Ah, playoff basketball at it's finest. The Lakers drew first blood getting out to the early lead, before the Celtics stormed back in the 3rd quarter to take the lead. The Lakers displayed great resiliency to stay in the game and regain the lead in the 4th quarter before those fantastic final 2 minutes.

It was like a coaches dream to watch these 2 great teams, going down to the wire, with both head coaches strategizing like a great game of chess. The ultimate question for this game came down to: Do we double-team Kobe and make the other players make shots? Or do we play Kobe 1v1 on the perimeter and rely on help defense in the paint? The Celtics tried both, and Kobe made the right play each time, take a look,

I agree with both Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy on the ABC broadcast in that the Celtics made all the right defensive decisions, it was simply good offense by the Lakers that beat them.

Top of the Key Double-team:

One thing that I probably would've done, was to force Kobe to a wing, then double him there. But otherwise, I agree with taking the ball out of his hands. The Lakers do a great job of spacing the floor and putting Vujacic in the corner, the farthest part of the court making it extremely difficult for the Celtics to close out on,

Kobe 1v1 against Ray Allen:

I also agree here that Ray Allen did as good a job as he could've possibly done to defend Kobe. I don't agree with Mark Jackson though, that the Celtics made the mistake to not double-team. Vujacic was on fire hitting those 3-pointers all night. I think Ray's 1v1 defense was the right defensive play, Kobe was just better,


I don't think anyone believed that the Lakers would get down 0-3 in the series so in a sense, their win tonight was somewhat anti-climactic. But still, it was a really hard fought win, they really had to make plays and put the Celtics away. Game 4 is always such a huge game when the series is 2-1, because 3-1 and the Celtics are basically the champs, 2-2 and the series is anyone's game. The start of Game 4 is going to be crucial, if the Celtics can get out in front and play with a lead, they have shown the ability to lockdown on defense. While the Lakers can harness the energy of Staples if they jump out early and make the Celtics think that they can't win there. Like I said, huge game on Thursday.

For some off-season tips on basketball related conditioning, take a look at Robert Taylor's DVD on Balanced Conditioning. Coach Taylor is the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Loyola College in Maryland. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.