2008 NBA Finals Game 5 Preview and Pick

Boston Celtics (66-16) +6, 190 at Los Angeles Lakers (57-25), 9 pm Eastern Sunday, ABC
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Los Angeles Lakers blew both a 24-point 2nd-quarter lead and a chance to pull the NBA Championship Series even in a game 4 loss Thursday night. Now LA will look to just stay alive as they host the Boston Celtics for game 5 Sunday night at Staples Center.

Basketball bookies are listing Los Angeles as six-point home chalk for Sunday’s game, with a total of 190. The Lakers are also posted at around -320 on various Vegas moneylines, with Boston getting +250 as road dogs.

LA was favored by nine at home for game 3, and won by only six to miss the cover, then was chalked at seven for Thursday’s game 4, and obviously missed that cover, too. In fact, the Celtics have covered the spread each of the first four games of this series.

Meanwhile, the totals have gone 1-3, as the four games have averaged 188 total points.

The Lakers led Thursday’s game 45-21 at one point during the second quarter. But the Celtics ended the game on a 47-21 run to grab a three games to one lead in this best of seven affair.

As Boston goes for its first league title in over 20 years, though, they’re a bit banged up. Neither G Rajon Rondo (ankle) or F Kendrick Perkins (shoulder) finished Thursday’s game on the floor, and F Paul Pierce is nursing a bad wheel.


Through the first four games of this series, the Lakers are outshooting the Celtics from the field 44% to 43%, but Boston owns a slight 42-39 per-game advantage on the boards.

LA is 13-6 straight up in these playoffs, and 10-8-1 against the spread. Meanwhile, Boston is 15-9 SU this playoff season, 12-12 ATS. Also, the Lakers are now 9-1 straight up at home during these playoffs, 6-4 vs. the numbers, while the Celtics are 38 SU and 4-7 against the spread on the road.

Boston went 31-10 straight up and 27-13 against the spread on the road this regular season, while the Lakers went 30-11 SU and 2020 ATS at Staples Center.

During this regular season, Boston shot 47.5% from the floor as a team, 38% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line. Also, the Celtics led the league in FG defense at 42%, ranked 4th in rebounding at +3.1 per game, and averaged a 24-14 A/TO ratio.

LA shot 48% from the field as a team this regular season, 38% from beyond the arc and 77% from the line. The Lakers also ranked 6th in the league in FG defense at 44.5% and 8th in rebounding at +1.4 per game, and posted a 22/14 per-game A/TO.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Boston #1 at 99.03, the Lakers #2 at 98.06. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 4.02. So far in this series, Sagarin’s PREDICTOR formula is a perfect 4-0 against the spread.

The totals went 36-45 in Celtics games during the regular season, which averaged 191 total points, while the totals went 40-41 in Lakers games, which averaged 210 points.

The totals are now 10-14 in Celtics games this playoff season, which have averaged 180 total points, while the totals are 6-13 in Lakers games, which have averaged 200 points.

Zman’s Pick: I like the Lakers to get it done against the spread.