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Lakers come up with all the surprises

The Celtics stink, as predicted, but Phil Jackson calls an early timeout and puts Luke Walton in in the first quarter to shake things up.

June 09, 2010|T.J. Simers

The Celtics stink, all right, and are so bad even Paul Pierce, one of their very own players, obviously saw it coming when he said the other day, "We ain't coming back to L.A."

It's the only time all series Pierce has been on target.

The Lakers have the best team, as they have had since the opening day of the season, but the Celtics had their chance to at least make the Finals interesting.

They were home, they were on an early run with their delusional fans believing this was going to be the Celtics' night, and then Phil Jackson shocked the world.

He called a timeout.

As everyone in Los Angeles knows, John Wooden, the greatest college basketball coach of all time, almost never did that, and the same can be said of Jackson, although for different reasons.

Wooden maintained that his players knew what they were doing and there was no reason much of the time to call a timeout. It was a sign of weakness, he would say.

"I don't like calling them early," Jackson said before allowing himself to chuckle. "I'm just getting comfortable on the bench and then I have to stand up."

The Celtics were probably prepared for just about anything Tuesday night but were clearly unnerved when "Chief Sitting Bull," as Jackson used to be called in Chicago, actually stood up.

Following the timeout, the Lakers went on to outscore the Celtics, 32-8, into the second quarter, anything to make sure they didn't have to force Jackson to stand again -- Jackson, though, pulling another surprise on everyone by going to Luke Walton early.

How about that, said Jackson, and while it's not an exact quote, he said something like that as he walked to the locker room after his postgame news conference, as the Lakers went unconventional in beating the Celtics, Jackson doing some coaching.

Ron Artest picked up two early fouls, which was really great news for the Lakers, none of his teammates having to worry anymore when he went to the bench what he might attempt next on offense.

Walton came in -- 2:15 into the game, and smart enough to play within his own limited abilities, he contributed 10 minutes and 42 seconds of solid basketball in the first half, which seemed to settle the Lakers.

The Lakers would pull ahead by as many as 17, then toy with their opponent as they do so often, the only weakness the Celtics seemingly have any chance to exploit.

But all together now, the Celtics stink.

This thing could have been over Thursday, the parade back home Sunday or Monday, the Lakers sometimes forgetting to apply themselves for a whole game, as so many Lakers' fans know from watching the regular season.

The Celtics really have very little say in any of this, all the hype going to Rajon Rondo, who appears to be no threat from three-point territory and who is now four for 13 from the free-throw line in the playoffs.

And all that stuff about Ray Allen shooting a million shots and getting to the arena three hours before the game, no one mentioned how many of those million practice shots he usually misses.

Allen played more than 42 minutes and went 0 for 13, the chowdahead, as no doubt some Celtics' fans were yelling as he kept throwing it up, going 0 for 8 from three-point land.

Thanks for the memories.

Pierce, a bigger disappointment in the Finals than any of his teammates now that Kevin Garnett has had a good game, was so bad he couldn't get free after Walton replaced Artest.

How would you like that on your NBA Finals' resume -- shut down by Luke Walton?

Pierce finished five of 12, forced to the bench at a time when his team needed him -- with five fouls. How do you get five fouls when you're covering offensive liabilities such as Artest and Walton, a combined two for five?

Just another reason why the Celtics do not have what it takes to beat the Lakers, Kobe Bryant -- the closer, going one for six in the fourth quarter and the Lakers still managing somehow to pull away.

All in all, as Jackson said, "very gratifying."

But no surprise here.

WHAT A stupid, over-the-top, ridiculous comment by Garnett coming out of a commercial on ABC while embracing the NBA championship trophy: "Holding that trophy for the first time was like holding my kids for the first time."

That's keeping sports in perspective.

HOW BORING is Boston? Their idea here of celebrities is a bunch of old basketball players in the crowd.

HOW GOOD would David Geffen be as a NBA owner? Donald Sterling has owned the team for 29 years, but until Geffen came along, the Clippers had never been mentioned during the NBA finals.

THREE TIMES in the final two minutes they went to replays to determine whether the officials had made the right calls. In each instance, they had not. They sure are making it tough on the officials to determine who they want to win.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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