Web Analytics and Web Statistics by NextSTAT The Boston Sports Nut: Injured Celtics surprise Lakers 98-88

Friday, June 6, 2008

Injured Celtics surprise Lakers 98-88

Sprawled near the edge of the famed parquet floor, Paul Pierce grabbed his throbbing right knee and wondered if his first NBA Finals -- the ones he had always dreamed of playing in -- were finished. "A lot was going though my head," Pierce said. "'It can't be over like this

Pierce's comeback drew immediate comparisons to Willis Reed, the former NY Knicks great who once hobbled onto the court of Madison Square Garden before Game 7 of the 1970 finals against the Lakers. Some of the savvy Celtics fans chanted Reed's name in tribute. "I wasn't trying to imitate him," Pierce said. "I'm just glad I was able to get back out there." KG scored 24 points, Pierce finished with 22 -- 11 after going down -- and Ray Allen the third member of Boston's Big Three, added 19 for the Celtics, who are chasing a 17th NBA championship. The trio was making its first finals appearance, and for a short time it appeared only two of them would finish their long-awaited debut.

With 6:49 left in the third quarter, Pierce was deep in the lane when teammate Kendrick Perkins crashed into him from behind, crumpling Boston's No. 34 to the court. The 10-year veteran, who last summer thought his days with Boston might be nearing an end, had to be carried from the court in extreme pain and was taken to Boston's locker room in a wheelchair.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who had front-row seats at both events, wasn't so impressed. "If I'm not mistaken," a cynic and sarcastic Jackson said Friday, "I think Willis Reed missed a whole half and three quarters almost of a game and literally had to have a shot, a horse shot, three or four of them in his thigh to come back out and play. Paul got carried off and was back on his feet in a minute."

Garnet led the way with 24 points and 13 boards. Pierce finished with 22 points. Ray Allen had 19.

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