The Boston Celtics are one step from becoming the new NBA Champions after beating Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five, 92-86 in the Finals at the TD Garden on Sunday. The team of Doc Rivers, led by Paul Pierce (27 points), completely surpassed the Lakers. Despite the good contribution of Kobe Bryant and his 38 points, the Lakers couldn’t stop the good teamwork of Boston. The Lakers lack of contribution from Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and the other starters was the cornerstone for L.A’s defeat.
Boston was able to use their best weapons and took advantage of a better group performance, with its four stars contributing throughout the game.
The Celtics entered the game much sharper than the Lakers, who received a 6-0 run from Boston. The Lakers could not find their key-players and it took 10 minutes for Bryant to score and 12 minutes for Gasol. Before the reaction of these two starters, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher were in charge of the Lakers offensive end in the first quarter. Because of these two players performance the Lakers finished the 1st quarter down by only 2 points, 22-20. For the Celtics the best scorer in this quarter was Paul Pierce with 8 points.
In the second quarter, the Celtics had an 8-2 run and extended their lead to 8 points with 8:54 to play. However, the Lakers responded with some baskets from Bryant to cut down the gap by only 2 points, 39-41. Two jump shot baskets from Pierce closed the quarter, 45-39 in favor of Boston.
During the third quarter, it was Kobe Bryant’s recital. The Lakers’ superstar scored the first 19 points of his team in the opening eight minutes of the period. Either Ray or Tony Allen could not stop him and it was a memorable exhibition that at the same time confirmed Bryant as the Lakers’ only offensive thread.
Paul Pierce responded with 11 points for the team in this quarter and also found support from his teammates, who made good the phrase: "players win games and teams titles."
The Celtics finished the third quarter winning by 8 points, 65-73.
During the last quarter both teams kept their determination and strength. The Celtics were holding their lead while the Lakers were focusing on cutting the lead and win the game. However, despite the effort of the Lakers to cut the scoring to 6 points with 6:01, the Celtics kept responding with some great plays, increasing their lead again to 12 points with 3:56 to go. Nevertheless, with a run of 7-0, the Lakers brought down the difference to 5 points with 1:30. Ron Artest’s two missed free throws and a great play by Pierce with Rondo, gave the final victory to the Celtics, 92-86.
Celtics guard Paul Pierce said that this was a very important victory, since the Celtics really don’t want to end the series in L.A down by one game.
"You don't want to go into LA down 3-2 with two games in LA. So this was the biggest game of the year. Every game gets bigger. Great opportunity for us -- got two games in LA, we've just got to get one. We've been a great road team all year. We're just going to try to get it done," expressed Pierce, who had 27 points.
The best scorers for the Boston Celtics were Paul Pierce with 27 points and 2 rebounds; Rajon Rondo with 18 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds; Kevin Garnett with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists; and finally Ray Allen with 12 points and 3 rebounds. For the L.A Lakers, the best scorers were Kobe Bryant with 38 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists; Pau Gasol with 12 points and 12 rebounds; and ultimately Derek Fisher with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Phil Jackson and his team now return home. They need to win the two remaining matches to avoid Boston's 18th NBA title. Game 6 will be held this Tuesday, June 15th at the Staples Center.