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NBA FINALS

Lakers looking to get the low-down again in Game 3 against Celtics

The Lakers went away from their strength, 7-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, in the fourth quarter of Game 2 loss. They say they intend to go back to trying to exploit their size advantage in the low post Tuesday in Boston.

June 07, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Boston -- The Lakers were dominant down low, the Boston Celtics unable to stop Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, when good fortune smiled on the Celtics as a most unusual event took place, something called the start of the fourth quarter.

Gasol had one shot, Bynum had two over the final 12 minutes and the Celtics evened up the NBA Finals with a 103-94 victory in Game 2 on Sunday.

Gasol had 25 points in the game, only one in the fourth quarter, and Bynum had 21 in the game, four in the fourth quarter, part of the reason the Lakers headed to Boston in a deadlocked series that resumes Tuesday with Game 3 at certain-to-be-raucous TD Garden.

Or as Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said, "I feel good going back to the jungle."

Neither Garnett (six points) nor Paul Pierce (10 points) were problems for the Lakers in Game 2, though Pierce could be heard proclaiming, "Ain't coming back to L.A.," after helping up Kendrick Perkins near the baseline on a play late in the game.

The Lakers' issues, more specifically, were Ray Allen hitting from the outside, which is never a shocker, and Rajon Rondo also shooting well from the perimeter, somewhat surprising for the 24-year-old who drives and rebounds as well as any guard in the league but isn't known for his steady shot.

The Lakers are looking internally, however, at getting more touches for their big men.

Gasol made seven of 10 shots and Bynum made six of 10, but should Ron Artest really have taken 10 shots, especially since he made only one?

"Our big guys played great, Bynum and Pau," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "We didn't get the ball often enough to them."

Both post players took the diplomatic approach, presumably because the series is so young.

"Obviously, we can get more touches," Bynum said. "But that's still not going to help us beat this team because you can't beat them one on one."

Gasol, to his credit, said the work he and Bynum did down low was not wasted.

"I think our effort was a positive thing," Gasol said. "And it's going to have to be even better, greater in Boston, because it's going to be tougher to play there."

The Lakers were also dominant defensively in the paint.

Bynum had seven blocked shots, Gasol had six and the Lakers set a Finals record with 14 as a team. It wasn't enough to continue their 12-game playoff winning streak at Staples Center, three short of the all-time home playoff streak set by Chicago over the 1990 and 1991 seasons.

With Pierce's comment probably near the front of their minds, the Lakers now have to win at least once on the Celtics' home court to bring the series back to Los Angeles.

"We have to win two in Boston at least," Bynum said. "That's our goal going in."

Then he corrected himself.

"That's my goal."

The Lakers have actually won the last two regular-season games in Boston, taking a 90-89 victory in January on Kobe Bryant's go-ahead 16-footer over Allen with 7.3 seconds left, and winning in overtime in February 2009, 110-109, when Gasol had 24 points on pristine 10-for-14 shooting.

Of greater importance, however, the Lakers lost all three games in Boston in the 2008 Finals by an average of 18.3 points, including their 131-92 embarrassment in Game 6 that ended the series.

Etc.

Bryant had 21 points, six assists, five turnovers and five fouls Sunday, his worst performance since a quiet 13-point, seven-assist night in Game 5 of the first round against Oklahoma City. . . . Neither team practiced Monday, a designated travel day. . . . The Celtics' victory Sunday ended a five-year streak in which the home team won the first two games of the Finals. The last team to lose one of the first two at home was the Lakers, who lost in five games to Detroit in 2004.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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