2010 NBA Finals Game 5: Celtics 92, Lakers 86

After a miserable, entertainment free 50-32 regular season, the Celtics have improbably played their last game at home this year and go to Los Angeles with a chance to win the NBA title.  I am still in disbelief – on the other hand I am scared of how the team has set me up for a crushing heartbreak.  But that is for another time.  So, what do we make of Game 5?

  1. The first time they all clicked: After Game 1 and Game 4 (where frankly nobody went off) and Game 2 (Allen/Rondo only), the Celtics top four guys had each had serious struggles.  But tonight, led by Paul Pierce’s 27 and Kevin Garnett’s 18, the old guys carried the day, even with a more muted bench contribution. (not a bad contribution but more limited in the way one’d expect)
  2. Great defense? Kobe on paper put up a Herculean 38 points on 13-27 shooting, but trust me, THIS was hard.  Ray Allen, Tony Allen whomever did a very good job on making Kobe take tough shots.  Dude is tough, as his dazzling 19 point third quarter showed up.  As Doc Rivers said, they had to play through it, and the Celtics in the third ended up extending their lead during Kobe’s hot streak.
  3. Bynum’s Impact: Bynum was healthy and played 31 minutes, but only got one rebound.  Without him being a serious threat, this is the 2008 Lakers basically, albeit not THAT soft.  Really, the Lakers need to supporting cast to start delivering again.
  4. Hustle and English: I thought Baby’s drooling would be the image of the series.  It might have been replaced by a sensational block by Tony Allen on Pau Gasol, and then a gorgeous over the shoulder English-ridden layup by Rajon Rondo when the Celtics had to break a late press with just 2 seconds left on the half court clock.

Ultimately, in the Celtics last home game of the season, the fans carried them home – despite almost blowing a 12 point lead (on the foul line mostly!).  Now, got to find one more win this week.

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