by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17
10:49 PM CELTICS WIN, 92-86!
Gritty, gangsta, whatever you want to say. They played harder than the Lakers, they played smarter than the Lakers, and now they are one win away from the title. The Lakers certainly have the talent to win two straight, but they need to straighten Artest out (or sit him down), and hope that Lamar Odom is healthy and brings something real to Game 6.
Time to get some soundbites and then retire to media hospitality. Thank you all for reading (and commenting, if you did so).
We’ll be back at it Thursday from LA, with Marcel Mutoni holding down the liveblog of Game 6.
10:47 PM KG hits 1/2 FTs. 92-86, Celtics, with 8.9 seconds left.
10:45 PM Ray Allen hits 2 FTs to ice things. 91-84, Celtics. Gasol scores underneath, but it is too little, too late.
10:43 PM *Johnny Most voice* Pierce, underneath to Rondo! 89-82, Celtics. Great hustle. I don’t think there’s any question the Celtics have played harder than the Lakers tonight.
10:40 PM Sheed misses a dumb 3. KG scraps for rebound and forces jumpball. Artest ends up with and draws a shooting foul: miss/miss. Ron is 1-4 from the free-throw line. Awful last minute of basketball.
10:37 PM Pau Gasol crept up to 10 points so there are finally two Lakers in double figures.
10:34 PM The opportunity to get 3 points without any time running off easily the best way to lose/win a game. Kobe draws a foul on a three-pointer and promptly makes all 3 FTs. Just like that, it’s down to 87-82, Celtics, with 1:30 left.
Also, shit is apparently being thrown on the court. Let’s not be Massholes, people.
10:30 PM So many fouls these last few minutes…But it’s not changing who is in control. Kendrick Perkins, who has smartly avoided Techs, misses two free throws. Celtics up 87-79. As Ben Collins, ably running the show for us @slamonline, just put it: “this game is losable, not winnable.”
10:27 PM If things don’t change, Kobe and Ron’s shower tonight is going to be just as awkward as the one here in ’08.
10:22 PM Awful sequence for the Lakers. Artest misses a really dumb 3, then Kobe picks up his 3rd foul of the quarter and 5th for the game. Remember when I wrote no one was in foul trouble? That was before the refs decided they hadn’t been a big enough part of the game.
10:21 PM Rondo with outrageous putback. 87-75, Celtics.
10:18 PM Vintage KG. Then Rondo with breakaway. Once again, Celtics up 10.
10:17 PM The homestretch—for the players, the Tweeters, the livebloggers…Celts ball, 6-point lead. Buckle up.
10:15 PM Lamar with a follow-up. Celtics call timeout with 6:01 left. They are up 81-75, but as our man Myles Brown just tweeted, it’s not over…
10:14 PM Back and forth with the off-the-ball fouls. I thought we got over this when the series came to Boston?
10:11 PM Kobe over Pierce and Allen. But then Nate finds Ray Allen underneath basket for layup. 81-71, Celtics.
10:10 PM Pierce makes 1-2 FTs out of timeout. 79-69, Celtics.
10:09 PM Tzvi rightfully gloating about the fact that the Celtics are “56 minutes from an NBA Finals.” Must admit I thought their season was done around March 5th.
10:05 PM Kobe and Nate Rob trade makes off of drives. 78-69, Celtics.
10:03 PM Sheeeeed for thrreeeeeeeeeee. 76-67, Celtics.
10:02 PM Pau, the latest Laker to respond well to my critiques. Jumper cuts Boston lead to 73-67.
10:01 PM And Metallica rings in the 4th quarter…
9:57 PM Pau shows signs of life. Putback just before 3rd quarter ends cuts lead to 73-65. One quarter left. I’m sure Kobe is frustrated to be shooting so well (7-of-9 from the floor for 19 points in the quarter) and be losing by 8, but by same token, Celts have been on fire with their shooting and have not put game away. 13 turnovers by the Celtics have been their biggest flaw.
9:56 PM Pierce with ridic elbow fadeaway. 24 points for PDouble. Vujacic answers. 73-63, Celtics.
9:55 PM Not sure if they’d showed this on TV, but DWade is at game sitting behind Nets’ braintrust of Prokhorov and new coach Avery Johnson.
9:53 PM Lengthy timeout filled with bad rock songs. Lakers come out of TO and Pau goes to rim for basket (via Big Baby basket interference) and makes free throw. Giving him all of 5 points on the game. Celtics lead, 71-61.
9:49 PM Derek Fisher is Lakers’ second-leading scorer. With 9 points. Meanwhile, a bastardized big 3 of Pierce (24 points), KG (15) and Rondo (12) are doing work for Boston. Celts still shooting a remarkable 67 percent from the floor.
9:47 PM Re. an earlier note about ratings, apparently there is absolutely a baseball game tonight. And it’s a double no-hitter!
9:45 PM Kobe on the line as fans launch ill-conceived “Kobe sucks” chant. He makes both. He’s scored Lakers’ last 23 points. But Celtics keep making shots and/or getting off rebounds when they miss. Ray goes glass to push Celtic lead back to 11, 69-58.
9:42 PM Artest hit with fourth foul. No other player on either team in any sort of foul trouble.
9:41 PM Kobe with a three from I-90. But Lakers still down 8, 64-56.
9:40 PM Kobe hits outrageous one-handed shot off alley-oop. 62-53, Celtics.
9:39 PM Techs on Fisher and Allen.
9:38 PM Kobe again. 60-51, Celtics.
9:34 PM Paul Pierce (7 second-half points) is almost as hot as Kobe (10-point second-half points)! Meanwhile, Ray Allen has missed 18 straight three pointers. Celtics can live with that if the rest of them keep shooting well. (69 percent for the game).
9:31 PM And even if Kobe was shooting too much, at this rate he should keep it up. Lakers need to get stops though. Celtics lead, 56-46.
9:30 PM Kobe answers with MJ-esque fadeaway. 50-41, Celtics.
9:28 PM Celts start second half with Rondo layup and then Pierce 3. 50-39, Celtics.
9:25 PM Pierce obviously had better half than Kobe, but I’m not in the camp that says Kobe has stopped passing.
9:05 PM Celtics again hold for last shot of a quarter. Rondo gets a good look but misses runner. Celtics up, 45-39. Snack time.
9:02 PM *Kobe Bryant*
9:01 PM 2:42 left in half. Most intense first half of the series? I think so. Lucky to be here.
8:58 PM Pierce answers with 3 of his own. Then Gasol with an own goal. TO, Lakers. 41-37, Celtics lead.
8:57 PM Artest for 3 again. Then bad Cs turnover followed by Kobe runner. Just like that, Lakers up 37-36. 15-6 run for Lakers.
8:55 PM Hard foul by Artest, followed by a shove from Rondo.
8:54 PM Lakers clearly survived the Celtics run from before. If Kobe would warm up they could take lead by the half.
8:51 PM Teddy Brewski (how it should be spelled) at the game. And Bill Belichick.
8:49 PM Artest shuts me up with the 3. I should diss the Lakers more often: Bynum and Artest have made big plays within seconds of me typing negative thoughts about them.
8:47 PM Rondo with the sick wrong-handed reverse. 32-26, Celtics. Artest back in the game.
8:45 PM The Machine for 3. 30-25, Celtics.
8:41 PM Ron “0-for-4” Artest heads to bench. He should maybe stay there for the rest of the half. Tony Allen layup. 30-22, Celtics, with Phil forced to call a TO to quell momentum. Loudest moment of the night so far.
8:38 PM Rasheed could—and should—give clinics on low-post defense in the offseason/when he retires. The jumper is wet too. Lamar answers with a putback. 26-22, Celtics.
8:37 PM Tony Allen with a Paul Pierce-style elbow jumper. 24-20, Celtics.
8:32 PM Only thing making Lamar sick now is Joey Crawford. Celtics hold for last shot, a reasonable 3 from Nate that misses. Celtics up 22-20 after first quarter.
8:29 PM The extremely fired-up Paul Pierce hits from top of the key. Celtics, 20-18.
8:24 PM Kobe just ripped ball out of Tony Allen’s hands like the game hinged on it. Then a kicked ball and timeout. Cs still up 18-15.
8:23 PM Kobe picks up his first foul, Ray Allen gets on the board with a bucket. Then Rondon gets out for a layup. Celtics lead, 18-15.
8:20 PM First timeout wraps and Fish heads to line for three rainbow FTs: make/make/make. Lakers up 15-14.
8:17 PM Er, Stafford would also be the ref that just infuriated Paul Pierce with that foul call.
8:15 PM Sorry I didn’t say this earlier, but officials for tonight’s game are: Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan and Derrick Stafford (who called that dubious jump ball instead of walk on Bynum a minute ago.)
8:13 PM DJ Mbenga not dressed so that AmMo could be. Fisher makes outrageous leaner when he was trying to draw foul. Resilient Lake Show up 10-8.
8:11 PM Lamar Odom suffering from flu-like symptoms. Adam Morrison dressed. Uh-oh, said a bunch of Laker fans. This obviously puts LO’s role as “key to the game” in jeopardy. Bynum with the dunk from Kobe. 8-6, Lakers.
8:09 PM Rondo scores inside. Artest brick. Pardon me, Bynum. Gets the put-back and-1. Misses FT. Celtics lead, 6-2.
8:07 PM KG and Pierce score for Celts around a Fisher miss. Bynum looks immobile, to say the least.
8:06 PM Any NY Jets fans out there? I’m not one, but I do recall when they adopted Shrek as a theme. Now it’s Big Baby.
8:05 PM Let’s start before KG concusses himself on the basket stanchion.
8:02 PM A fan waving a Glen Davis jersey on big screen. Doubt that was a common sight before tonight.
7:57 PM Loud as hell, of course. As Tzvi just pointed out, this game should get outrageous TV ratings. No MLB game, World Cup has been advertising it for three days. Game 5. Etc, etc.
7:55 PM Never expected my first time hearing the Boston Pops to be before an NBA Game. Alas…
7:30 PM Ahh, the Finals.
I’m very happy and proud to be on the scene of a postseason game for the first time since Game 5 of last year’s Finals in Orlando, with this game excitingly being the first Game 5 of a series tied 2-2 since ’06.
Lang, Marcel, Tzvi and Ben Collins have done an awesome job covering the Finals thus far on SLAMonline and Twitter. I don’t necessarily plan on doing anything better than they have; moreso give them a rest and shake off any writing cobwebs I’ve developed in my largely-behind-the-scenes role as Editor-in-Chief.
Even if my train from New York was an hour late, at least I still got here in ample time to get this thing going before tip-off, which is more than can be said for my last game in Boston: Game 2 of the ’08 Finals, which was the day of the infamous “gas cap” incident, as humorously retold by Lang in his Finals-memories column from a week and a half ago.
Hopefully you’ve already read Ben’s little Game 5 preview. So, what am I expecting from tonight’s crucial game 5? A hell of an effing game, for one thing. The fans are riled up already and will only get louder, fueled by a day off from work that surely allowed for pregaming and the fact that this is their last chance to see their beloved Celtics in person this season (save for a parade, they hope). I presume they may save the loudest cheers for Ray Allen, the game 2 savior who may be playing his last game in the green and white.
Being in Boston and with the Celtics coming off an impressive win in game 4 is what had me “leading” with the Celtics, but they could hardly be facing a more battle-tested team than the defending champion Lakers.
It is my belief that, when both teams are healthy and nothing fluky happens, the Lakers are the better team. But it’s close enough that things like Andrew Bynum being limited by knee soreness, Lamar Odom being limited by Lamar Odomness and Boston getting huge contributions from two players (Glen Davis and Nate Robinson) who were basically NBA laughingstocks as recently as January have helped the Celtics to two wins in four games. The Lakers don’t really need weird things to win: they need their guys to stay out of foul trouble, match the Celtic energy and execute down the stretch.
I think the Lakers gut out a win tonight and win the series in 6 or 7. But you know what I thought about the Finals in April? Cavs over Lakers.
So whatever. The above is all just noise.
It’s game time. Enjoy the show…and comment below.