June 17: Celtics 131, Lakers 92

The AP reports: With Russell and Havlicek sitting courtside, and Red surely lighting up a victory cigar somewhere, these Boston Celtics returned to glory like the great teams before them. Dominant in every way. On a new parquet floor below aging championship banners hung in the rafters two decades back, the Celtics won their 17th NBA title and a first one—at last — for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen—their Big Three for a new generation. After 22 long years, the NBA has gone green. Lifted by ear-splitting chants of “Beat L.A.” early and cries of “Seven-teen” in the closing seconds by their adoring crowd, the Celtics concluded a shocking rebound of a season with a stunning 131-92 blowout over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 on Tuesday night… Garnett scored 26 points with 14 rebounds, Allen scored 26 and Pierce, the finals MVP who shook off a sprained right knee sustained in Game 1, added 17 as the Celtics, a 24-win team a year ago, wrapped up their first title since 1986. Rajon Rondo had 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals as the Celtics, who built a 23-point halftime lead and obliterated the Lakers, who were trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals… Bryant, the regular season MVP, finished with 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting… With Garnett scoring 17 points and Pierce adding 10, Boston built a 58-35 halftime lead, and unlike Game 2 when they let the Lakers trim a 24-point lead to two in the fourth quarter before recovering, the Celtics never stopped.

Ticker reports: Holding a four-point lead after the first quarter, the Celtics embarrassed the Lakers, outscoring their archrivals, 34-15, in the second period en route to a 58-35 lead at halftime. The half ended with a bang thanks to Garnett, who completed a three-point play by banking in a circus shot while parallel to the floor – practically on his back – to highlight a 26-6 run to close the opening half. And that’s where Los Angeles spent most of the night – belly up. The Lakers shot just 27 percent in the first half and failed to grab a single offensive rebound during that span. Not only did they fail to execute, but their spirit seemed irrevocably broken. “The last two minutes of the second period buried the team emotionally, and we went into the locker room at halftime and tried to get our guys back on bearing and really couldn’t turn the momentum around,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. League MVP Kobe Bryant, who completed a lackluster series, scored just 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting for Los Angeles, which was outscored, 73-57, in the second half with the game already decided.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 49.4%, the Lakers 42.2%. But the Celtics took 87 shots, the Lakers just 64. Boston hit an awesome 13-of-26 threes, Los Angeles a good 10-of-27. Both teams shot almost the same free throw attempts but Boston hit a few more. The Celtics dominated rebounds, 48-29, and dominated assists, 33-16. And the Lakers had 19 turnovers, the Celtics just 7.

For the Celtics: Kevin Garnett (10-of-18) had 26 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Ray Allen (8-of-12, 7-of-9 threes) had 26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Rajon Rondo (8-of-20) had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals. Paul Pierce (just 4-of-13) had 17 points, 10 assists and 2 steals. The Celtics bench was incredible, scoring 39.

For the Lakers: Kobe Bryant (awful 7-of-22) had 22 points and more turnovers than anything else. Lamar Odom (awful 2-of-8, 10-of-14 free throws) had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Jordan Farmar (3-of-5, 3-of-4 threes) had 12 points but 4 turnovers off the bench. Pau Gasol (4-of-7) had 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 turnovers. No other Lakers did much of anything.

Live Game Notes: See raw, totally unedited game notes taken live as the action happened.

Author: Inside Hoops

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