TUESDAY JUNE 8, 2010 – Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics
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Team records: (including playoffs)
L.A. Lakers: 70-30 SU, 43-54-3 ATS
Celtics: 63-38 SU, 46-53-2 ATS
Hey Gang, I’m filling in for Lawrence today who is down for the count with a severe migrain. (Hope this pick works for you!)
After the Lakers looked very comfortable winning Game 1 of the NBA Finals, everything unravelled at Staples Center in Game 2, as the Celtics evened up the series with a 103-94 victory.
Matchup: LAKERS vs CELTICS
Time: Tonight, 8:05 p.m. ET
Venue: TD Garden, Boston
Spread: Celtics -2 ½
Over/Under: 192 ½
Suddenly, it’s the Lakers, not the Celtics, who enter Game 3 with lots of questions to answer.
Are the Lakers a bad defensive club? Not by any means. Kobe Bryant has matured into a do-it-all player the same way Michael Jordan did and Ron Artest, for all the baggage he brings with him, still makes the team better defensively.
But the Celtics still managed to make Los Angeles look bad in Game 2. Ray Allen, whether he had an open look or not, couldn’t miss. He set an NBA Finals record with eight three-pointers and scored 27 of his game-high 32 points in the first half.
After the game, Kobe lamented the Lakers’ blown defensive assignments – and that was as much a reference to Rajon Rondo as it was to Allen.
Rondo was a force, tallying 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his fifth career triple double. When the Lakers zigged, he zagged; they couldn’t handle his quickness and he pounced on the rebound every time they missed an outside shot.
Lost in L.A.’s defeat were strong efforts from Pau Gasol (25 points, eight rebounds, six blocks) and Andrew Bynum (21 points, six rebounds, seven blocks.
If Kobe Bryant and especially Ron Artest can bounce back from their lackluster Game 2 efforts, L.A should put up more of a fight in Game 3.
Lakers vs. Celtics Game 3 Free NBA Prediction
With the spread under three points, bettors almost have to approach tonight’s game as a pick ’em. And I’m tempted to lean the Lakers’ way. Even on an off night, their tremendous depth still kept them inside 10 points.
Now, Kobe is due to go off. Lamar Odom isn’t likely to get in the exact same foul trouble for two straight games.
Phil “the Zen Master” Jackson and Kobe himself should get the Lakers motivated to tighten up on defense and play a more disciplined style.
I expect Boston to get caught a little overconfident and relaxed as it heads to the TD Garden for three straight home games. Look for Game 3 to be the stingiest of the series so far – bet the UNDER – and go with the road squad.
Pick: Lakers +2.5
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