Los Angeles Lakers 87
- As the NBA Finals shift across country to Los Angeles, the biggest news to come out of Game 3 had nothing to do with the game itself, but rather the fact that Tim Donaghy called out the NBA officials on fixing playoff games.
- Whether or not this is true is up for debate. Obviously Donaghy is desperate to cut his eventual jail time, but none of these allegations are really all that extreme. In fact, they are so likely that no one should be surprised that the NBA influenced its own games for some extra profit.
- The 2002 Western Conference Finals were supposedly affected, which brings into question the validity of the Lakers championship. If the Patriots deserve an asterisk next to their championships for blatantly cheating, maybe the Lakers should get one next to theirs as well.
- Then again, those Laker teams were so amazingly dominant that there is no question they were the best, as evidenced by their impressive three peat. I take this story deeper and wonder just how much pull the NBA league office has. Maybe they really did orchestrate the trades to make the Celtics and Lakers relevant again. Or maybe Donaghy is just appealing to the conspiracy theorists looking for evidence. The tough part is we will never know for sure.
- ABC did a great job of addressing the story up front and completely, while getting David Stern and even Jeff Van Gundy to respond.
- Back to basketball. Although Kobe Bryant is finally attacking the basket and scoring at will again, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are still struggling. As good as Kobe is, the Lakers are not going to win this series with Odom and Gasol playing as poorly as they are.
- Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce also struggled, with Ray Allen taking up the offensive load. Interestingly enough, the Celtics are 1-4 during these playoffs when Allen scores 20 or more points. Allen kept the Celtics in the game until late in the fourth quarter, but missed a couple open shots late that were followed by clutch Sasha Vujacic points. In other words, the Celtics are only going as far as Pierce takes them, especially because he needs to be the man and take over the end of games a la Kobe Bryant.
- The refereeing favors the home team. Everyone should get used to it already.
- This was a game that the Lakers should have won by a larger margin. Coming off two tough road losses and returning home, many expected the Lakers to come out fired up and blow out the Celtics. It remains to be seen what this means going forward.