Game 5 Thoughts

Thoughts on the Lakers' 103-98 victory in Game 5 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

  • Very interesting game, eerily similar to Game 4 but the Lakers were able to show fight and held on in the end. The resiliency of the Celtics is very impressive. They do not give up. The attitude stems from the personalities of their two leaders, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The two are fearless, passionate leaders who are on the verge of their first NBA title.

  • Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Marc Jackson are by far my favorite broadcasting team in the NBA. Kevin Harlan is a great play-by-play guy, but as a team, you cannot beat this trio. JVG is a former NBA head coach who emphasized defense above all else. He critcized the Lakers defense harshly and repeatedly during the Game 5 broadcast and he was 100% correct.

  • The Lakers had no answer for Paul Pierce. No one on the Lakers can even stay in front of him except Kobe. If the Lakers had a guy like Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen, James Posey, or even Tony Allen, they would be having a far easier time in this series. Pau Gasol’s inability to hedge the pick-and-roll effectively is also a reason for the defensive shortcomings.

  • Jordan Farmar came up HUGE in Game 5. Sam Cassell and Eddie House do not have the lateral foot speed to stay in front of him. Phil Jackson realized this and gave Farmar some opportunites to take it to the rim. Additionally, Farmar is very effective at finishing up at the rim around the bigs.

  • Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol both had their best games of the series and are going to need to produce at a similar clip in order to force a Game 7. One big gripe is their continued inability to secure tough rebounds. The Celtics have stolen too many offensive and defensive rebounds after Odom or Gasol have been the first to get a hand on it. Rajon Rondo did this multiple times. I really like Rondo as a player. He is quick, tough, can pass, takes care of the ball, defends extremely well, and plays very hard. If he can develop an outside shot, he could become an All-star in this league. Only 22 years old.

  • Anyone who thinks the Kobe steal in the final minute was a foul has not been watching the same series as I have. That foul might be called in middle school basketball, but in these NBA Finals, no chance. If that was a foul, then James Posey and PJ Brown would foul out in their first 2 minutes of play. This series has been extremely physical and that was definitely not a foul. On another note, the Sam Cassell And-1 against Jordan Farmar was a horrible call. But to balance it out, KG’s 5th foul on Gasol was another blown call. Those kinds of calls “usually” even out. There are exceptions.

  • Paul Pierce played over 47 minutes. Hopefully for the Lakers he shows some effects of this in Game 6 after only one day of rest, but I think he will be perfectly fine.

  • ESPN continues to be relentlessly biased against Kobe Bryant. It is ridiculous. Jon Barry blasted Kobe after the Game 5 victory saying he could not believe that Kobe deferred the ball to Pau Gasol down the stretch and how Michael Jordan would never do that, blah, blah, blah. I, as a Lakers fan, was absolutely ecstatic that Kobe did so. He realized that Pau was scoring well against KG and that it was probably the best chance for the Lakers to score. Kobe realized that every time he drove, there were 4 Celtics on him and that instead of him launching a long jump shot over a contested hand, it would be better for the Lakers to post Gasol. Gasol scored quite a few buckets over KG in the final quarter. How can you possibly criticize Kobe for this effective strategy that led to a WIN. I do not know. But, ESPN finds a way to do that.

  • I also love how the ESPN analysts rip Phil Jackson for moves he makes after the results of the moves are known. If the move turns out bad (such as the inserting of Chris Mihm), the analysts rip into Phil exclaiming how stupid the move was. Wow, how insightful of you guys. The fact is that Ronny Turiaf was having an atrocious series and Phil wanted to try Mihm. Jon Barry (never coached an NBA game in his life) blasts Phil at half-time confused at how a Hall-of-Fame coach could make such a stupid move. Shut-up Jon Barry.

  • One thing that the analysts were correct about is that it is gonna take a much better effort and game to win in Boston. The Celtics did not play particularly well save for Pierce and their team defense. On the other hand, the Lakers did not play particularly well save for Farmar, Odom, and Gasol. Both their offense and defense could improve. The analysts are seeing the performance as a negative and that the Celtics should win easily in Game 6, but perhaps this is a positive for the Lakers as they have more to improve before Game 6. If they can create enough of an improvement, the series will go 7.

  • The only thing that is missing from this series being considered as one of the best Lakers-Celtics series of All-Time is the 7th game, so let’s have one.

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