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Back to Boston we go. Despite the best efforts by Paul Pierce (38 points in 48 minutes despite a very poorly timed turnover right at the end) and a furious comeback by the Celts (down 14 in the fourth) the Lakers prevailed in Game 5 103-98 and now the NBA Finals shifts back to Boston. Game 6 is on Tuesday night at 9pm.
The Celts were down big early again, allowing 39 points in the first quarter as they trailed by 17. Boston made a run in the second quarter and trailed by only a couple points at the half. The Lakers finally played well in a third quarter and took a decent lead into the fourth where they stretched it to 14. The Celts mounted a rally and trailed by two with less than a minute left, but the Lakers closed the door.
Kobe started off the night quick with 15 points in the first quarter, but cooled after that. KG had a tough game again as he was in foul trouble all night and missed two big free throws with two minutes left which would have tied the game. The Celts turned the ball over at inopportune times in the fourth.
My Take: It’s too bad they couldn’t close it out, but I’m not worried about the series in general. Back in the friendly confines at the TD Banknorth Garden, I expect the Celts to finish the Lakers off on Tuesday. Pierce was a beast and the refs definitely didn’t have their best game, but there are still plenty of cracks in the Laker defense. KG missing the two free throws with two minutes left was crippling in the end, as was Kobe’s reach which led to the Pierce turnover and effectively ended the game.
I could go on more about KG, but I’ll hold off for now. I think he’s changed this franchise for the better but his performance in the Finals – at least offensively – just hasn’t been there against inferior interior opponents. He’s in foul trouble too much, has made some silly fouls and is having trouble making his patented jump shot. Makes you wonder why the guy hasn’t won a title, yet…