As I was watching Game 5 it hit me how annoyed I would be if I were a Lakers fan. The announcers, Jeff Van Gundy in particular, praised James Posey, Boston's defense and the Celtics in general. It was the story line that played throughout the game, while the Lakers still maintained control. And even when LA wrapped it up Mark Jackson and Van Gundy were all over them.
Speaking of story lines, the "Pau Gasol is soft" one lurked despite his 19 points, 12 rebounds, and his strong work throughout. Granted it is easier for him with Kendrick Perkins inactive. But that looks like a reality Boston is going to have to live with this series. Lamar Odom performed as well with an incredibly efficient 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Paul Pierce, much to the chagrin of Doc Rivers, called a timeout at towards the end of Game 3 because he was exhausted. He then was spent at the end of Game 4. And yet he went 48 minutes tonight. It was in the back of my mind when he made a few turnovers in the 4th.
I'd like to see the baseline camera view of Kobe Bryant on the floor towards the very end of the game. I'm just saying.
Ultimately I feel good because Boston went to LA and came away with a victory. And the Celtics did enough all year to make me like the odds of them heading home up 3-2, in need of one win. Still given the confusion at point guard, injury concerns, and the fact that they could have won either game 3 or game 5, I don't expect it to be easy.
I wonder what people are going to say about Kevin Garnett tomorrow. Oh right. He did not look good from the line. In fact he looked psyched out enough that I assumed he would miss at leas one. He missed 3. Clearly the foul trouble robbed KG of his aggressiveness and allowed Gasol to go right at him. And even with his 14 rebounds KG did not bring enough to the table tonight.
I'm not defending Kobe Bryant. Lakers fans do enough of that. And I don't want to take away from Paul Pierce's monster night - 38 points (10-22 from the field, 16-19 from the line), 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. Yet Pierce can have that monstrous evening and people won't analyze whether he took too many shots. Of course Pierce's efficiency and assist totals help him in that regard. I guess I'm saying I don't like story lines that people love to bandwagon.
During the regular season I was consistently impressed by the how hard it was to beat the Celtics. They rarely if ever got blown out and always seemed to keep games close at the end unless they were administering a beating. I definitely felt that way during all three games in LA. That's a good feeling.
Boston's bigs rotation is an issue right now especially when KG is in foul trouble. Leon Powe played 5 quiet minutes, P.J. Brown played just under 25 minutes, and after that the Celtics were small. That worked down the stretch in game 4, but how long can the Celtics afford to play small?
As a fan and blogger following the Celtics I've been struck by how draining the playoffs are. Mentally and physically these guys have to be exhausted. Throw in a travel day tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how Game 6 starts. I would not be surprised if it were ugly at the beginning.
Tony Allen makes me nervous.
As you can probably tell by this random, rambling post I'm a little overwhelmed by everything that went down. Time to call it a night.