Boston withstands Kobe rampage, takes 3-2 NBA Finals lead

06.14.10 8 years ago 74 Comments

As much as we were all hoping the 2010 NBA Finals would be different from the ’08 version — at the very least, so it’d be more competitive — things are starting to unravel like a movie we saw two years ago: Kobe Bryant vs. The Green Goblins. While Mamba went off for 38 points in last night’s Game 5 loss (the second-most of his Finals career), including 19 points in the third quarter, he was trying to beat an entire Boston team by himself and it didn’t work … And that’s what it was, a team effort. Paul Pierce led the C’s with 27 points (12-21 FG), but everybody did their part in the win, from Rajon Rondo‘s playmaking and defense, to Kevin Garnett (18 pts, 10 rebs, 5 stls) putting Pau Gasol in his pocket, to Doc Rivers coming up with the right blend of carefully planned strategy and on-the-spot motivation … It’s hard to pin the Lakers’ loss on one guy, but Ron Artest would be a solid candidate. He knocked down a couple of threes, but otherwise Ron-Ron’s night consisted of getting destroyed by Pierce, missing some killer free throws in the fourth quarter, and pulling off a James Earl Jones-caliber acting job when he baited Rondo into a technical for pushing … Kobe didn’t get much help from his bigs, either. Pau Gasol (12 pts, 12 rebs) played like Paul Giamatti, and while Andrew Bynum tried to channel his inner Kirk Gibson — grimacing in pain and limping in between dunks and layups — but he couldn’t offer much. Kobe was looking to get Bynum involved early, probably hoping a dose of buckets would ease his pain, but that knee is clearly in bad shape … The shots Kobe was making were incredible. He iced 30-footers in rhythm, caught alley-oops with one hand while falling out of bounds, and dropped his usual array of ill fadeaways. (Mid-game Tweet from one viewer: “I don’t like Kobe. But he stroking the rim like it’s named Kimberly. Mary Beth. Rebecca Anne.”) The Lakers could never get within 8-10 points during his big third quarter, though, and in the fourth Kobe didn’t hit a field goal for the last eight minutes while Boston converted every big play down the stretch … Pierce put together his own montage of impressive old-man buckets, but his biggest play was an assist. With about 35 seconds left and Boston protecting a five-point lead, Pierce made a tip-toe catch along the sideline, and as he was about to go out of bounds, fired a pinpoint pass to a streaking Rondo (18 pts, 8 asts) for a layup that was pretty much the dagger. Long after he can’t make plays like that anymore, Pierce will still be able to get buckets. He’ll be 300-plus pounds in his late-40s, torturing younger guys at L.A. Fitness with his slow mid-range pump fakes and step-throughs … How hilarious was Jeff Van Gundy during the Artest/Rondo spat? “This guy (Rondo) weighs 112 pounds! Artest weights 280!” JVG yelled. “Say Queensbridge now, Ron! Queensbridge!” Funny, but under no circumstances would Van Gundy call Artest out like that to his face. And no way he’d ever fix his mouth to talk like that about Alonzo Mourning … Free-throw discrepancy: 26-13, Lakers. And a handful of Boston’s attempts were at the end when L.A. was fouling intentionally to stop the clock. Can’t blame the refs for this one. They let the players play, which is what we’ve all said we’ve wanted the whole time, and there wasn’t one call either way that decided the outcome … You knew it was Boston’s night when Tony Allen was hitting jumpers. TA also had what might have been the best block of the postseason when he flew in from Springfield, Mass., to pin a Gasol layup on the glass. Before Game 5, we got up with Allen to talk about how to guard Kobe and the Celtics’ iPod battlesD-Wade was at the game, sitting right by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and new coach Avery Johnson. Could you see D-Wade playing for New Jersey? He would have a potential star 7-footer next to him in Brook Lopez, an All-Star PG in Devin Harris, and some good young talent around him. And he’d be close enough to NYC to not lose any media/marketing appeal. It wouldn’t be the worst move … One of the players on Ghana’s World Cup team has a dice tattoo on his neck. Can you think of anybody’s neck ink that actually looks good? Even if it’s a nice piece of work style-wise, it’s bound to look ridiculous/obnoxious if it’s got any kind of size to it … We’re out like Shannon Brown‘s PT …

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