Sunday, June 15
9:00 PM ET
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of tonight’s game to look out for is the mindset and reaction of the Los Angeles Lakers, who blew a 24-point lead and the chance at tying the series up 2-2 in Game 4. Will they come out like gangbusters and let the Celtics know that they are not ready to lay down, or will their body language suggest that they believe it is already over? We know how Kobe Bryant will respond, which could be a bit scary for the Celtics, but will the supporting cast deliver?
This won’t be any easy game to win for the Celtics, as multiple key players are banged up. Paul Pierce tweaked his knee and ankle near the end of Game 4, just after Kendrick Perkins strained his left shoulder while defending a Lamar Odom drive. Additionally, Rajon Rondo’s ankle injury from Game 3 continues to linger.
Regardless, this is no time to make excuses. You're one win away from Green 17; take it down on Father's Day, boys.
C Kendrick Perkins / Pau Gasol
PF Kevin Garnett / Lamar Odom
SF Paul Pierce / Vladimir Radmanovic
SG Ray Allen / Kobe Bryant
PG Rajon Rondo / Derek Fisher
Key Matchup: Ray Allen vs. Kobe Bryant
With the Lakers in "win or go home" mode, it is widely anticipated that Kobe Bryant is going to look to take over. Ray Allen, and whoever else is matched up with Bryant, needs to make sure he doesn’t explode.
Celtics X-Factor: Who Wants It More?
This isn’t time to go in with the mindset of "we’ve got a 3-1 cushion, whatever happens, happens." It’s time to step on their throats, Boston. Kick them when they are down, and host that Larry O’Brien trophy in their building. On the other hand, the Lakers need to make sure that they don’t go into tonight’s game thinking "it’s over, no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit… we’re done." Game 5 won’t come down to x’s and o’s as much as it will simply come down to who wants it more.
LAL – Andrew Bynum (recovering from left knee surgery – out)
BOS – Rajon Rondo (sprained left ankle – probable)
BOS – Kendrick Perkins (strained left shoulder – probable)
BOS – Scot Pollard (torn tendon in left ankle – out for season)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- 48-Minute Sense of Urgency
- Defensive Rotations, Close Out
- Ball Movement
- Bench Play