Officials making many more calls in favor of the Lakers? Check.

Kobe Bryant living at the free throw line? Check.

Bryant having a HUGE night? Check.

Lakers taking game three so that there is no possibility of a sweep (and the low ratings and revenues that come with it)? Check.

Despite all of that, the Celtics still could’ve won this one. They had a chance to tie with just over two minutes to go, but Eddie House missed a pull up jumper. On the other end Sasha Vujacic nailed a wide open three to put the Lakers up five, and that was pretty much the ballgame.

Marc J. Spears has the Lakers taking advantage of the poor-shooting Celtics. Mark Murphy has Paul Pierce and most of the Celtics simply unable to find the range last night. Kevin McNamara has the Celtics defense showing too many holes last night. Jeff Howe has the Lakers finally showing an answer to the Celtics defense. Bill Doyle has poor performances by Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and a big performance from Kobe too much for the Celtics to overcome.

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press has the Celtics giving themselves permission to lose last night.

Bob Ryan examines a stinkbomb from the Celtics last night. Bill Burt says that Phil Jackson won this one with his game two whining. Steve Bulpett has Paul Pierce floundering in front of his home town crowd. Bill Reynold says that it is high time that Doc Rivers gets his due for the coaching job he’s done thus far this season.

Jeff Jacobs has the NBA officiating being called into question after another WWE-like scripted performance. Dan Shaughnessy says that the officials were not the deciding factor last night. Tony Massarotti says that no one was surprised that the calls went the Lakers way last night. John Tomase talks to Scott Pollard, who was one of the two Sacramento Kings who fouled out of game six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals – an act that Tim Donaghy alleges was part of a deliberate act by the league to extend the series. Shira Springer has NBA commissioner David Stern denying the allegations of former referee Donaghy that playoff games were fixed in the past. McNamara has Doc Rivers declining to blame the officials for last night’s loss.

Gary Dzen looks at Ray Allen’s big night, as the Celtics guard scored 25 points to lead the time while also playing defense on Kobe. Tomase notes that at least one of the Big Three showed up last night. We know about Pierce’s ties to LA, Howe points out that Allen also has Southern California ties. Steve Buckley checks in with Bill Walton, who has as his “professional” pick the Celtics, but his “personal” pick is the Lakers, because of his son, Luke. Christopher L. Gasper looks at Paul Pierce being unable to get into any sort of rhythm last night.

Getting ahead of himself, Shaughnessy wonders if Boston fans will be ok if the Celtics clinch the championship on the road. Bulpett has former Celtics GM Chris Wallace rooting hard for Boston in this series. Spears’ Courtside chatter has the Celtics looking to land the 2010 All Star Game for the Garden.

Gasper’s notebook has a look at Rajon Rondo’s sprained ankle. Murphy’s notebook has a look at Phil Jackson’s defense of Kobe Bryant. McNamara’s notebook has Lamar Odom continuing to fall short of expectations. Doyle’s notebook has Leon Powe staying humble.

Lakers

Shira Springer has Kobe Bryant putting on the performance that was expected from him last night. Bill Reynolds has the legend of Kobe finally rising to the occasion in this one. Buckley has more on the giant night from Kobe, as he erupted for 36 points. Rob Duca says that we now have a series on our hands.

Steven Herbert has a look at the hot shooting of Sasha Vujacic, who scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting from the field. Frank Dell’Apa takes a look at the history, design and features of the Staples Center. Massarotti looks at the continued good health of Magic Johnson, some 16 years after his HIV diagnosis. Springer’s notebook has Phil Jackson able to make the needed adjustments and fixes for game three.

Red Sox

When both Josh Beckett and the bullpen are shaky, it can mean a tough night for the Red Sox. That was the case last night as the Sox were roughed up by the Orioles, 10-6 at Fenway Park.

Gordon Edes has the Orioles taking advantage of shaky Boston pitching. Paul Jarvey has the Orioles feasting on Red Sox pitching. Rob Bradford has the formula not quite working last night. Joe McDonald says that the Boston relievers were strictly for the birds last night. Jeff Goldberg urges the Red Sox to keep Hideki Okajima away from the Orioles.

Amalie Benjamin has Okajima’s struggles with the Orioles continuing. Alex Speier says that Okajima has been more trick than treat lately. Sean McAdam says that there has been nothing automatic about Okajima this season. Steven Krasner has Josh Beckett turning in an ace-like performance without the ace like numbers. Jarvey has the Red Sox making sure that they have rested arms in the rotation.

Karen Guregian has Eddie Murray talking about his former teammate and student Manny Ramirez, who passed him on the all-time home run list last night. McDonald has Murray honoring Ramirez, who then passed him. Ron Chimelis looks at how far Manny and Murray go back. Bradford reports that the man who caught Manny’s 500th wants the ball back, but for all the right reasons. McDonald has the same fan urging the fan in Florida to return Griffey’s 600th home run.

Edes’ notebook has more from Murray on Manny. Jarvey’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury getting back into the lineup. Bradford’s notebook says that the Red Sox plan of getting rest for their starters is working out perfectly. Goldberg’s notebook also has more on Manny and Murray.

Mike Reiss has Rodney Harrison penning the forward to David Tyree’s book. He also reports on the Patriots interest in free agent offensive tackle Barry Sims. Shalise Manza Young had a piece on Laurence Maroney yesterday.

 

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