1. Coming into game 5 of these NBA Finals, the series was knotted at 2-2 with neither team being able to record consecutive victories through the first four games. The Boston Celtics knew if they wanted to put themselves in a position to win the title, they would have to win game 5 being that that the remaining two games thereafter, would be played in Los Angeles.

    Behind solid play from their bench, the Celtics led by eight points (30-22) early in the second quarter. The Lakers would come back to take the lead momentarily at 37-36 with just under four minutes remaining. However, Pierce would score seven of the next Celtic points to help the Celtics carry a six point lead into halftime (45-39).

    Kobe Bryant would explode for 19 of his game-high 38 points in the third quarter tearing through various Celtic defenders. However, the Celtics would respond with efficient offensive ball movement and countered Bryant’s barrage connecting on 12 of their first 19 shots and scoring 16 points in the paint. Not giving up on their defensive scheme to let Bryant carry the load for the Lakers, the Celtics managed to stretch their lead to eight points (73-65) heading into the final period.

    The Celtics would continue to play their game and appeared to have it all but won leading 87-79. However, Ray Allen would be called for a questionable foul on a three-point attempt by Kobe Bryant. Bryant would sink all three free-throws trimming the Celtics’ lead to 87-82 with just 90 seconds to play. With still over a minute left in the game, Derrick Fisher would somehow get the ball out to Ron Artest following a jump-ball and the Lakers had a chance to pull within three. Artest would miss both free-throws and the Celtics would capitalize on their next possession as Pierce would catch the inbounds pass just past half-court and before falling out of bounds, would hit a streaking Rajon Rondo who caught the pass and made a difficult reverse over the head lay-up to put the Celtics up by seven. The Celtics would put away the game at the free-throw line and would move within one win of their 18th championship with a 92-86 victory while the Lakers are left searching for answers on defense.




    Pierce Puts Celts in Driver’s Seat, Jimmy Golen, Chicago Sun-Times

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