There was reason to hope after game 4 that the Lakers would be broken mentally and not be able to come back and win any more games. They dispelled that notion with a strong game 5, forcing the series back to Boston. The Celtics didn't "choke" this one away. They had an opportunity to win, sure. There were some bounces and calls that didn't go our way. But the Lakers flat out won the game. Hats off to them. There's a reason why they won the West. They are a good team. The thing is, the Celtics are still the better team.
I said from the start that the plan was to take the first two in Boston, steal one in LA, then come back and finish it out in Boston. Would I have gladly accepted a sweep or game 5 close-out? Sure. But you just knew that Kobe would win one practically by himself (game 3) and Lamar and Gasol would show up eventually (game 5). We're just lucky that the first half dominance by the Lakers in game 4 wasn't enough to make this a 3-2 deficit instead of an advantage.
The Lakers are a worthy adversary but the Celtics are still the better team due to the same reasons I stated before the series started.
- Defense wins Championships: The Lakers found some breathing room, but most of the series the Celtics have been able to react and lock down the Triangle.
- Our big 3 vs. their big 2.5: Lamar has only shown up for a few quarters and Gasol is up and down. KG has been quiet most of the series on offense and had a stinker last night, but he at least plays defense consistently (when he's not picking up ill-advised fouls). I still believe in our stars more than theirs.
- Ubuntu: Adversity is met with team focus on the Boston roster. Rondo cheers for his backups when he's pulled from the game. Our players talk on defense and run to pick each other up. Kobe yells at his teammates and they roll their eyes behind his back. Then they punch chairs. Advantage C's.
- Urgency: Once again, the end of the race is in sight. Paul Pierce has taken the team on his back and is dragging them the last mile. Garnett might be a little too urgent. I think that will work itself out in game 6. Like the rest of the team, he just needs to go back to what got us here - focus on defense and let the rest flow from that.