Kobe Bryant, Lakers Earn Hard Fought Victory in Game Three

Micah SecorCorrespondent IJune 11, 2008

The Lakers refuse to die.

Game Two saw the Lakers down by 24 points only for them to lead a roaring comeback in which they scored 41 points in the fourth quarter. But alas, the comeback fell short in the final seconds, giving the Celtics a commanding 2-0 lead.

The game was marred by poor reffing and a free throw disparity with the Celtics shooting 38 free throws to the Lakers 10.

For the Celtics, in their history, when they are up 2-0 in a playoff series they are 30-0. The Lakers faced a vaunting task of shutting down the Big Three as the series shifted to LA.

It was a seesaw battle through the third quarter as the Lakers shifted into desperation mode. Trailing 68-66 with eight minutes left in Game Three, MVP Kobe Bryant took the game into his own hands scoring 36 points.

Sasha Vujacic crushed the Celtics last run with a three pointer to give the Lakers a five point lead and an 87-81 victory. Vujacic tallied 20 points on 7-10 shooting while Odom and Gasol combined for a paltry 13 points on 5-18 shooting.

The Lakers dodged a bullet as the Celtics' Big Three had an off night of their own, minus Ray Allen who registered 25 points with five three pointers. Paul Pierce had a lousy shooting night and it took Kevin Garnett 21 shots to net thirteen points.

Phil Jackson commented, "It was not a beautiful game."

Either way, ugly or pretty, the Lakers will take it.

Granted, the Lakers could have squandered their lead and suffered a back breaking loss, but Bryant refused to give in, willing his teammates to victory.

Championship teams can still find a way to win, even when their offensive firepower is lacking.

On Thursday night, the Lakers can tie the series at two and swing the momentum back in their favor. For Lakers and Celtics fans abroad, the historic rivalry has been renewed, and has entered a new chapter in Lakers-Celtics folklore.