Awesome Celtics shut out the Lakers, make it 3-2
It was the last game of the season at the TD Garden. With each game at the Boston arena, the noise levels have set the tone for the Celtics’ performances, and the home crowd ensured that the atmosphere at the Garden was electric on Saturday, even before tip-off, reports Siddhanth Aney.Updated: Jun 15, 2010 02:01 IST
It was the last game of the season at the TD Garden. With each game at the Boston arena, the noise levels have set the tone for the Celtics’ performances, and the home crowd ensured that the atmosphere at the Garden was electric on Saturday, even before tip-off.
Game 5 was the loudest, and by that measure, brought out the Celtics’ best performance too.
A commanding defensive show led to the Lakers being restricted to their lowest score in the NBA 2010 Finals. The 92-86 win was their second in a row, and put them in the lead, 3-2, as the seven-game series moves back to Los Angeles for its climax. The game itself had everything that makes a great final. It was fast, physical, tense, and highly charged.
Both teams took a different approach, but on the night, the route taken by the Celtics proved the right one. They played the complete team game, backing each other, staying strong in defence and making sure it counted by shooting 56 per cent through the game.
Defence didn’t seem to be a priority for the Lakers though. “Defensively, we weren’t very good at all,” Kobe Bryant said. “Last game it was the fourth quarter, this game it was the third quarter. We didn’t get any stops. They got layup after layup after layup, and you can’t survive a team that shoots 56 per cent.” There was good news for his team in the first part of the game, with Andrew Bynum making a strong start despite his injured knee, but Bynum couldn’t stay on his game for too long.
That put added pressure on Kobe and Pau Gasol, the only two Lakers players who made it to double figures. Bryant was quiet in the first half, but in the third period he came on as a different player, scoring the Lakers’ first 19 points, and ending with a game high of 38 points.
Doc Rivers though, told his players not to overreact to Kobe, and to make sure the other Lakers on the court were shut down, and his defence did just that. Paul Pierce led the offensive charge with a series best performance of 27 points. Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen added another 48, making it 75 out of 92 for the four biggest names in the Celtics’ line-up. If the bench won Game 4 here, in Game 5 it was all about the starters, backed up superbly in defence by Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen.
In the end it became a little bit like Kobe vs the Celtics. The Lakers’ offence just couldn’t get involved in the play, while the home team had the exact opposite.