Postgame overreaction while spotting Eddie Murphy in the stands and realizing that the last time he was funny, the Celtics and Lakers were in the Finals . . .
2. Kobe was excellent as expected, dropping in an efficient 36 points on 20 field-goal attempts, though had he not been uncharacteristically scattershot from the free-throw line (he missed 7 of 18), the Lakers might have been able to avoid some of that fourth-quarter drama. Bryant was also a demon on the defensive end, seemingly covering Pierce and Rondo at once while apparently intent on showing Jeff Van Gundy that his stellar reputation as a defender is justified. Yes, it was an outstanding all-around performance by the MVP - but hell, that's what he's supposed to do, right? In that regard, the key to the victory wasn't Bryant, but Sasha Vujacic, the floppy-haired pest who proved a capable second option on a night the Lakers were desperate for one, scoring 20 points in 28 minutes, including a back-breaking 3-pointer to give the Lakers an 81-76 lead inside the final two minutes. Vujacic, who is apparently determined to prove that all of the Lakers' Europeans aren't as soft as Bartolo Colon's underbelly, has serious villain potential should the Lakers ultimately make a series of this thing.
3. I've been yelping all postseason for Doc Rivers to give Eddie House more minutes, so it pains me to say he probably played a little too much tonight. House saw 20 minutes of action, just two fewer than Rondo, who missed a significant stretch in the second half because of his ankle injury and Doc's apparent reluctance to put him back in the game. Given his first extended PT since Game 7 of the Cleveland series, House struggled, hitting just 2 of 8 shots, and he sure didn't look like he had his sea legs when he missed an open 13-footer that would have tied the score at 78 with approximately two minutes remaining. Of course, Doc could choose to play House's ubiquitous toddler at the point, and I'd consider it an improvement over the Sam Cassell Chuckin'-'n'-Heavin' Experience.
4. Considering he's one of the top three or four most skilled players on the floor at any given moment, it's amazing, if not entirely surprising, how lost Lamar Odom looks. (Or maybe the better word is "indifferent.") He was atrocious tonight - he hit just 2 of 9 shots for 4 points while committing a game-high 5 turnovers - and he's playing with all the urgency of someone who just stumbled out of Spicoli's van. Phil Jackson has coached his share of space cadets through the years, but even he seems mystified as to how to get Odom righted - cutting his minutes doesn't seem to be having the desired effect - and I'll be surprised if he's a positive factor at all for the remainder of the series.
5. As for today's Completely Random Basketball Card:
Years before he began shoveling his smug Zen Master b.s., Jackson was an affably goofy, ridiculously lanky defensive specialist for those memorable Knicks teams of the early '70s. I'm pretty sure I would have liked him better then.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.