Smoggy Series

After the yellow and purple confetti dropped from Staples Center on Tuesday night in game three of the NBA Finals, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers proudly strutted around Santa Monica Boulevard and Sixth Street happy that their club was finally on the board in the championship series.


So what.


Falling into more pitfalls than contestants on “The Bachelorette,” the Lakers put together an interesting gameplan of missing free throws and having role players not live up to expectations. Outside of Kobe Bryant and Sasha Vujacic, the leading scorer for the home team was Pau Gasol with only nine points. Even though L.A. picked up a bevy of trips to the free throw line, no one could hit the shots for Lakers. Entering game three with 20 consecutive made free throws, Bryant missed seven against Boston with his 18 attempts. Power forward flavor of the season Gasol looked worse. The former Memphis Grizzly hit only three out of eight free throws.


And this team won the game!


Boston never looked comfortable in a city that thrives on staying cool. Shooting a better percentage from 3-point range, the Celtics looked abysmal from inside the paint. Ray Allen provided the only big performance from Boston’s “Big Three,” scoring 25 points and knocking down five 3-pointers. Paul Pierce, a hero in the first two games of the series, couldn’t find his shot in the L.A. smog. Throwing up a 2-for-14 shooting effort against one of the worst defensive teams in the game, Pierce might need another injury to reprise his epic game one performance.


The great hockey announcer Mike Emrick has a wonderful saying about postseason scoreboards: “They don’t ask how, they ask how many.” Even with an abundance of help from the officials, a lively (for Los Angeles) crowd and Kobe Bryant finding his shot late in the game, the Lakers only won the game by six points.


Looking at the big picture, or in this case the plasma scoreboard to indicate how many wins the team has in a best of seven series, the Lakers have one. Every game for the rest of the playoffs acts as a must win game for the team that gets to play at home over the next few days.


When does Jack Nicholson start to sweat?


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