With 50 seconds left in Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals Derek Fisher saw a direct path to the basket and took it. Fisher made it to the basket, made the layup, got fouled, and made the free throw to cap off the three-point play. That play gave the Lakers an 87-80 lead and helped secure a 2-1 series advantage over the Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals. Fisher had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 16 points, three rebounds, and one assist. Fisher’s backcourt mate Kobe Bryant struggled to find a shooting rhythm but still led all scorers with 29 points. Bryant also chipped in seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and three blocks.
Just two nights after he set an NBA Finals record with eight three-pointers, Derek Fisher and the Lakers held Boston’s Ray Allen to a paltry 2 points in Game 3. Allen shot a woeful 0-13 from the field and missed all eight of his three-point attempts.
Ron Artest limited Paul Pierce’s effectiveness once again. Pierce scored 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting and was only able to manage 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 34 minutes of play.
If Boston hopes to win one of their next two home games and send the 2010 NBA Finals back to Los Angeles Allen and Pierce will have to perform at a much higher level.
2010 NBA Finals Schedule
Game 1: Thursday, June 3, Boston Celtics 89 at Los Angeles Lakers 102, Lakers lead series 1-0
Game 2: Sunday, June 6, Boston Celtics 103 at Los Angeles Lakers 94, Series tied 1-1
Game 3: Tuesday, June 8, Los Angeles Lakers 91 at Boston Celtics 84, Lakers lead series 2-1
Game 4: Thursday, June 10, Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics, 6:00 PM PDT
Game 5: Sunday, June 13, Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics, 5:00 PM PDT
Game 6: Tuesday, June 15, Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers, 6:00 PM PDT (if necessary)
Game 7: Thursday, June 17, Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers, 6:00 PM PDT (if necessary)
The Celtics have to find a way to free up both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in the same game if they want to send this series back to Los Angeles. In Game 4 look for Boston to try to force the Lakers to adjust their defense by running pick-and-roll with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
Doc Rivers will run this two-man game with the hope that the Lakers will switch Derek Fisher onto Paul Pierce. Pierce would have a substantial advantage against Fisher and if the Lakers do in fact switch on this play look for Pierce to be aggressive with the basketball.
Since Fisher would be at a disadvantage trying to guard Pierce do not expect Phil Jackson to take the Celtics’ bait. Look for Artest to stay attached to Pierce while Fisher will do his best to stay with Allen. Allen will use his quick release to get off shots whenever Fisher trails the play. Expect Allen to score between 20 and 30 points in Game 4.
Artest has done a great job of controlling Paul Pierce all series long. Pierce’s only success came in the fourth quarter of Game 1 when he scored 13 meaningless points. Artest will continue to hound Pierce and hold him under 20 points for the third straight game.
The Lakers have held the Celtics under 44% from the field in each of the first three games of the 2010 NBA Finals. Do not expect them to change their defensive matchups in Game 4 just because the Celtics run pick-and-roll with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
Even if Boston consistently scores off of this play the Lakers will not change their defensive strategy unless the Celtics take a double-digit lead. If they are forced to make minor adjustments the first change might be sending a big man at Allen to force him to shoot over some length. They may also decide to occasionally switch on the play and have Fisher body Paul Pierce up and see if he can affect his shot. As a last resort the Lakers may switch Kobe onto Allen thereby allowing Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant to freely switch on the pick-and-roll if need be.
After three physical and bitterly contested contests Game 4 of the 2010 NBA Finals will be a chess match between the two coaches. Time and score will determine what changes each team makes. Look for the Lakers to avoid the mental errors they made at the end of Game 2 and take a 3-1 stranglehold on this series.
Click here for a series preview of the 2010 NBA Finals.
Click here for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Road to the 2010 NBA Finals.
Click here for the Boston Celtics’ Road to the 2010 NBA Finals.
Information from Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics-Play By Play-June 08, 2010, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics-Box Score-June 08, 2010, 2010 NBA Finals Schedule, Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers-Box Score-June 06, 2010, and Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers-Box Score-June 03, 2010 was used for this article.