Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (57-25 SU, 34-46-2 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, June 15th, 2010, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. TV: ABC
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics +6.5/Lakers -6.5
The LA Lakers were in good shape through each of the first four games. With a 1-0 series lead, they had home court advantage and Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher all had never lost a playoff series after winning Game 1, so they were looking good to cruise to another NBA Championship. After the Boston Celtics tied the series at 1-1, the Lakers won Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. The last 10 teams to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals went on to win the championship. Then, the Celtics won at home to tie the series up at 2-2. If the Lakers could have won Game 5, they’d be in terrific shape needing just one win in two home games to wrap it up. But that’s not what happened. The Celtics won the crucial Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead and now they’re the ones who are just one win away from an NBA Championship. If the Lakers can find a way to win Game 6, they’ll host a Game 7 in Los Angeles, but first they have to get a win in Game 6.
The Celtics won Game 5 in Boston, 92-86. They had the lead the whole way through, leading by two after the first quarter, by six at the half, and by eight after the third quarter. Kobe Bryant dominated for the Lakers with 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting from the field and 4-for-10 from 3-point range, but it wasn’t enough. Kobe scored 23 straight points for the Lakers at one point in the third quarter. But only one other Lakers player scored in double figures - Pau Gasol had 12 points. The Lakers got just 14 points from their bench, nine points from Derek Fisher, seven points from Ron Artest, and six points from Andrew Bynum. Fisher and Artest each shot 2-for-9 from the field.
The Lakers shot 40 percent from the field and 7-for-19 on 3-pointers, while the Celtics shot a ridiculous 56 percent from the field and 3-for-12 on 3-pointers. The Celtics held a one-rebound advantage and committed three more turnovers than the Lakers. The Celtics’ 16 turnovers kept the Lakers in the game despite shooting 56 percent from the field.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 27 points on 12-of-12 shooting from the field. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett each scored 18 points. Rondo added eight assists and five rebounds (also had seven turnovers), and Garnett added 10 rebounds and five steals. Ray Allen had 12 points. The Celtics got a total of just 13 points from their bench and four points from Kendrick Perkins.
The Celtics played exceptionally well offensively in Game 5, but they committed too many turnovers. If they can cut down their turnovers, execute the same way they did in Game 5, and play defense like they did in Game 5, they will have no problem winning Game 6 and taking the title. But it won’t be that easy in Los Angeles. Expect the Lakers to step up with their backs against the wall. There’s little doubt that Kobe is going to do everything he can to keep the Lakers season alive. But guys like Gasol, Artest and Odom have to step up. When those guys are scoring points, it makes it much easier for Kobe and it makes it much tougher for the Celtics to stop them. There isn’t much more Kobe can do by himself than what he did in Game 5, so the Celtics are fine with letting Kobe take over as long as they play solid defense on every other Lakers player.
The total has gone under in each of the last three games and the under is 5-1-1 in the last seven games between these teams. The Celtics are 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 meetings with the Lakers and 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings in Los Angeles. The Celtics are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games on one day of rest. The Lakers are 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games on one day of rest.
Ryno’s Pick: I like the game to go UNDER 189.