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GAME 3: LAKERS 87, CELTICS 81 : CELTICS FYI

Pierce, Garnett have off nights

June 11, 2008|Jonathan Abrams | Times Staff Writer

The Boston Celtics' momentum didn't make it across 2,600 miles.

And maybe the shooting touch of two of the Big Three was dumped somewhere en route.

To the chagrin of New England, the Celtics had more like the Lone Ranger in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, with Ray Allen burying three-pointer after three-pointer for the Celtics.

His partners, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, struggled -- to put it mildly -- with their shooting.

They are veterans. They are All-Stars. On Tuesday, they were almost nonexistent at the offensive end.

The finished a combined eight for 35 from the field and for Pierce, an Inglewood native, this was not a happy homecoming.

With family and friends in the stands and watching at home, shot after shot rimmed out for him. Foul after foul was called against him.

Plagued with foul trouble throughout, Pierce played just under 32 minutes and missed 12 of his 14 shots.

When all was said and done, the confetti sprinkling purple and gold onto the Staples Center floor, Pierce totaled six points, a career playoff low.

And Garnett did not fare much better.

In his first road Finals game, he misfired on 15 of his 21 shots and besides scoring nine points in the third quarter, had little impact offensively.

"You know, I think for the most part, shooting-wise, I had a pretty awful game," he said. "But as far as energy and grabbing rebounds and trying to block some shots, I thought I was active at times. But for the most part, hey, it's not a perfect game."

Allen, the only Celtics starter who packed his touch in Game 3, ended with 25 points, later saying his team settled for too many jump shots.

Surprisingly, though, Boston is only 1-4 in these playoffs when Allen scores 20 or more.

"There were a lot of opportunities for us to just attack them, be a little more aggressive and we [settled]," he said.

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers prescribed rest for his players and commended the Lakers' defense for taking Pierce and Garnett out of their games.

"I thought Paul and Kevin, for the most part, had decent shots, but give them credit," he said.

"I thought they were the more aggressive team all night for the most part."

Point guard woes

He had finally dusted off the questions of the young point guard among the team of stars and veterans with 16 assists in Game 2.

Then, Boston point guard Rajon Rondo went down 44 seconds into the third quarter with a mid-ankle sprain in his left leg.

Rondo sat out the rest of that quarter and didn't return until midway through the fourth quarter.

Before the injury, Rondo had six points and four assists. After the injury, he still had both of those numbers without tacking anything onto them.

Meanwhile, Boston veteran point guard Sam Cassell returned after spraining his right wrist in Game 2. He played nearly seven minutes in the first half, scoring two points.

As the game wore on and Rondo suffered his injury, Rivers opted to play guard Eddie House for the first time in the series instead of Cassell. House had six points on two-for-eight shooting.

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com

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