During the previous series against Miami, Cleveland and Orlando, the Celtics have had at least one terrible game during each series. That is now ancient history, along with all the problems the Cs went through during the regular season, all of which has been well documented during the season and post season playoffs.
Game 1 saw us lose to the home team, but in Game 2- we saw the Cs bounce back to take home court advantage away from the Lakers,behind the incredible shooting of Ray Allan, the remarkable leadership of Rajon Rondo, and a rejuvenated bench.
Game 3-Moving over to Boston, the Lakers came on strong and the Cs looked bad losing - a loss that should have been avoided, as Ray Allan went from hero to goat with an 0-13 effort.
Game 4- Boston evened up the series with a combination of strong defensive play and solid offense, leading to six players in double figures, with the bench having a huge night, as BBD and Robinson combined for 30 pts.
Game 5- What can I say? [ I figured that game 5 would be close and won by the Celtics, and said so ] It was a fantastic team defensive effort that gave us the much needed victory, along with the ' big four ' providing almost all the offensive punch, while offsetting an incredible scoring performance by Bryant. During his remarkable third period scoring outburst, where he scored the first 19 points for the Lakers, with a number of jaw dropping shots, [ I could only shake my head in amazement at some of them ] the Cs, led by our captain, ' The Truth ' Pierce, fought back and, not only managed to stay even, but actually increased the lead. The Cs never folded in the 4th quarter, although there were some shaky moments, and Jackson's words came back to haunt him.
[ I won't go into the officiating during the five games, and there have been a number of inconsistencies, but suffice to say that when the refs let the teams play, the action is a lot better. After the horrendous officiating in game 1, the refs for the most part, have minimized the calls, and lets hope they allow the teams to play without their interference. We pay to see the players play, and not to see the refs dominate the game- take note, Stern ].
Game 6- who will show up to lead the Celtics to banner no. 18? Until now, every game that we have won, has seen at least two of the ' big four ' show up. This game is for all the marbles, and winning a 2nd game in a row in LA, and 3rd game in a row this series, won't be a cakewalk.
What has been shown during all of the series the Cs have played to date, and during the games in this series, is that even when the offense is sputtering at times, and for long periods as well, when we're able to play a lock-down defense, then the odds will always favor the Celtics, and this is the type of game I'm hoping that the Cs will play tonight.
I'm looking to see K.G. hound Gasol into the ground, while Ray Allan and Tony Allan combine to wear down K. Bryant, as much as that can be humanly possible [ give credit where credit is due- he is an incredible player ]
Ray Allan will finally break out of his 0- too many threes, and the bench will provide some solid minutes in order to give the starters some breathing space, and the team will do what it does best, in a workmanlike manner- ' take care of business '. Banner no, 18- here we come.
Lionel Gaffen / Fotomix.