Free NBA Picks: Lakers at Celtics Game 3 Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/8/2010
Well, if you believe Paul Pierce the NBA Finals won’t be leaving Boston as he told fans at Staples Center that “we ain’t coming back to L.A.” following the Celtics’ Game 2 upset.
The line: Celtics -2.5 (192.5); Kobe Bryant total points + assists (34.5); Andrew Bynum total points (9.5)
How they enter: Boston’s backcourt was totally dominant in Game 2 on Sunday. Ray Allen put on a memorable shooting display, finishing with a Finals record eight three-pointers. He hit seven of them in the first half and had 27 points at intermission (finishing with 32). By comparison, he was 0-for-2 from long range in Game 1 and had only 12 points thanks in large part to foul trouble. Point guard Rajon Rondo took charge in the second half and finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. By comparison, the Laker starting backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher had just 27 total points between them – Kobe was dealing with his own foul trouble in Game 2.
Scouting report: The referees have been the story of the series so far, no question about it. There have been an incredible 134 free throws shot so far in the two games, and foul trouble by Allen and Bryant were the big stories in the first two games. The NBA is very image-conscious so I fully expect the players to be allowed to play more tonight. The Celtics’ front line got into collective foul trouble in Game 2 because they couldn’t handle either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, who wound up combining for 46 points and 14 rebounds. Bynum looked like a different player, equaling his career-playoff high of 21 points in the loss, adding six rebounds and seven blocked shots. If the continues to play like that, the Lakers will win this series because Kevin Garnett is just not the 2008 version any longer. And Kendrick Perkins has no offensive game to speak of. However, be aware that Bynum was able to play Game 2 with two days off between games and there’s only one day off between Game 2 and Game 3 – Lakers coach Phil Jackson thought that extra day off helped Bynum’s injured knee in a big way. L.A. thus might need a much better game from Lamar Odom tonight, as he had one field goal in 15 inconsequential minutes. He's averaging four points and five rebounds in an average of 18 foul-ridden minutes per game. The Lakers are 7-1 in these playoffs when Odom has four offensive rebounds. He has one in this series.
The picks and predictions: The Lakers have won their past two regular-season trips to Boston but dropped all three games there in the 2008 Finals by an average of 18.3 points. Assuming the refs keep their whistles in their pockets, I think the Lakers bounceback big here and win. You know Kobe is going to blow up after being outplayed by both Boston guards. And it’s concerning that Garnett and Pierce both were mostly non-factors in Game 2; Ron Artest is giving Pierce trouble. No way Allen goes crazy like that again from long distance either. Always go with the team that has the capability to dominate down low (like L.A. does) over the one that is more perimeter based. Over time, the perimeter team is going to go cold. So take L.A., Kobe ‘over’ and Bynum ‘over’. Also take the ‘over’ 192.
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