Kobe Bryant scored 38 points, making a number of ridiculous shots along the way, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced team effort from the Celtics, who beat the Lakers 92-86 in game five of the NBA Finals, to take a three games to two lead in the series.
Last night’s game was the best of the series in terms of entertainment, refereeing and even announcing, though all three of ABC’s trio had their “please shut up” moments last night.
I know we watched him up close in 2008, but I don’t remember the supposedly all-time classy Derek Fisher being the flopper, instigator and all-around irritant that he has been in this series. Media people may fawn over how he conducts himself off the court, but I don’t know how they can laud his play on the court.
The Celtics now have two chances to clinch a title, but both will be out on the road in Los Angeles. Game six will be on Tuesday night, and if needed, game seven will be on Thursday night.
Mark Murphy has the Celtics pulling out a win that Doc Rivers foresaw (and Phil Jackson apparently couldn’t). Julian Benbow says that the Celtics needed a group effort to overcome Kobe’s fireworks. Kevin McNamara has the Celtics surviving a barrage of Bryant’s best shots and ready to move on to LA and play for a title. Bill Doyle says that with the series assured of a Hollywood ending, the Celtics are in position to capture the most unlikely championship in club history. Scott Souza has the Pierce of 2008 showing up and leading the way for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has just one win now separating the Celtics from a title. Chris Forsberg has the Celtics able to absorb Kobe’s best shot. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics thinking just one more game. Jeff Howe has the Celtics seizing momentum in the series. Peter F. Stringer has the Celtics looking for just one more.
Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers rising above the continued jabs that Phil Jackson takes at the Celtics coach and team. Bob Ryan says that the Celtics will take Kobe scoring 38 of his team’s 86 points, because it means the Lakers offense is not running as it should be. Paul Flannery looks at the latest installment of an increasingly incomprehensible NBA finals. Ron Borges has the Celtics Big Three finally all contributing in the same game, and getting a big win as a result. Tim Weisberg notes that if this was indeed the Garden farewell to the Big Three, it will be remembered fondly.
Gary Washburn has Paul Pierce nearly matching Kobe with his own big night (27 points) and getting closer to adding to his legacy in Boston. Bill Burt has Pierce stepping into his familiar role as the Celtics MVP. Jim Fenton says that Pierce couldn’t win the title on his home floor this year, but he has the opportunity to win it in his hometown after last night’s performance. Peter May says that Pierce’s impact last night was felt well beyond his 27 points. Evans Clinchy has Pierce coming up big when his team needed him the most. Kirk Minihane cranks out 10 thoughts from game five. Rich Levine has the team triumphing over the individual.
Dan Shaughnessy has the Globe’s front page story on the game, with the Celtics now one win away from a title. Steve Buckley has the series going where everyone knew that it would – back to LA. Jessica Camerato has Boston reclaiming the paint…and the series with their play. John Hollinger has more on the Pierce/Bryant duel. Henry Abbott says that the Celtics bench needs to sit their butts down and not be so…amped. Former Celtics skeptic Tom E. Curran is a new believer in this team.
Bob Hohler looks at the continued growth of Rajon Rondo, with a couple moments last night showing he still has room to mature. Dan Duggan has Rondo progressing last night even as the game went along. Robert Lee examines Rondo’s transformation from weak link to superstar. Robert Mays has Ray Allen, despite poor shooting, still contributing to the team, even with a sleepless night caused by his son’s diabetes. Michael Muldoon has the “old” Keven Garnett showing up at just the right time. Frank Dell’Apa has Garnett with his best game of the series, despite a few self-described “knucklehead plays” late in the game.
Duggan has John Havlicek still feeling like a member of the Celtics, and noting the line of descent from Bob Cousy to Paul Pierce.
Ryan has an extended look at the place of Kobe Bryant in history, and says that if he doesn’t win a ring this time, it’s not his fault. Jennifer Toland has Kobe Bryant’s big night not enough for the Lakers. Monique Walker has the Lakers defense coming up short in the wake of Bryant’s huge night. Dan Ventura has the Lakers looking forward to winning the next two at home. Ventura also has Lamar Odom again struggling against the Celtics.
Benbow’s notebook has things getting testy again between the two teams, with Rondo shoving Ron Artest after a hard foul on Garnett. Murphy’s notebook has Ray Allen’s son OK after another diabetes scare. The ProJo Celtics Journal has Andrew Bynun determined to play no matter how bad his knee is. Doyle’s notebook has Glen Davis and Nate Robinson still enjoying their time in the spotlight. As the Celtics prepare to head out on the road, Souza’s notebook points out that this team hasn’t minded playing away from home this season. Fenton’s notebook has more on Allen having to take care of his family. Forsberg’s notebook has Pierce and Rondo clearing the air after a first half episode. Blakely’s notebook has Pierce cutting into the Lakers defense with ease. Walker’s Lakers notebook has Ron Artest still off his game.
Washburn’s courtside chatter has Charles Barkley hoping to be an NBA GM.
The Red Sox couldn’t finish off a sweep of the Phillies, falling 5-3. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.