The 2008 NBA Championship Series — Celtics and Lakers


By Ron Griffitts

Contributing columnist

In June 2008, the Boston Celtics (66-16) coached by former NBA player Doc Rivers and with executive Danny Ainge who was a former Boston player, met the Los Angeles Lakers (57-25) coached by Phil Jackson and had as an executive former Laker player Mitch Kupchak in a battle between the NBA’s most successful franchises.

The Celtics had dispatched the Atlanta Hawks (4-3), Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3), and the Detroit Pistons (4-2) to get the finals and were led by Ray Allen (17.4 ppg), Paul Pierce ((19.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.5 apg), Kevin Garnett (18.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.4 apg), Rajon Rondo (10.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.1 apg) and Kendrick Perkins (6.1 rpg).

The Lakers got past the Denver Nuggets (4-0), Utah Jazz (4-2), and the San Antonio Spurs (4-1) to get the finals. They were led by Kobe Bryant (28.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg. 5.4 apg), Lamar Odom (14.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.5 apg), Pau Gasol (18.8ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.5 apg), Andrew Bynum (13.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg) and Derek Fisher (11.7 ppg).

Game one took place in T. D. Banknorth Garden in Boston and the Lakers played well early and led 51-46 at halftime but the Celtics put together runs in the third and fourth quarters for a 98-88 win to take a 1-0 series lead.

Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles with 24 points while Kevin Garnett had 24 for Boston and Paul Pierce contributed 22 points for the Celtics.

Game two, still in Boston, was similar to game one in that the Lakers led after the first quarter but Boston put together runs of 34-20 and 29-19 in the second and third quarters to withstand a 41-26 fourth quarter Laker run and win 108-102 to go up 2-0 in the series.

Boston was led by Paul Pierce who had 28 points and Kevin Garnett who had 17 points and 14 rebounds while Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points.

For game three, the teams switched to the Staples center in Los Angeles and the Lakers took an early lead which they maintained throughout the game and got their first win of the series to pull to within one game of the Celtics with an 87-81 win.

Kobe Bryant had 36 points and Pau Gasol had 12 rebounds while Ray Allen with 25 points led the Celtics.

In game four, it appeared the Lakers were on their way to another win with a 35-14 advantage in the first quarter but the Celtics surged back with strong third and fourth quarters and pulled out a 97-91 victory.

Paul Pierce had 20 points and Ray Allen 19 for Boston. However, Kobe Bryant was only 6 of 19 from the field for 17 points for Los Angeles.

Still in LA, the Lakers again had a strong first quarter but this time didn’t let their lead evaporate and won 103-98 to bring the series to 3-2 in favor of the Celtics.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 25 points and Lamar Odom added 20 while Paul Pierce had 38 points for Boston as the series goes back to Boston for game six.

On their home floor in front of their fans, the Celtics took an early lead and kept the pressure on for a convincing 131-92 win in the game and the series with the Celtics being led by Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett each with 26 points, and Rajon Rondo with 21. Kobe Bryant had 22 to pace the Lakers.

Paul Pierce got the series MVP award and the Celtics were back in the finals in 2010 and the Lakers in 2009.

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