Odom scored 12 points off the bench, the most he has scored in a game this series. But it was Derek Fisher who made the big shots down the stretch and propelled the Lakers to victory. The veteran point guard scored 16 points in the win.
Kevin Garnett had one of his best offensive games of the playoffs, scoring 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field to lead the Celtics. Paul Pierce chipped in with 15 points and Rajon Rondo had 11 points and eight assists. Kendrick Perkins only scored five points but he grabbed 11 rebounds. After his sensational performance in Game 2, Ray Allen had an awful performance in Game 3 with two points on 0-for-13 shooting from the field and 0-for-8 on 3-pointers. They were perhaps the two most polar opposite back-to-back games in NBA Finals history.
The Lakers shot 45 percent from the field and 2-for-15 on 3-pointers, while the Celtics shot 44 percent from the field and 4-for-18 on 3-pointers. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics by eight and committed two fewer turnovers than them.
This has turned into a defensive battle. Both teams are playing hard on the defensive end, making it tough to get easy looks at the basket. Pierce is getting shut down by Ron Artest. Allen is getting shut down by Fisher. Garnett and Gasol are battling against each other. Kobe is still getting his points but he has to take a lot of shots to do so. Guys like Rondo and Fisher and Artest are the players who are going to make the difference in these games. When one of those x-factors has a big game, that team will win.
The Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win. The Celtics are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games. The under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings between these teams. The underdog and the road team are both 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these teams. The Lakers are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games against the Celtics. The last 10 teams to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals have won the last 10 NBA Championships. Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher all have never lost a playoff series after winning Game 1.
Ryno’s Pick: I expect a close game tonight. Boston may very well win, but I like LA to keep it REAL close. Take the Lakers to cover the spread.