When will the Lakers’ “new” season start exactly? And did Boston’s begin once Rajon Rondo was lost for the year? These are things we think about after Thursday’s second-half power surge by Boston shut off the lights on the Lakers, 116-95, now four games under .500. We won’t say these are two teams going in opposite directions because as much as L.A. is floundering, Boston is still living on borrowed time without Rondo and Jared Sullinger. Still, with Pau Gasol now out apparently 6-to-8 weeks and Dwight Howard (nine points, nine points before fouling out) playing at about half his capacity, the ship is definitely sinking. After Kobe Bryant (27 points, seven boards) browbeat Howard through the media about the severity of his labrum’s pain, the latter turned in a half-baked performance. He loafed back, didn’t put a body on Kevin Garnett, and KG (15 points) got a board and bucket with three Lakers around him in the first half. Another time he set the pick for Steve Blake to use at the elbow but didn’t actually engage the defender and then just, uh, stood there blocking the set’s movement. Maybe that allowed the Celtics to get nearly their per-game average of offensive boards in the first 15 minutes? Just saying. … What was odd was how the offense ran through him and he got four field goal attempts in about the first four minutes, but then the effort dropped or the pain increased. In the fourth when the game was out of reach, he couldn’t even keep track of Chris Wilcox but did show his left shoulder is fine by putting Jeff Green on his ass on a poster dunk attempt. Which leads us to ask, why was he playing that whole quarter anyway? … What do you take away if you’re L.A.? Maybe that Jodie Meeks (13 points) was active offensively? … Paul Pierce (24 points) was throwing daggers in the third quarter. He had buckets on three straight possessions to give Boston a 15-point lead. It escalated quickly from there when Avery Bradley got a bucket off a dumb Bryant pass for a layup. TD Bank Garden smelled blood in the water. Then, all hell broke loose. Boston’s Green smacked a L.A. shot off the backboard and hit Pierce on the outlet pass, who calmly drained a 26-footer on Antawn Jamison to lead by 26 — in the third quarter. Pierce’s “Not in here!” yells after that triple made sure you knew this rivalry was still on, in case you thought the scoreboard only indicated such things. Pretty shocking how in-sync this team looks without Rondo, though making 13-of-14 in one stretch is a nice smokescreen for their defensive problems against *good* teams. Are they better sans Rondo? It’s an insulting question. But, they have been on this short-term run … We’re always on milestone watch yet this caught us by surprise: Garnett became the 16th player to reach 25,000 points Thursday but more importantly the first and only with 25K points, 10,000 boards, 5,000 assists and 1,500 blocks and steals. And some of the most diabolical trash talk. … Hit the jump to hear about a crazy finish in college…
Smack / Feb 8, 2013 / 1:53 am
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