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The Los Angeles Lakers Out Vet the Boston Celtics 91-84 in NBA Finals

Michael Tillery | 6/9/2010, 1:12 p.m.

Game 3: Derek Fisher Stars As Mr. Clutch!

Just when the Celtics were playing as if a furious comeback would be complete, Derek Fisher stepped up, put the franchise he loves so much and represents so well on his back and willed the Los Angeles Lakers to a critical 91-84 Game 3 win. The Lakers lead the best of 7 NBA Finals series 2-1 with Game 4 Thursday in Boston at 9 pm EST on ABC.

Fisher's most poignant words in the presser were "It's like being a kid...man you never get tired of that candy."

His full court drive...the bucket plus the bump and subsequent three point play with three Lakers defending and Los Angeles clinging to a 4 point lead with a little less than a minute remaining was the dagger.

Fisher hasn't been getting a lot of respect from anyone but tried and true Lakers fans in part because he's matched up with a walking Oscar in Rajon Rondo. Tonight he was the baller. He made the critical shots and his will won the game. Derek Fisher was most definitely the difference. If the Lakers win the series, it's going to be difficult for the organization to not strongly consider Fisher's jersey raised to the rafters after he eventually hangs them up. His 32 playoff wins are tied with Shaquille O'Neal for first all time.

In a contest that was ugly and resembled the Eastern Conference Knicks/Heat/Bulls/Pistons of the '90's, Fisher's 16 points (10 in the 4th) stood out. He was quite emotional after the game and no one on the floor deserved a win more.

Fisher's high game during the regular season was 15 points. He scored 5 of his 6 field goals in the 4th. Fisher averages 13.6 points on road and 8 points at home these playoffs. He's also shooting 51% away from Staples.

Kobe Bryant made some tough clutch shots and had some big defensive plays as well and finished with 29 points and 7 boards on 10-29 shooting. When the Lakers doubled Bryant, Fisher took advantage.

Pau Gasol had 13 and 10. Lamar Odom with 12 (perfect from the field 5-5 and converted his only free throw) had more points in Game 3 than he did in both Games 1 and 2 combined. Andrew Bynum had 9 points and 10 boards.

After the Celtics led by 7 points in the first quarter, the Lakers closed the quarter 21-5 and then opened the second with a 11-3 run to basically take command of the game.

The Celtics never led in the second half.

Ray Allen scored just 2 points. He was 0-13 from the field and 0-8 from the arc after setting a NBA record with 8 threes in Game 2. Only Dennis Johnson in 1978 and Chick Reiser in 1948 had worse shooting games (0-14) in Finals history. He was wide open in Game 2 but not so much in Game 3. He had the worse game statistically of his career in terms of misses. In 1,119 games he has been held scoreless from the field just 8 times. He should rebound for Game 4.

Paul Pierce was 5-12 for 15 points in 33 minutes. He's 7-23 the last two games.

Kevin Garnett had a nice bounce back performance He scored early (was 5-5 at one point) and finished with 25 and 6 rips.

He and Pierce both had 5 fouls and that Pierce was saddled with fouls essentially took him out of his rhythm in a game the Celtics needed to win and totally swing momentum in their favor.

Rondo had 11 and 8 assists but shot a mere 1-4. Glen Davis gave up his body against a taller more athletic Lakers front line and did what he could in scoring 12.

Ron Artest scored only 2 points, but his big boy defense on Pierce seems to be huge in this series.

Artest came up with a big turnover of Glen "Big Baby" Davis late after missing a bad three on the offensive end. He commented: "I just stayed in the game defensively and stayed Ron Artest and then had a Ron Artest play at the end."

Classic Artest. He Keeps it 100%

Boston cannot win this series if the Big Three do not all find it. Rajon Rondo needs to have a bigger impact as well. 1-4 is not gonna get it from the second best player in these playoffs.

The Celtics were out rebounded 40-35 but outscored the Lakers 50-38 in the paint.

Boston led the Los Angeles 12-8 in fast break points. It seems if the Celtics are able to get out in transition, they are able to counter the Lakers size advantage. The Lakers had 7 blocks to the Celtics 2 after setting a Finals record 14 in Game 2.

There were two critical calls overturned by replays. On the second, the ball appeared to go off Lamar Odom but only because he was fouled. The NBA has to tinker with its replay system to more scrutinize those types of plays and also be more in tune with game flow.

The refs haven't had a good series, but there really should be no excuses tonight. The Lakers took this from the Celtics.

The teams combined for 6-33 from behind the arc (Boston 4-18, L.A. 2-15).

The Lakers are 5-4 on the road these playoffs including closeouts in OKC and Phoenix. After neglecting to win in Boston in the 2008 Finals, the Lakers finally break through and win in TD Bank North.

Since the NBA Finals shifted to a 2-3-2 format in 1985 (Lakers/Celtics), the winner of Game 3 after a 1-1 tie is 10-0 in the series. In all formats the Game 3 winner has won 28-32 series.

Michael Tillery writes for thestartingfive.net.