Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lakers - Celtics Game Five: We're All So Ready For This To Be Over

Will this be the most overrated NBA Finals ever? You'd like to think so, given the teams involved and the general awfulness of the play, but since these are the official teams of the Association and the World Wide Lemur, this is nothing you'll hear outside of Blogfrica. So be it; it's the only hoop we have.

Rock-throwing from the Lakers (1 for their first 7) leads to an early 6-2 Celtics lead, but there's no way these teams are getting separation early in this one. The first two shooting fouls of the game go against the Celtics, and Derek Fisher makes both to settle the Lakers. An Andrew Bynum make off a Kobe Bryant pass ties it, and the Lakers take a lead on more work from Fisher. We're on pace for another 80 point eyesore here. But these are the teams that America wants to see!

Jeff van Gundy continues his Stating The Obvious With Urgency Act by complaining about overacting for calls from the players. What teams has he been watching? Trading turnovers leads to a Rajon Rondo make and a three point Celtic lead, then Perkins decides to be a point guard and takes an obvious charge into Kobe Bryant for his second foul. Wow, that was extremely stupid. Big Baby Davis in, which might be a net gain for the Celtics. Rondo misses on a twisting lane attempt that looked like he made it harder to try to draw the foul. Bryant wrestles the ball away from Tony Allen to show that He Wants This, and we go to commerce. Well, at least there's intensity.

Pierce falls trying to get to Bryant, who hits the tying three from the clean look. Pierce answers with a make over Odom, and that's impressive smooth, and downright basketbally. Pierce turns Testy, who fouls Tony Allen in the open court to prevent the momentum slam. Pierce misses on good Testy physicality. Bryant's catch and heave misses. Rondo undresses Odom, but the Cs don't finish, and Gasol cleans up a Jordan Farmar miss to tie it again. Pierce with a mid-range make, and the Cs are shooting 61% for a low point quarter; telling. Pierce gets a charge call on Lamar Odom, and that's pretty weak sauce. The final shot of the quarter is Pierce Hero Mode to Nate Robinson for a 30-foot miss, and honestly, I've never seen a team reach the Finals with worse end-of-quarter shots. The Celtics lead by two after one quarter.

Tony Allen hits an open jumper to stretch the lead to four, then takes a foul on Sasha Vujacic as the Lakers go to benchies. Bynum misses short, then takes a loose ball foul. Sheed makes a free throw jumper, and the lead is six as the Laker bench continues to struggle. Vujacic with two misses, but a Testy board and an Odom putback gets the bucket. Tony Allen turns it, but Farmar can't finish in traffic. Allen misses, but the Lakers stare at the board like a dog being shown a card trick, and Robinson makes. Sheed blocks Odom, leading to an Allen lay up, and the Lakers call time as Robinson nearly runs to Walpole trying to steal it. The Celtic bench continues to control the series.

Bryant can't make over Tony Allen, and Sheed boards. The Lakers force a shot clock violation, with Farmar doing some good work. Vujacic makes a three off a Bryant pass, and that's a big moment. Farmar with a steal and drive on Robinson for the foul, and there's a reason why Robinson was available, folks. Farmar makes one to cut the lead to four. Rondo with a great drive and finish, high and pretty with a bank. Tony Allen takes his second on over-aggro ball denial on Bryant. Bynum with a tip on a Bryant miss as the Lemur goes off on him being the reason they aren't winning. Um, whatever. The teams trade turns as the announcers don't talk about the game that's happening. That never gets old!

Rondo turns as the game gets sloppy again, and Testy actually makes a three, an event so rare, Rivers calls timeout to try to convince his team that it didn't actually happen. We go to commerce with the Celtics up 32-31, and the mini-rush has been dealt with. In commerce, we get to hear more from Adam Sandler and friends, because they are in no way overexposed. To think, in another week, everyone will have forgotten about the movie. It's such a shame!

Ugly Cs possession ends with a Rondo make. Bryant turned on good Ray Allen pressure, but Rondo turns on a carry in the open court, and doesn't even protest; rare for this series. Bryant misses in the post on Ray Allen, and that's not working for him. The Cs run a break, leading to Perkins handing it to Garnett, Artest taking a deliberate foul, and Rondo shoving as Testy sells it. Dumb play by Rondo, diva flop by Testy, and Kobe with the make as van Gundy cries about flopping. If you are big, you should not flop. OK, whatever. Garnett makes both as America hates both of these teams a little more.

Testy makes a three to drive Celtic Fan crazier, with Kobe getting away with contact with Rondo as both teams get bodylicious. Kobe with a make for the lead, but Pierce hits an answer three with patience. Crowd into this big now, as they've been aggrieved, and no crowd does aggrieved more than a Boston crowd. Kobe in Hero Mode mises on great Allen defense, and Gasol tips in an Allen miss by accident, which gets credited to Perkins. Woof. Phil Jackson takes a timeout, and we have drama. Such drama! Celtics 41, Lakers 37, with 2:42 left in the half.

Bryant misses, gets the board, and makes. Pierce makes over Odom on isolation. Testy mises on Pierce, and Gasol misses after an o-board. Rondo called for a push and offensive foul turn on Bryant as Celtic Fan howls. Fisher misses, and Testy gets his third on the offensive rebound battle, possible make-up for the Rondo call, not that it's warranted. Luke Walton in for Testy, and Pierce makes again, giving him 15 for the half. Kobe in Hero Mode as the Lakers watch, but the Cs miss in transition. Gasol misses on Perkins from mid-range. The Cs hold for the last one, and Rondo misses a runner. Celtics 45, Lakers 39, and the Celtics played and shot far too well in that half to only be up by six.

In the first minute of the third, Rondo with a make, Perkins blocks Gasol, and Pierce with a three for the Celtics' biggest lead; it's 11. Bryant misses an illegal defense technical, and nothing is going right for the road team right now. Bryant in Hero Mode makes a tough baseline jumper over Ray Allen. Perkins is tentative but eventually makes over Bynum; found money for the Celtics. Bryant again, this time on a double team, and he's got 14. Allen misses a clean look, but Garnett bullies Gasol and steals it, and the possession ends with an Allen back door lay up. Kobe gets a ridiculous roll, and the Lakers stay within 8. Garnett with an easy make inside. The teams trade turns.

Bryant makes a three, and that was the easiest of the makes. He now has 10 in the quarter, but this has to end sometime; the Lakers aren't winning this with Kobe Alone. Pierce makes over Testy, and he's 9 of 12 now, with a breakout game. Bryant called for an elbow as he's tangled with Allen. Pierce with a drive and make, and it's 11 again. I think we can officially declare Ron Artest's defensive mastery of Pierce in this series to be on hiatus, and if not for Bryant, this game would be 20 and over.

The Lemur talks about how Kobe wants to defend Pierce, but Jackson says no. Bryant again, this time inside the arc. Wow. Pierce finally misses on Testy, but the board goes to the Celtics. Pierce makes on a catch and shoot against Testy, with a Celtic loose ball foul that doesn't wipe the basket. Kobe makes an alley oop, and ye gads; tremembdous body control and he's got 14 for the quarter, with smoke coming off his fingers. Garnett misses, but Gasol fouled him, and he makes both. The Celtics are weathering the Kobe Storm.

Bryant from 30 feet at the end of the clock, off an Artest pass. If the Lakers could get any stops, Boston Fan would be terrified. Testy with his fourth on the other end, and I guess Kobe's going to have to defend Pierce now. Nope; it's Walton, and Pierce isos him, but misses; Rondo can't control the board. Bryant finally misses on Garnett pressure, and Rondo stops in the lane on the other end, taking a hit from Bynum in the process. Garnett makes, gets a Gasol foul, pounds his chest, and generally acts like a douchebag. The free throw is good, and the lead is 11.

Walton feeds Gasol, who is blocked by Garnett for an uncalled goaltend, because that's how Gasol's night is going. Kobe gets the garbage and draws a Pierce foul on a fallaway as Boson Fan chants about which team they want to beat. Bryant makes both, and it's nine.

Garnett misses, but Perkins bodies Bynum for the board. Allen banks in a make as Fisher flops to no avail. Bryant in Full Hero Mode now and missing, not that the Lemur's going to call him on it, and it's a miss. Pierce misses a clean look after shoving off Walton, and the ball goes to the Lakers. Bryant with 22 straight points now, and the Lakers are in full Stare At Him Mode. Walton turned, and Allen makes the transition hoop. Walton feeds Fisher, who misses the open three. Rondo turns on an entry to Garnett as Bryant berates Walton for passing to someone who isn't him. The Lemur fellates Bryant as the rest of America notices how his team is losing, not really scoring all that much despite his hot streak, and 14.5 minutes away from being down 3-2. LA isn't winning this with Bryant scoring 50 points, folks.

The Lemur talks about Kobe having a chance to beat Isiah Thomas's record for points in a Finals quarter. Gasol gets goaltended again, and it's finally called, along with a Davis foul. The first non-Kobe Laker points of the quarter cuts the lead to 10. Davis misses, and Kobe boards awkwardly. Odom gets inside and fouled by Davis. Odom misses both; yeesh. The teams go to bench players, and Tony Allen blocks Gasol, who might be the shortest 7-footer in history tonight. Pierce makes in mid-range, and the lead is 12 again.

Vujacic makes on nice passing. Tony Allen misses, and the Lakers hold for the last shot. Odom misses, but Gasol boards, misses and makes, and despite very high Celtic field goal percentage, they only have an 8-point lead as we get Mark Jackson Basso Fellato. I suppose it's better than Jeff van Gundy Adnoidal Screech.

The stats tell me that Gasol is 3 for 10, which means he can only have been blocked a half dozen times. Bryant returns for the start of the fourth as Doc Rivers notes his team's bad end of quarter play. What, you notice now? Gasol makes from mid-range and has much better body language. Sheed can't make a runner, and Odom boards. Gasol turns, just an unforced error. Nate Robinson to Sheed, who makes a three from 27 feet, straight up. Vujacic misses at the cup, and Robinson answers with a long three miss of his own. Kobe with an insane make, and the lead is seven. Tony Allen off a Robinson drive is blocked by Bryant, but the ball stays out of bounds. Robinson suddenly has a clear path lay up as Vujacic loses contain. Bryant's long three stays out, and Gasol gets his third trying for the board. Again, the Celtic bench is providing good moments.

Bryant bodies Pierce, who misses and does not get the call. Farmar's three has no chance. Pierce falls heavily against Bryant on a drive, getting the call. The Celtics star looks angry, but as this is a home game and he, um, got the freaking call... I'm just not getting the hate. Maybe he's still upset about the last call, or how the LA Times brought up his stabbing, or how nine teams passed on him in his draft year. The man does enjoy his anger. Nine point Celtic lead, 8:25 left, and failing a Celtic collapse, they really should win this. They've been the better team by more than eight points to this point...

Pierce makes one, and the lead is nine. Ray Allen called for exuberence on Bryant; Kobe then makes a hard one, and ye gads again. Robinson finds Allen at the cup for an easy one. Odom drives on Garnett, nifty, and makes. Garnett with an awkward miss, but Testy doesn't get the board. Rondo back for Robinson as Ray Allen and Fisher get double calls as "That's Bullshit" is clearly held over the Lemur air. You have to love on court mics! Perkins called for an offensive foul, his third, as the refs make their presence known, and the make-back is on Bynum, a small push that wasn't called in the first three quarters. Sigh.

Pierce sheds Artest, but misses at the cup, and Odom collects Testy's missed three at the other end for a make. The lead is six, and if Odom is going to show up for the fourth, the Lakers could just steal this one after all.

Quasi-famous people are at the game! Woo! Kill them! Or me!

Garnett with a good make over Odom. Bryant stripped again by Rondo, who gets the long feed for the make; something of a theme for this series. Rondo steals Fisher's pass, and Bryant is called for his fourth as the Lakers begin to collect Phil Jackson talking points for Game Six. Garnett on Gasol, and that's a miss and board for the Spaniard. A borderline turnover as Garnett forces a jump ball with Odom, and KG needs Pierce's Magic Wheelchair after the scrum. KG wins the tap, of course. It's borderline WWE, the Cs with injuries....

Pierce with a misssed three, and Rondo with the play of the game, with a skied tip-in over Bryant that takes the roof off. Fisher can't draw a foul to save his life, and his heave results in a foul before Odom can score. Testy's three offends the eyes, and Bryant takes a hard foul on Pierce, his fifth, as The Truth flops and grimaces and sings an aria. Bryant's body language is one of disdain and disgust, either for this game or that flop or these fans. All I can say is tht after five games, I hate these teams even more than I did before, and I might be just a game away from picking it perfectly. America hates these teams. I have to believe that, or despair.

Garnett misses, and Bryant gets inside for KG's third foul. It really should not matter, as the lead is 12 with 2:55 left. Bryant is the only Laker in double figures, and after two makes, he's got 35. Ten point game.

Garnett with a turnover, as he got in the air without a clue. The Lakers swing it to Testy, who finds Gasol for Garnett's fourth foul. Continuing his awful night, he makes just one, and he now has 10. Ray Allen misses, but the long board goes to Perkins, and the Cs run clock as the Lakers don't foul. Garnett misses, and Perkins is called for one of the more obvious loose ball fouls you'll ever see. There are 101 seconds left, and not really enough time to matter, but Testy gets the first to roll in as Pierce interferes for what used to be a technical foul, then misses the second. A loose ball foul on Gasol puts Perkins on the foul with speed, and that's defensible from a strategic standpoint, especially when he misses both. The Lakers call time almost before the defensive rebound, and this Celtics win is going to take some time.

Bryant is fouled by Ray Allen on a three point attempt, and that's his fifth. It's also unconscionably dumb, even though Bryant did sell it hard. Three makes are impressive, but not as impressive as Celtic Fan throwing crap at the Lakers -- I think Odom got hit, judging by his reaction -- and getting away with it, as the Celtics' television network doesn't give us a replay of what happened. I'm sure the blogosphere will, because that's our role, after all. Classy, Boston Fan, classy! 87-82 with 1:30 left.

Pierce in Hero Mode runs clock badly, nearly leading to a steal, and Allen's three misses, but the home team gets a huge bailout on a shot that probably did not hit the rim., with Perkins getting the board. We go to commerce as even the Lemur notes the shot missed the rim. So much for replay.

Payback call for the Lakers? Not yet, and Sheed's three stays out, but goes to the ground for Garnett and Fisher for a jump ball. Clock favoring the Cs here hard, along with the height. Fisher wins the tip to Bryant, who feeds a streaking Artest. Pierce fouls him, wisely, and Testy pays the move off with two misses. Just awful. Bryant goes hard for the board, but Garnett outfights him as Kobe shrieks for a call that does not happen, and should not. If I were officiating these games, I think I'd T up every starter at the start of the game on general principles.

Pierce to Rondo on a long outlet, and the point guard makes for what should be the dagger. Of course, they had a 10-point lead with 90 seconds left, so the fact they needed a dagger here is just kind of silly, but that's the 2010 Celtics. Testy didn't foul Rondo there, which is also kind of insane, but what the hey. It's not like the Lakers can guard an out of bounds play...

Bryant's three misss, but Odom boards and scores. The Lakers don't foul for eight-plus seconds, then settle for fouling Allen, aka the best free throw shooter on the Celtics. He makes both. Bryant heaves and does not draw the foul, but the miss is converted by Gasol. Garnett to the line on the inbounds, and this is just for the final score now. KG misses the first to keep some drama, and makes the second. The last 90 seconds of this game has taken over 17 minutes of my life, and if you hate the NBA for this, I can't blame you.

Bryant and Fisher miss, and that's it: Celtics 92, Lakers 86, and a 3-2 lead for Boston. The Celtics will have two chances in LA to win the title, and as Game Six is Tuesday, you can expect a lot of dead legs and ugly ball. Not that I'm sure anyone will be able to expect anything else, at this point.

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